Returning to the Source of Ancient Hellenic Theatre
Actor's Hymn: Giving Voice and Life to Elektra ad Orestes
an exploration with Lalish Theaterlabor of the inner life and action of the voice in Ancient Hellenic Theatre practice in Euripides' Orestes
A laboratory-workshop led by
Nigar Hasib, Shamal Amin, Vasilios Arabos, Dimitris Lekkas,
with guest interventions by
Kostas Papachristodoulou or Ioannis Chaviarlis (solmization and psaltic)
Musicians: Vasilis Kalagias (strings, oud), Andrianos Katsouris (percussion) , Kritoula Katsouris (vocals), Fotis Margaritis (wind).
June 24th—June 29th, 2013
DURATION: 7h/day over 6 days
42 contact hours
Donation (suggested): € 130.00 please bear in mind that we are a non-profit and larger donations are welcome. We can provide pertinent invoicing/receipts for tax purposes.
Expenses covering lodging, food, teachers: €260.00 (apartments) or €400.00 (Sunny Gardens bugalow). Lodging is shared occupancy. Food is one midday meal, shared. Transport is from the town to the Great Amphitheater and back.
House of Neuses is a non-profit organization which only accepts charitable donations. While we organize one meal per day and book lodging arrangements for our guests, these are payed directly by us to all vendors.
Scholarships: We are happy to announce special scholarships are available this year for 6 participants. These are geared towards Greek nationals residing in Greece, but are also open to others upon selection based on clear need, submission of a detailed CV and participation conditions to be decided in each case. Please indicate your interest in your registration.
For more information please register by clicking the link below. Please indicate any special requirements in your registration.
Imalis, in collaboration with the internationally acclaimed Lalish Theater Labor, is proud to announce the beginning of a new research workshop in Ancient Hellenic Theatre. Our focus will be on the voice as the driving principle of the actor’s creation upon the stage of ancient role as a performance at or from a "point near song." Workshop participants will learn the principles and techniques behind the creation of the specific performative state of this point near song, otherwise known as "prosody," as the unifying foundation of the entire dramatic score of the ancient role embracing all verbal, musical and physical systems. The workshop is highly recommended to singers, lyric stage artists, dramaturges and actors wishing to explore performance through the voice, using the vocal technique as the principle driver of performance.
Working directly in Ancient Greek on the original verse of Euripides' Orestes, and from the rhythms and modes of Ancient Hellenic music, workshop participants will have the opportunity to discover through their own body and voice, the unity of action, song and movement that defined ancient performance. Working on Orestes' monologue [268-293] and Elektra's monody [961-987] in the creation of their role, they will come away from the workshop with a concrete method of approaching Ancient Hellenic performance, as well as the confidence to work scientifically directly with the tradition's canon, artifacts and primary sources.
During our six day immersion process under the guidance of our guest teachers Nigar Hisab, and Imalis' Vasilios Arabos and Dimitrios Lekkas, we will engage in a fascinating anthropological journey deep into the sounds of the pre-Western systems of traditional song that form the underpinnings of dramatic vocal technique in Ancient Greece.
This is a foundation course in Ancient Hellenic Theatre open to both beginning and advanced theatre practitioners and requires no prior knowledge of Ancient Greek, or particular training in folk or other song traditions. The intensive research workshop experience corresponds to a comprehensive introduction to the tradition of Ancient Hellenic performance through the methodology developed by Imalis and the contributions of major representatives of world performance traditions.
Lalish Theaterlabor's collaboration in the present research workshop is based on their work on Vocal Action processes and what Shamal Amin calls “making songs visible” by which song and voice become the source of rhythm, of physical presence and also the source of action. An approach based on ritual singing, the process reveals the multidimensionality of space which is perceived through feeling and hearing the voices, tones and sounds, so that a feeling of space and spatial awareness can develop amongst those present. Exploration of the human body through the voice, exploration of the physical aspects of the voice and cultural and individual origins further elaborate the theatre anthropology which we will be applying to the living Greek folk song traditions as a basis for our vocal exploration of the ancient roles of Elektra and Orestes.
