1. The Art to tell Stories or the Dramatic Body

We explore the basics of storytelling. What is the impact of a story to the playground, how does a playground influence a story? What do Objects tell? How shall we integrate them into the play? Physical theatre, the use of the body by the performer replaces the set. We discover ways of performing that reminds us of Peter Brook. We discover the use of gesture. But different to the „Mime Corporel“ of Etienne Decroux, our focus is on the theatrical transposition. Lecoq calls that Mimodynamic. Mime not only as „training for actors“ but as an theatrical tool. Movement is not just a sequence of actions. It’s all about momentum in relation with space, rhythm, and its applied forces. Writing/text, choreography, a musical score are structures in motion. The issues may change as they are part of the world of the ideas, but the game structures, their “engine”, remain unchanged, bound to the physical principles of any movement. Finally we merge into Melodrama, or the art of making the public cry.

2. "The Comic Body“ or The Universe of Half-Masks

We try to plunge into the world of Half-Masks through Commedia dell’arte and her Balinese Cousins.
It is the art of the playersof plunging at the deep end, the “leaving your brain behind” and “pure body-intelligence” theatre, slapstick, the “how can I keep the audiences attention” and the magic of the masks when they take possession of you and. ..

« suddenly the mask plays itself»

We discover here all the rules of being funny. Our way of teaching Half-Masks (as well as Clown, Buffoons, Text etc.) is not a “classical” approach. It’s not about reanimating old Postcards or dusty figurines of a museum. This will lead straight to what our masks are NOT: their DEATH! (Commedia dell’arte disappeared in that moment of history, every move of every mask was fixed and put them and their actors through this choreographies into a “baroque prison”, whilst in Bali the masks degenerate more and more into simple tourist attractions.) It is not about reconstruction of museum figurines. The performance would immediately end up to be sweet and cute but all dusty.
It is much more interesting, which impact each mask has on its player, how his individual phantasy is inspired and stimulates his creativity.

We search modern theatre that is alive.

We compare the attitudes of the Italian and the basic positions of Topeng (Balinese mask-performing).
We study:
The necessary physical effort
The different physical appearances and musicality
The “Delirium”
The full human potential
of each mask and we learn
what is a “lazzi” and how to develop an improvisation together
We also try to understand
Which  place they have in literature (Goldoni, Molière, Shakespeare, Chekhov…)
In which form the masks have survived (Charlie Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Mr Bean, Dario Fo, Pierre Richard …).
How to perform “masked” without wearing a mask.
Ariane Mnouchkine chooses her actors on their capacity to wear a mask, to be playful AND precise. She needs creative artists capable to repeat their actions on stage.