Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ongoing Weekly Classes

Foundational Worksessions towards your own physical approach to the performance craft
with Bryan Brown

Now twice a week!

Mondays and Thursdays

$20 / limited scholarships available
limit of 10 students
private sessions also available or 213-249-1690

The Raft: from Practice to Performance
with Bryan Brown

This weekly session aims to deepen your craft as a performer, to strengthen your foundation while steadily building towards a solid product. To investigate and create the personal process of taking the internal, expansive experiences discovered in practice and organically allowing them to grow into a rich and nuanced performance.

This worksession is on need basis working with particular participants demands and schedules. Normally in the studio, occasionally we work outside, in parks, on trails, or at the beach. or 213-249-1690.

"The Way of Harmony"
A martial art dedicated to peaceful conflict-resolution
with Andrew Reichart Sensei
presented in association with Theatre Dojo


$20 per class
or 5 class block for $75
beginners always welcome
questions? call Andrew Reichart Sensei at 510.388.4483

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What is a Theater Laboratory?

Grotowski wanted his theater to be like the lab of Niels Bohr that his older brother Kazimierz once worked in,
a place for continuous exploration.

History of a theater laboratory

Claims for laboratory status in the theatre really began in the early decades of the twentieth century. Before that, there were clearly pockets of actor training in the West which were both investigative and systematic — Ian Watson traces the genesis of actor training back to the early 1700s in Britain and in France to 1786, with the birth of the Royal Dramatic school in Paris. But it was the late nineteenth century’s love affair with science and technology which spawned a new scientific rhetoric in the theatre, a development begun by Delsarte’s proto-behaviorist study of actors’ emotions. Delsarte’s work may have been criticised for its mechanistic approach but it heralded a new interdisciplinary language for actor training, a language which drew on the common associations of the scientific method: rigour, objectivity, systematic interrogation.

The laboratory in Russia

This language was never more embedded than in the Russian tradition of actor training; in Stanislavsky’s system (and in the ‘sub-systems’ of Meyerhold, Michael Chekhov and Richard Boleslavsky). From his first experimental Studio in 1905, to his final project, the Opera-Dramatic Studio, Stanislavsky’s preference was to develop a research culture outside of his main institution, the MAT. These satellite activities allowed Stanislavski a creative space to work with young actors and were designed to share what he called "the results of ... research into stage techniques". Increasingly, the research agenda was uppermost in his thoughts, and that agenda was couched in scientific terms.

The Opera-Dramatic Studio, Stanislavski's final project was to be the laboratory he called for in his essay, October and the Revolution ... He made it quite clear to the young actors and directors he gathered around him that there could be no question of gearing their work to performance; it would be done for its own sake, as research.

In Meyerhold's work, the appropriation of scientific terminology was both explicit and calculated. Indeed, of all Stanislavski’s pupils, his is the most emphatic use of an interdisciplinary language, fusing theatrical 'laws' with scientific laws — Huntley Carter called Meyerhold's actor training system, biomechanics, "the science of motion in acting". Meyerhold was founder of GITIS, the State Institute for Theatrical Art, an umbrella organisation which was responsible for the training of some of the key practitioners of the twentieth century, including Grotowski.

From Meyerhold's perspective, GITIS grew out of his attempts to realise an "exemplary model" of revolutionary theatre. Meyerhold's vision was of a mutually supportive, interactive organisation incorporating a stage, a workshop and a training school in which: "the discoveries in the workshop would affect the training in the school as well as what was exposed on the stage" in a three-fold symbiosis.

Everyone learned — students and teachers alike. It was a laboratory for working through the foundations of a new aesthetic.

GITIS was to be: A place unique in the planet, where the science of theatre is studied and drama is built. Exactly: 'science' and not 'art' — 'built' and not 'created.' Clearly for Meyerhold, the laboratory walls extended much further than the building in which he was working — the Zon theatre — for the experimental attitude he was adopting at a local level was reflected on a much grander scale — the huge social experiment of the October revolution itself. Central to this commitment to science was the emphasis on outcomes — the impact science had on the people. Such an emphasis may in part explain the popularity of the machine as a ‘symbol of the new age of mechanical and scientific industrialism’, as Carter puts it. The machine stood for productivity, for the benefits technology can bring a new society. Thus, the work of the laboratory was not seen in isolation. The laboratories of the Russian revolution fed the technological advancement of the society, the electrification of the country, for example. From a theatrical perspective, Meyerhold's work at GITIS established the same principle. The experimental findings in his workshop informed the presentations on the stage — the 'product' of a theatre industry.