WORKSHOP CONTENT, APPROACH, OBJECTIVES
This workshop is open to actors and performers of all levels. No prior experience is needed with Ancient Greek. No special knowledge of folk song traditions either Greek, Kurdish or other.
Singing and dancing Elektra and Orestes, in their original settings and according to the same principles and systems developed and encoded in Euripides' prosody, together with Nigar and Shamal, we will apply, develop and explore the relationships between Lalish's and Imalis' approaches to the dramatic dimensions of voice. Through prosody and inner action we will trace the deep structures and transcultural survivals of the musical modes and vocal techniques of the ancient stage, through the participants' introduction to the living Greek, Kurdish and other (the participants') folk traditions of epic, lyrical and cathartic song.
Certain traditions of plastic arts would have it that the work of the sculptor is to draw out the figure hidden in the stone. At the point near song, the poetic form of Euripidean drama begins to yield to the actor, through its given sounds and rhythms, as they resound off the skin and off of space, physical forms like ghosts on the screen of the inner senses. It is an almost mechanical process that is engaged once we take the decision to discover and submit fully to the poetry of the prosodic text and the geometry of the amphitheatrical space. Space, text, rhythm and tone, the sensorium of the Epidaurian landscape, belong to the primary materials which Imalis' approach offers, opening to the contemporary practitioner the performative conditions and principles of the tradition.
A point near song, is where we need to get to as an actor, if you want to touch, to breathe, to act like Elektra. Elektra’s monologue, in fact all tragic verse, like Euripides’ Orestes is, through and through a rhythmic whole made up of word objects, sounds, movements and acts sung and danced in the medium of space and time. Electra’s breath, her voice and her body are encoded in the poetry, rhythmically in the meter, and tonally in the inflections of the verse. So that is where the actor wishing to embody the role must go to find her. Like following a map. It can be understood only if it is embodied physically and in the voice. It is understood by being danced, or sung.
Because the action as well, and the staging have all been encoded by the ancient playwrights in their poetry, through the art of what was known in ancient times as "prosody," in the form of a detailed and rigorous performance score. Thus, point near song, and dancing in space, is where the voice and body of the actor are, in Greek tragedy, at all times, and if not, only exceptionally, and for highly strategic effect, do they drop into natural speech. We translate prosody, προσοδία, in Greek, performatively, for the actor, as having to bring ourselves to “a point near song.”
In the form of amphitheater, this medium as well presents an architectural design and disposition of materials and human subjects according to a strict geometry and proportion, itself a tonal and rhythmic form in stasis, and what’s more tuned to resonate best at particular frequencies, in particular scales.
Euripides’ poetic speech, like all Ancient Hellenic drama set in verse, is intrinsically rhythmic, as it is prosodic through and through.
The material of prosody is the breath of the actor, and therefore the generation and distribution of energy in the lungs, the heart and the blood. Out of which sound and movement are produced, according to set sequences, that dispose units of sound, or movement, in patterns of short and long time lengths. These meters operate the physiology of the actor at its base, organically, and represent the primal dramatic function of poetic verse in staging action in Orestes, be it in the form of sounds or bodies traveling through amphitheatric space. Before we even begin to treat the meanings of the words, we are already understanding in the flesh their spirit, the blood of the vowels and the bones of the consonants. The morphology of word, sound and space, mediated by the voice and the body of the actor shape this living, singing, dancing shape upon the ancient stage. And this new score, this sequence of phantom shapes and gestures, this shadow theatre, is the material of the actor's revelation of the action and the character of the given role evolving in the polarized space of the amphitheatric stage as a kind of necessity, a shared destiny. The irony of course being, that while the mechanics of the process may seem deterministic to the utmost, the product of their embodiment, from the beginning is highly personal.
