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On April 1st, 2011 downtown Vancouver, a big black limo stopped outside the Vancouver Library. Out came some very mysterious characters called bouffons. They roamed curiously, and discovered the area, and the humans present.
They were quiet for awhile, and then..
…they danced. And, then they invited the humans to dance, too.
On that drizzly day in Vancouver there was a big bright spot of colour, and some very big grins. My goal as the leader of this wacky project was to bring unexpected, un-distracted joy to anyone near. Life can be challenging and sometimes we just need to let go, be our bouffons, and dance.
The result ended up on a wonderful video by Michael Julian Berz, and many more grins were made because of it. For that I’m grateful.
One of the video viewers wrote this poem. Actor, Energy Practioner, (and bouffon), Tom Tassé permitted me to share it with you.
To the Buffoonery Queen of Hearts – Princes and Princesses
Genius of heart
enlighten the world
with waves of laughter
your souls speak with
the tickle horn hidden
In your back pocket
engaging, releasing precious
hearts of the unsuspected
the wand of magic from each of
yours eyes, blessed thieves
of darkness stolen
tonight we sleep with
Thank you, Tom…. my objective is met. If you haven’t enjoyed the video yet….. have a peek and dare to NOT smile!
I’m excited to announce that Buffoonery is headed to Victoria! This workshop is primarily for actors or for people who would like to explore the acting profession.
I will be leading the 1 1/2 day workshop Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13. The attractive Victoria location where the workshop will be held is The Church of Truth (I thought, very appropriate!) The hours are from 9:30-5:30 on Saturday, and from 1:30 to 5:30 on Sunday.
You will be taken through a series of exercises that will comfortably bring you to the bouffon work. At this point, we chase you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to YOU! .. Or, at least your own bouffon. Based on Jacques LeCoq‘s bouffon work, my workshop helps you develop a great tool for your rehearsals, auditions, and every day life!
There will be an hour lunch break on Saturday, and you are welcome to bring a lunch or explore the restaurants in the area.
If you want to explore your creative self, have fun, and gain confidence, please join us! (class is limited to 15 participants) To book this workshop, click here . If you’d like to “meet” me, click here. Or, call.. 604-922-3744
Read more about “Buffoonery Acting Workshops“
“Buffooning: taught by Trilby is one of the most innovative methods of layering any actor’s character. It is a must for any serious actor who wishes to further hone their craft and honour themselves as both a person and an actor. SOOOO MUCH FUN!” Charlene Luedke, Vancouver, Canada
Okay… it’s a long title but it needs to be said.
I have just spent three amazing days auditing, witnessing, observing, absorbing, laughing, crying, taking notes, processing, confirming, squirming, cheer-leading, supporting, holding my breath, thinking and agreeing at the Larry Moss Workshop by Vancouver Acting School.
No, Larry Moss, well known American acting coach, does not need to find his inner bouffon. He has it well intact as he was brutally, and winkingly (a made up Trilby word) truthful, like a bouffon loves to be, with each and every actor who was brave enough to perform a scene for him to critique.
And, he did.
Mr. Moss did not let one person off the hook. And, it wasn’t because he prances around with an ego to show off his expertise and tremendous experience. No… he does it because he cares deeply, very deeply about actors and their unseen potential.
He pushed, prodded, swore, bullied, encouraged, inspired, threatened, and did whatever it took to break through an actor’s carefully placed mask to get to their raw truth.
“It’s all about the story!” “Fall in love with the writing!” “If the writer wrote it, we want to hear it!” “Grow up to the writer.” “It’s about telling the story, all about the story.” “Script analysis… good actors are good detectives!”
Held at the spacious Rio Theatre in Vancouver, actors were forced to find their theatre voice – a challenge for many since a minimalist style of film acting, “faux naturalism”, has become a sad epidemic, according to Larry Moss. “Narcissism is killing our work as artists.” “You’re all being geared for TV and it will eat you alive.” “Be brilliant in the theatre and the films will find you.”
Actors were made to do push ups, stamp the stage, scream, and shout, dance, and hold their hands to their ribs while doing their lines in order to find a grounded voice. Over and over again we witnessed breakthroughs, after breakthroughs, and wonderful gems proving this type of work is necessary. (it also affirmed the work I do with my buffoonery acting students)
On the last day, I recognized a part of myself in a certain actor, and took his work he did with Larry to my heart. Very quickly I found myself in tears, tugging down my hat, relating to his difficulty of letting go of control and trusting the idea, the text, and not being afraid of vulnerability.
Yet, if I look back at some recent work, I have let go. I have gone into the deep end, but I know I could go even deeper.
Other actors shed tears, as well, after their work with Larry was over. “How do you feel?” “I’m lost.” “No, you’re not lost, you’re getting found.” He leans forward, “All tears are because you now know what you didn’t know.” “… a nervous breakTHROUGH…”
He looks out at us. “Isn’t it funny, acting helps us rip down our defenses and be more human.”
The three-day session equaled a roller coaster of emotions, confirmations, and inspiration. I have to thank Kirsten Clarkson from the Vancouver Acting School for giving the gift of Larry Moss to our acting community.