The Threefold Model

Firstly, Meyerhold’s ‘exemplary model’, devised in the early 1920s, to be contrasted with Stanislavsky’s secluded investigations in the Opera Dramatic studio which set the stage for later instances of process-dominated practice such as Grotowski’s and Anatoly Vasiliev’s. With such work, there is no imperative to disseminate the research findings beyond the walls of the laboratory, no measurable outcome.

Secondly, Meyerhold’s model sees research as part of a wider picture. His laboratory shared with some of us that old fashioned notion that teaching is an integral part of research. It then extended that idea to incorporate research and teaching into the making of an original creative act — a performance.

Thirdly, is the related issue of outcomes. It is interesting to note that some ninety years ago in the new Soviet Union the research agenda was still pre-occupied with outcomes! The context is clearly a mechanistic one, related, as I have said, to the necessity to produce. But for Meyerhold it nevertheless promoted a dynamic symbiosis of original workshop research, pedagogy and performance.

The engine room of this triangular research model was the experimental workshop, described by Maria Valenti in recognisably research-oriented terms:

The students were not required to present preconceived conclusions, but were expected to find new paths, along with Meyerhold and his colleagues, to create new concepts of theatre.

What I believe is striking about this model is that, as a self-sustaining form, all areas of this symbiotic triangle feed into Meyerhold’s agenda of innovation, not because they are in themselves research but because the environment in which the activity is taking place, the wider picture, is essentially research-centered. And by that I mean:

· it stimulates originality and creativity
· it is underpinned by a set of theoretical principles
· it is designed to test the validity of those theoretical principles and to feed those findings back into the loop
· it utilises an organic system of dissemination.

In this holistic framework it is not necessarily the ‘instance of practice’ which is under scrutiny but the surrounding research environment. Research, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

The above excerpt is from a speech given by Jonathan Pitches, author of Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting
The opening line is from The Grotowski Sourcebook, eds. Schechner and Wolford

Monday, February 25, 2008

Master Worksessions with Russia's "zasluzhenniy deyatel" of Folk song and dance

: Discover and Explore Your Folk Voice

(A joyous voice-movement workshop in the ancient Russian tradition of village songs and games)

Karagod – a festive ritual of song, dance and games

March 15 and March 16, 2008
Saturday and Sunday
1 - 5 PM
viaCorpora Studio
6575 Santa Monica Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90038
Cost: $80.00 per day, or $150.00 for both, limited scholarships are available.
Reservation: $50.00 non-refundable deposit to hold your space (payable by check or through PayPal / Credit Card at )
Additional Information: or 323-871-8382

ViaCorpora presents a weekend of vocal workshops in Russian folk singing with Evgeniya Osipovna Zasimova suitable for singers/musicians, actors, directors and dancers interested in Russian/Slavic culture or the application of song work to theatrical performance.

Day One – Level 1 (Open to All)
Discover your Folk Voice – exercises in open throat voice technique (“white voice”)
Experience the joy of creating harmonies
Learn basic Old Russian village songs, their meaning, cultural/historical context, and significance in rituals
Learn the movements that accompany these songs and why they help you discover the depth and color of your voice

Day Two – Level 2 (Open to participants of level 1 and advanced folk singers)
Learn specific techniques to expand and strengthen your folk voice
Practice the creation of Russian harmonies and dissonances, rhythms, ornamentations, and resonant sounds
Learn intricate Old Russian village songs, their meaning, cultural/historical context, and significance in rituals
Learn the movements that accompany these songs and why they help you discover the depth and color of your voice

You do not need to be able to speak/read Russian or read music to participate in either day.

Evgenia Osipovna Zasimova, a professor of solo folk singing and dance at the Moscow State University of Arts and Culture, is considered a "zasluzhenniy deyatel" or national treasure in Russia. She has been leading expeditions to Russian villages to learn ancient and traditional songs, dances and games for over twenty-five years. Her ensemble, Karagod, performs at some of the most prestigious concert halls in Russia and abroad as well as provides music and musicology for numerous film and theater productions.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Workshop to inspire Workshops!