- acquisition of the fundamentals of ancient staging and performance practices with emphasis on voice, text and movement basics including scene study with textual & linguistic breakdown, breath-rhythm principles and vocal release with simplified intonation, modal chant, monody and basic ear training (hellenic, byzantine & demotic Greek song), ancient and surviving forms of lament and the linos-ailinos-kokkitos structure of ancient maneros.
- voice action - and bodywork: we will learn to develop voice actions for the role According to Lalish's process, songs create our actions, but our actions do not interpret our songs lexically. Therefore each song, each vocal action, prescribes its own precise score for the movement of the body. The body deals directly with the “Life of the Sounds” and its acting becomes organic instead of purely technical. In this way of acting, the body doesn’t become a part of the voice and the voice a part of the body, but they form a unity, because that unity is the original source of expression.
- "shaping of the role": participants will learn the origins and development of "inner life" and "inner action" of the role based on principles of vibration/resonance developed by Imalis. Engagement with techniques of catharsis, polarization work, and five elements. Participants will learn to invoke, identify and work with morphological and iconic elements through sensory work, relaxation and release techniques, and improvisation.
- "integral source-work:" discovery by the performer of the singular tonal-state/energy-stream out of which we embody and develop the integral score of physical actions, dance and movement forms that constitute the role. The specific principles and personal conditioning that lead to the co-arising of the role in its sensory, vocal and physical aspects.
- enargeia and hypotyposis: introduction to advanced hellenic performance principles and techniques. Participants will learn of the relation of these fundamentals to contemporary practices and their survival in such principles as Stanislavski's sverkhzadacha (super-objective) perezhivanie (experience of the tongue, inner life of the verb, owning the verse) and samosustvie.
- "vertical dimension" of the role: exploration and connection with the archetypal aspects of ancient dramaturgy. Participants will learn how to awaken and develop a body-mind connection and energy practices that culminate in the enactment of performance as a personal “metaphysics.”
- ritualistic singing techniques: particular work on ritualistic singing techniques and traditionally handed down, old songs. Here the purpose lies not merely in the learning of a melody, but in the discovery of its fullness of sound and its vibrant qualities. Lalish Theaterlabor also pays special attention to firmly rooted body and singing techniques.
- "larynx technique:": special work on larynx song and voice technique by Nigar Hasib.
- experimental singing and vocal techniques: intensive work on experimental singing and vocal techniques, on specially developed forms of sound, on the positioning and the bearing of the body and on the breath.
- Final Work Demonstration before an audience of the roles.
Vasilis Arabos and Dimitris Lekkas will lead the participants through an array of textual and linguistic approaches that will reveal the simplicity and beauty of the specific embodiments implied by the keys of ancient poetics. These will include explorations in breath-rhythm and an introduction to intonation in the modal scales, out of which we will develop the actor’s organic processes for the arousal and use of the energy stream as the basis of all physical and vocal action in space. Integrating exercises in vocal release, sensory work and more, these processes will also constitute the culmination of our daily warm-up routine as preparation for work on the role with which the first week will conclude. The second goal will thus be completed with the participants’ discovery of ancient stage practice as an art-form whose primary matter is what we term “sono-poetic” space: an integration of sound, space and word within which emerges the inner life of the role.
Dimitris Lekkas with Giannis Chaviarlis will lead us through a unique program developed by our ensemble in ear-training, solmization and ancient solfège. The first week includes a four-day intensive over the course of which we will sing together and use religious chant drawn from the Greek orthodox psaltic and byzantine traditions, as well as epic song drawn from the demotic Greek repertoire. This will be a practical and empirical familiarization with the tonal and rhythmic systems of Ancient Greek Theater for the participant, the second goal of this workshop. Live musicians (percussion, strings, wind) will support our work throughout in the execution of repertoire pieces as well as original compositions and reconstructions of Ancient Hellenic Music from Dimitris.