My body, especially the area surrounding Kyokotsu, was sore from yesterday's rehearsal. A few others were having sore muscles, too. I think that is a good thing: We are working on the parts of the body that are usually not consciously used.
We started with the same old Kyokotsu exercises and then examined the power of stretch. Stretching in the Hino Method is practiced to interconnect the whole body. So it is not for relaxation purpose or about becoming more flexible. Stretching makes it easier to feel the body as a whole unit.
Then we did a few Suzuki Method exercises.
Oftentimes in the Suzuki Method, we emphasize the importance of the lower part of the body, namely the legs. By engaging the lower part of the body, which tends to be neglected in acting training, one can practice to restore the expressiveness of the whole body: The body that speaks. During the Walks (one of the Suzuki exercises), I wanted to deepen the idea of the whole-body speaking. So I made a few modifications to the tempo and form of one walking style and had them speak some text while they were walking across the studio diagonally. It turned out to be a very difficult exercise, but revealed so much about the relationship between physical movement and speaking.
After a break, we focused on speaking text. How can we play with text in a way that it helps to speak with the whole body?
To start with, some exercise to free up vocal energy would help, I thought. So I borrowed one exercise one of my dance pedagogy colleagues had invented. It is basically a pair work where person A gives physical impulses by touching person B's body and B produces vocal sound based on them. A good, fun thing about this one is that you don't have to think to speak. Weird sound comes out of your mouth because of the physical stimulation given by the partner, and that's totally fine. We enjoyed it.
In the picture above, you see Tuomas on the left and Niklas on the right. Tuomas plays Macbeth, and Niklas plays Drunken Guy in the show. They have a few scenes together where they speak simultaneously. We proceeded to work on their stuff.
To expound on the idea of the precious exercise, the Chorus people surrounded those two actors to give very strong physical stimulation while they spoke their lines.
As the exercise went on, their text started to sound more alive and animated. We then changed the relationship between the Chorus and the two guy: I told them to not to make physical contact but to keep the same spacial distance throughout the speeches.
Interesting... It was really fascinating to see and hear the changes in their physicality and vocal energy.
"How was it for you?" I asked the guys. Tuomas said, "It's good to play with text like this, you know. It helps to find new things. As a matter of fact, I think you should always play with text like this even when it's close to the premiere!"
"That's what we do anyway," one of the Chorus members added. "We do PLAYS!" Everyone laughed. Mind-blown.
As the final exercise of the day, we worked on keeping the same spatial relationship between two people. It is not just about the visible distance but also about the air pressure in between two bodies, which you really need to feel with the entire body. Concentration in the room during this exercise was intense.
I'm somewhat amazed by how much work can be done in just three hours of rehearsal and how much we can deepen the work!