On Feb 17th Bryan and Olya held a free workshop for 8 students (primarily from CalArts) in order to share our work with younger performers as well as to expand the potential and purpose of Artel's teaching opportunities.

With no set timeline or criteria, the workshop was an exercise in meeting. How do artists interested in something verbalized as similar meet to work with minimal discussion, meet by letting their bodies speak, meet by entering the unknown?

For three hours we traversed a series of exercises aiming at the expansion of awareness, of listening, of glowing. We all experienced the edges of ourselves and shared in the support of that experience as an ensemble of players should. As many of Bryan's recent worksessions have, this workshop ended in a jam of sorts with the intent of pursuing the expression of the freedom found in moments throughout the day's work.

As we discussed the practicalities of the work at the end, Olya asked how many hours a day the participants all worked together (as she was not involved in the setting up of the workshop and therefore believed they were all in the same level at CalArts). But in fact, two of the participants had never met any of the people in the room before!

Everyone expressed a desire to continue the work on a regular basis and this, together with Bryan's ongoing weekly sessions, have led us to realize how much our approach is needed in the Los Angeles community, the need for a transmission of a new approach to the creation of a strong practice a performer can call their own craft, one which allows them to meet and work with anyone at anytime, if even they just met that day.

So, at the least, monthly workshops will be forthcoming. Please email , call 213.249.1690, or check this blog regularly for more information.

Center for Performance Research in crisis!

CPR, the Center for Performance Research in Wales, is facing the struggle inherent in all theater practitioners lives, the sand we build our castles on is perilously close to the ocean. The Center for Performance Research in Wales, a deeply important enclave of theatrical research is in jeopardy of losing its funding! CPR is a model for Artel's [via]Corpora. For over ten years they have been creating international networks, offering some of the foremost worksessions in physical and voice work in theater today, publishing important journals and books (their next two years are almost solely committed to Polish theater and Grotowski). Wales has made itself stand out and seem like a beacon of light to artists who are underappreciated and undervalued in their own countries and now the Welsh government is disregarding this international "status" that it was beginning to develop and going the way of all conservative governments in an economically unfriendly time. In our letter of support we quoted this from Stanislavsky which seems mightily apropos:

The theatre is not a luxury in the life of the people, but part of its bread and butter. It is not something one can quite well do without, but something incontestably necessary for a great people....You can't postpone the art of the thetare for a while, padlock its workshop, and suspend its animation for a time. Art cannot go to sleep and then, when it suits us, wake up again. It can only go to sleep for ever, by dying. Suspend it, and it will perish...returning to life only centuries later, if then. The death of art would be a national catastrophe.

You can view letters of support from around the world here:
For direct information:
To view/sign the petition please visit:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Conscious Birth Movement workshop and screening

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova, one of the leaders in the Conscious Birth Movement in Russia and the US, is coming to Los Angeles April 5 and 6 for workshops on Limbic Imprint Re-Coding.

Pilates Sports Center, Encino 11 am - 6pm Sat & Sun $400 single/$750 couple for more info/register: (530)566.0199

Limbic Imprint re-coding invokes our emotional and physical memory of Bliss, unlocking the mysteries of our behaviors and realigning our actions with our emotions and desires. You too can enjoy the delicious, juicy experience of comfortably owning a body, being fully engaged in life, and loving it!

A screening of Elena's powerfully informative film Birth As We Know It will be taking place at our Art|Works Theater Thursday March 13th. 7pm. $10 - 15 donation.

Now in 44 countries, this stunningly beautiful film is receiving global recognition as the most profound and comprehensive guide to Conscious Birth. Impactful, inspiring and informative, the film is a journey into the miracle of Life and the nature of birth.

See a trailer at

Monday, February 4, 2008

The latest on Alexander Technique at [via]Corpora

Sharon Jakubecy is on a minor hiatus. Please read posts below for more info on the benefits of Alexander Technique or visit Sharon's Alexander Technique LA website at our extensions link to the right. Sharon is an excellent teacher who takes the time and care to help performers and non-performers alike to find more ease and alignment in their body and mind. We highly recommend her workshops.

If you have taken Sharon's workshop and want to take more of them or you haven't gotten the chance to yet, but want to, please contact Bryan at to help hasten Sharon's time away from the studio.
Thank you
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