Category Archive for: ‘Annette Lust’

Phoebe Moyer Review of BRINGING THE BODY TO THE STAGE AND SCREEN by Annette Lust

For anyone interested in or devoted to physical movement, BRINGING THE BODY TO THE STAGE AND SCREEN will inform, challenge and delight the reader.  The opportunity to explore body movement in its many forms, styles, and applications with an amazing accumulation of exercises both for the teacher as well as the student plus thought-provoking and revealing interviews with some of the most well respected practitioners of the craft is a comprehensive and challenging  experience.  Whether a novice or an expert, a beginner or an advanced practitioner, Dr. Annette Lust’s latest book is a rich and absorbing treat.

One can, of course, choose to select areas of interest but would be well advised to start at the beginning where one is reminded and/or informed of the plethora of movement possibilities. For instance, Part 1 includes definitions of stage and screen movement, mime, pantomime, corporeal mime, stage combat, physical theatre, and physical improvisation as well as how to conduct a class or practice on one’s own,  basic physical and expressive exercises, and  movement to create a visual image.

Part 2 includes chapters on improvisation, pantomime and scenes for nonverbal acting, and the “how to” of physicalization of the word, mime, and text.

Part 3 (Interviews and Essays) is a wonderful treat for devotees of various physical styles and movement and are admirers of some the more well-known performing artists recognized for their skill and their particular contribution toward the craft itself.  Interviews of Geoff Hoyle, Bill Irwin, and Liebe Wetzel and essays by Jeff Raz, Joe Goode, and Mark Jackson are only a few of the highlights.

For the serious student or the teacher looking for more material Chapter 3 (Basic Physical and Expressive Exercises) clearly and concisely delineates exercises that  are  easy to follow due to being  broken down into boxes that signal the start of a new focus or adjustment.  The stick figures are only helpful after first reading the directions and, in some cases, would not stand on their own.  What is important is that there are two teaching guides to help the serious teacher and/or student to successfully accomplish each exercise.

Attention is paid to a practical approach that starts with “establishing an aim” followed by “body relaxation and warm-ups”, “aligning the body”, a topic that is all too often neglected:  “breathing” plus incredibly detailed and often overlooked parts of the body , such as toes, hips, wrists, jaws, tongue, and many more..  All the physical warm-up exercises are followed by expressive exercises which allow for immediate application of the warm-up exercises into situations which a performing artist is constantly called upon to enact regardless of the style or form that he/she is working in.

Another section explores the use of the “mask” which was used in actor training by Jacques Copeau, Meyerhold, Etienne Decroux, and Jacques LeCoq.  Real or Universal Masks are explored followed by Real Character Masks, Counter Masks (a way to interpret  opposite or contradictory expressions through body movement), Character Masks, and Half Masks with Commedia dell’Arte Scenarios.  Again, the reader can select their level of interest but would gain a much more thorough view that might hopefully introduce him/her to areas that had not been explored up until now.

Chapter 4 (Utilizing Movements to Create a Visual Image) includes exercises that are basic to creating a level of believability that an actor should aspire to and an audience expects.  Exercises are included that are based on sense perception, physical sensation, weight, volume, space, and time as well as occupational movements, imaginary objects and colors, movement and sound, and much more.  For instance, an exercise employing space and time would be dancing with an imaginary partner in a small room; in a spacious hall, waltzing slowly and then jitterbugging or dancing other fast paced dances.  Besides looking at costume and style and character and type, the chapter also focuses on psychological gestures and movements that are essential in creating a character.  An example might be choosing a character from a scene and finding the basic gesture or movement and the motivating force that identifies that character.

Just when you think you have been fully satiated in the world of physical movement there’s still more.  The Appendixes contains Sample Lessons for Creating a Mime Training Program, Resources for Mime Plays, Pantomimes, Themes for Improvisations and Scenes with and without Words, Schools and Movement Training Centers, Publications, Organizations, Festivals, and Resource Centers  and Selected Videography and DVD’s.

BRINGING THE BODY TO THE STAGE AND SCREEN by Annette Lust, published in 2012 by Scarecrow Press in the Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, has it all.  Wherever you are in your interest in physical movement you will find what you need to know and what you can build upon. Whether you are a performing artist, a teacher, a student, or an audience member you will find much of to appreciate and revel in.

Phoebe Moyer is an Award Winning Actor (AEA, AFTRA) and Director, Acting Coach, and Voice Over-Artist.  She was a Theatre Instructor at the Secondary and University Level for over 35 years.   She holds an M.A. in Speech and Theatre from Northwestern University and has studied with Jim Donlon, Noel Parenti, and Mamako and for many years was a Dance and Mime Instructor and Performer.



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