Konstantinos Symsiris blogs about multi-disciplinary artist Jan Fabre, who delivered a three-week teaching programme with students from RADA’s MA Theatre Lab course, incorporating his unique teaching practices and a mini-project inspired by his 2001 work 'Je suis sang' (I Am Blood).
What a month has it been.
An exceptional month,
a sweaty month,
a luminous month.
Another month of digging deep
Under our armour, under our skin
to find our body.
Again a month of pain and tears,
yet love and trust,
the exquisite portrait of our soul reveals.
the immaterial within,
It seems like it was only yesterday that Jan Fabre left his base in Antwerp and began his visit to London to share his training method and direct a mini-project with our Lab team, a project based on his 'medieval fairytale', I Am Blood.
Jan’s training method was introduced by one of his actresses - and 'muses', as he says - Ivana Jovic, while he was there to guide us and help us dive deeper into his world. Starting from breath and grounding ourselves to the earth, in the first instance, we slowly transformed into cats, dogs, tigers, wolves, lizards, insects and played within this framework, interacting with each other. A key to Jan’s method is to focus on what you are doing. To spot the difference between the act and acting. In contrast to what is usually taught to acting students, in Fabre’s 'physiological' exercises and performance, an action does not begin from an emotional and thus psychologically constituted impulse - it stems from a physical one. The very fact of going into a trance state with our bodies opened another dimension within ourselves, a world where imagination plays a leading role. Discipline, focus, self-abnegation and specificity are pre-requisites for such work. Although after a couple of days most of us were bruised and tired, we learned to be resilient, persistent and to keep going. It has also been a great lesson for us to take care of our bodies’ needs and maintain our energy as performers.