We needed it.
“Choose something beyond your wildest dreams… dare to be great.” Larry Moss.
(Subsequent posts will contain more about the workshop as there is much to discuss… stay tuned..)
I have been busy in the last few weeks juggling fall preparations with rehearsals for Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” directed by Neil Freeman for First Impressions Theatre at the Deep Cove Shaw Theatre in Deep Cove, British Columbia.
I’ve been mini-blogging with twitter but have neglected my homey blog and I’ve missed this place!!
Today: a wee note about the show.
First of all, I can’t think of a more beautiful place to be driving daily, hanging out and rehearsing – Deep Cove, British Columbia. Across the street, there is the best coffee place with the most amazing café made donuts by “Honey’s” (“sinful”- a fellow actor deliciously described them-especially the chocolate dipped ones).
Down the hilly street is the cozy cove with all the gentle kayaks, & canoes drifting around. On this main street, quietly tucked in, is also the Deep Cove Cultural Centre that houses an intimate 130-seat theatre and its active gallery.
This is where we will be opening our show this Thursday, September 10, 2009. Just two days away!
Now with a few weeks of rehearsal under my belt, I can see even more how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to jump on board with renowned director, Neil Freeman, a super fun cast of 23 to play two small parts (but significant …of course, ), and do some bouffon coaching.
The process has been sheer pleasure. (isn’t that what it should be? …or do we always have to suffer for our art?…that’s another blog post!)
We have been led beautifully with tight schedules that didn’t waste anyone’s time, and we were given liberty to play, to invent, to imagine all sorts of unexpected twists, turns, dances, faces, gestures, thoughts, songs and grow together as a wacky brief Shakespearean company.
Our version of “As You Like It” is set in modern times, with a few extra twists, but stays true to the “first folio” text. Shakespeare gives us great clues to how our text should be played out, and when we get out of our 21st century language habits, the text can carry all of us along nicely.
Love, the most classic, timeless subject ever is the main flavour of “As You Like It”. The varied forms of love and the unexpected twists make this play high-spirited, & mischievous.
The set is beautifully clean with gorgeous lighting and the best looking tree ever (that’s all I’m saying!) and modern dress allows our costumer to pull from all sorts of colourful sources.
For me, I am looking forward to playing two very different characters (complete opposites!), and being part of the biggest (and coolest) team I have ever been with, and supporting our lead players who will be upholding the main energy.
We were warned that during rehearsals we were going to laugh a lot. We did but now our big wish is that YOU will too!
Come and have some frolicking fun with us from September 10 thru September 26, Wednesdays-Saturday evenings at 8pm in Deep Cove. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.
When I was little, I didn’t want to grow up. The grown up world looked terribly serious and my instincts told me sub-consciously that there would be a drastic change.
One day when we were kids hanging out in the back shed lighting matches for fun (no we didn’t burn the place down), my little girlfriend told me that she couldn’t wait to get married and have kids. Wow. I thought she was nuts. I felt no rush nor desire for the same. None.
Now, gazillions of years later I know what my childhood instincts were telling me. There was going to be a lot less play in the grown up world and a lot more problems to solve. I just knew.
The other day on my walk, I watched an impish mix of adults and kids playing soccer with abandon. It made me grin and I knew that nothing else could be on their minds. Too busy playing, they were in the elusive “now” where all the great contemporary gurus are telling us to be. (have you read Eckart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now”?) The soccer game was a perfect example.
Theatre, stage work offers this opportunity for me and I believe my journey to this world was an honest trek from childhood. I needed to keep playing. It felt like air, a serious necessity. Being a character on a stage, in a situation, with a live audience, if you are sincere with your work, will keep you divinely present.
When we get to witness, as an audience, a truly connected, compelling, and riveting performance in theatre we are privy to the players in the now. There is clarity and presence. And a strange truth.
To get to some of these great moments, I believe play is of the utmost importance. En Francais acting is called “l’art de jeu” – the art of playing. If we allow our grown up tightness to breathe and expand, we have an opportunity to experience extraordinary unexpected times.
We need to have the chance to discover and explore. I guess that is why I turned to Le Bouffon as a tool to get us all to our playful selves, and discover some gems in our work.
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child” Pablo Picasso
This idea of play translates beyond the theatre, musical and artistic world.
Who isn’t more productive when we have permission to laugh, or play in our working environment? A boss who reprimands employees who dare to enjoy themselves at work risks stymieing the worker and ironically losing productivity.
When I worked as a costumer in the film industry, I had a favourite designer who had a great sense of humour. We developed a wacky reputation as laughter frequently burst out of “that crazy wardrobe truck”! That laughter got us through the immense work and long grueling hours much more easily.
How is play in your grown up life? What do you do to nurture yourself in your working world? I’m curious. Do you have a situation to share where play proved to be the answer?
Despite my strong will to play, I still write to myself as much as to you, when I say that play is imperative. My bouffon students have heard me say, “I wish I could take my workshop!” as I watch them play wholeheartedly, forgetting about their adult masks, and discovering the sacred pleasure of the now. Their results? A freedom of expression that leads them to more.
I dare to wish that for everyone.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw