Thursday, August 7, 2014

Stage One - How Do I Get Out of the Box?

Jack gives suggestions and encouragement to Abby and Jacob
during a pantomime exercise.
One of the final master classes of the week here at Stage One at Signature Theatre was led by the supremely talented and entertaining Jack Novak. The class itself focused on the art pantomime, which Jack is very adept and familiar with.

Jack Novak is an actor, writer, and teaching artist in the DC area. Some of his recent acting credits include Pinocchio in Pinocchio with Faction of Fools, Washington DC's Commedia dell'Arte Theatre Company, as well as Dusty in The Stone Tape Party  with Nu Sass Productions. Jack is an Associate Artist with InterAct Story Theatre, and is a member of the improv group Commonwealth (an in-house ensemble at Washington Improv Theatre). Jack studied with The Mime Company at Northwestern University; where he received a degree in Theatre, and performed with the company for several years.

Maria and Amanda attempt to pull Grace over
to their side with a pull of a rope.

During his class, Jack went into a brief history of pantomime and touched on the work of Marcel Marceau, one of the most well-known mimes and practitioners of pantomime. Once introduced to the subject, the students dove in with Jack as they explored the world of pantomime.

Abby demonstrates focus from her core as Jacob attempts
to move her "Unbendable Arm".

One of the primary pillars that Jack stressed in regards to pantomime was the "center". The center exsists three fingers below belly button. For one to successfully exercise effective pantomime one's energy must emanate from their center to the rest of their body and into the earth. If this center of focus is held and kept, wonderous moments of play and creation can come forth from the performer.

As the master class went on, the students explored various mime moments. From walks to walls and pushes to pulls, Jack had Stage One feeling objects and tensions that did not exist literally in the space. It was a blast to watch and participate in these pantomime exercises. 
Bryan explores inside his box with his hands.
On Twitter? Follow Stage One at #SigStageOne


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