Monday, January 23, 2012

Visiting the Neighbors: Myanmar Update 2

Michael's Yangon update from January 22, 2012.

All's well that starts well here in Yangon.  We're working with 10 members of the group Thukhuma Khayeethe ("Arts Travelers"), four of whom we toured with on our last trip in 2010.  We've had three rehearsals so far.  Here's a little tid-bit from a recent rehearsal:

Our rehearsal studio is a rented, empty house in a suburban area in north Yangon called Inseine.  It IS pronounced "insane" but doesn't carry the same meaning--  though it might when we are through with it.  It is local to the famous prison of the same name where at least two of the actors were incarcerated several years for "political activities", in their pre-theatre days.

Anyway, we were doing one of those group circle exercises called Visiting the Neighbors, useful for ensemble building and character exploration.  It allows the actor freedom of physical and vocal expression.  Apparently, however, this neighborhood is not used to such freedom, because after about 10 minutes of what must have sounded like bedlam WE were visited by the neighbors, who demanded to know what the hell we were doing.  The offending character might have been yours' truly, who at the time was grabbing one of the actors by the lapels and shouting "Whaaaaat?!!!  He gave my money to WHOOOOOOO??!!!"   (Part of the exercise, of course.)

Clearly our theatre pals hadn't introduced themselves to the community and given them a "heads up" about what might go on.  We promised to be more "respectful".

More to come,
Watch this space.

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