School of Performing Arts - Theses

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    Pulse: a physical approach to staging text
    GERSTLE, TANYA ( 2008)
    This exegesis articulates the evolution of an improvisational training and rehearsal methodology called Pulse and discusses the outcomes of a practice-based research project where Pulse was applied to the screenplay of Yes by Sally Potter. Pulse is an approach to performance creation, where an ensemble of performers trains to kinaesthetically embed and integrate a selection of performance and compositional principles enabling them to improvise together. This research involved working with a trained ensemble to explore how Pulse could be used to create spatial and visual imagery that would illuminate a narrative text; to create physical theatre based on the spoken word. I used the language of a screenplay for the generative material, as it was not written for the stage. A visceral, physical and aural landscape therefore would have to be created so an audience could experience the different worlds of the narrative outside its realistic, filmic context. The Pulse process demands that the actor thinks with the body and does not work from the mind. This allows for surprising meetings on the rehearsal floor as the body of the actor responds to suggestions of lust, desire, power and conflict implicit in a narrative. I found that the restrained emotional landscape of unspoken feelings in Sally Potter’s film text emerged through action creating a physicalisation of deep undercurrents. The character’s emotional inner world was revealed through physical metaphor. The performer was able to create a score of non-behavioural physical imagery which when staged could run parallel to the spoken word. Where the original medium may have relegated the importance of the body, the Pulse physical translation process prioritised the body in the live experience. The actor’s body painted the space through direct physical experience and memory. The body was content, image and witness. As a consequence our adapted, staged version told a different story to that of the film. This research involved instigating and tracking the investigation and this exegesis describes and analyses the form that emerged.