Saturday, July 30, 2005

ROOF THEATRE east meets west

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is a way to re-integrate art and ritual in our daily lives, a way to re-connect the world and the arts, ourselves and each others.

The project started as a search of an acting method and became a method of action.
I started trying to find an universal method that would suit any actor independently of his age, gender, cultural or economical background.
Workshops and research were made in different countries, with the most various people and the understanding of that method extended into a social action.
More then a method the work became a practice, and that practice is fundamental for the understanding of its method.

For me theatre is a way to meet the self, an encounter of our body, mind and emotion- bringing awareness into our presence.
Theatre is a practice, an exercise, bringing out a more articulate consciousness of the all.

My work starts in the empty, neutral, black space.
Interculturalism is the base for my research allowing a neutral field of creation to be born.

Roof theatre method is one to embody mind experience.
The performer listens to their inner journeys and concentrates on the actions, realizing it's intention, and consciously responding to impulses.

The performer as an object of study is divided in parts that are organically connected between them, and must be re-connected whenever he is performing, as a different level of energy is being used. These parts are designated mental body, physical body and emotional body, and the relation between them is energy.

For energy we understand a movement of opposite forces or an interaction between concentration and release of tensions.
It's a very physical experience and there's nothing mystical or metaphysical in it.
The energy is classified in terms of quality, rhythm, direction, and intention, and must be realized objectively by the performer in action and in pre-action.
Therefore, all energy is spent in conscious movement or conscious stillness.

The awareness of this process is germinated in the performer through exercises that decompose his actions into stimulus, motivation, need, impulse, action and re-action.
The emotional body awareness is raised by exercises that work with memories, dreams, and motivations that are artists creative material.
Relaxation exercises, postures, massage, voice exploration and movement compositions are used to develop physical awareness.

Roof Theatre process is one of de-mechanization, the retuning, or de-tuning of the performer.
During my workshops we work from the starting point of what gives each one of us pleasure.

Whatever makes you dream, will be the starting point for a process that goes from physical warm up, search for movement identity, encounter of your own voice, creating a character, working a text , learning lines, work on physical actions, playing intentions,to observing techniques. The workshop plan is always changed according to the needs of the group participating.

We can focus on character, on movement, on the emotional body, or on how can one approach a play.
It's part of Roof Theatre process to allow each performer to express what they want to work and to give them the space to do so.
As a director, I don't give solutions, I guide the actor towards his own solution.

The workshop is an experimental space for each participant liberates his own creativity, a relaxed and involved event that allow people to develop their theatre acquaintance, body consciousness and self-wakefulness becoming more present and alive.
It is usually an unexpected experience for most of participants because it operates as an extreme emotional release, giving them a way to express themselves, withou needing any special techniques or divine talents.

ROOF THEATRE promotes workshops in LONDON.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Wake up woman!
The cock is crowing;
It's 3 a.m.
Wake up- it's time to weed the fields
in the distant hills.
Sleep no more;
Arise from the burdens of yesterday,
Forget the hours of toil
In that hot sun
That arose when you worked in the field
But set while you hurried to clear the weeds.
In the dark you return, as you left,
To those empty cooking pots.
Alas! the day is over
When the family enjoys the day's meal
But before you rest your feet
A voice calls: Woman get me hot water!
With that you know it's over
Until the cock crows
And the circle begins again:
Wake up woman!
Wake up woman!

by Assumpta Acam-Oturu, Uganda.

I came across this poem two years ago, in a book entitled "Eye to eye, women", beautifully compiled by Anita Desai, a fabulous indian novelist.
Even though the poem doesn't strike me as an amazing piece of writing, there was something in it that made me read it again, and again, and again.
I particularly liked its rhythm, its circular repetitive structure, the simplicity of the short sentences. If you see, its connection with nature is made in a more realistic and less idyllic way and there is much said in it in such a short melodic way!
We can feel through these words a tired working body, obeying its duties in life, surviving and waiting for release. The cycle of life is therefore implicit, and behind this cycle we feel a strong energetic will to carry on despite the difficulties, a strength of character and an understanding of daily life in the big picture that is very feminine, utterly being an expression of womankind.
Women in Uganda, as in most parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, still do most of the work- they grow and cook food, gather water and wood, and take charge of rasing children. I like particularly the fact that it was written by one of these women, and so I believe the context in which it was written to be extremely relevant.

When I found this poem, hidden in a small southwestern british library, I had just arrived from India myself, and was very in touch with the different ways of women, their roles, differences and similarities.I had realized by looking at women's positions in politics, in their religions, in their families and in their culture in the east, my own position as a woman in the western world and in this universe, and most crucially I understood there weren't many differences between east and west, on a deeper level.
I decided then it was time for a deeper reflection on this important social, political and also spiritual issue. Women studies, women movements needed an artistic and simultaneously realistic approach, that would be all encompassing, whilst specific.
To become aware is to resist. There are enough women in this era well enough aware that their self-sufficience, education, and involvement in politics is so important that they need to undertake some serious action.
It is to them that I'm now working.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

in the underground, London

Ana Baldaia

Ana Baldaia is a traveller, a writer, a performer, a workshop leader, a performance researcher, a theatre director, a feminist, a youth worker, a cooker, a lover, a friend, a sister and a daughter.
She studied acting in Portugal and Directing in New York.
She created and directs Roof Theatre, a laboratory for Theatre Research, promoting workshops in Lisbon, London, Rio, Mombai and NY.
She performed in different plays and video work.
She is currently working on a liveart show (video and performance) entitled Wake up Woman.
In this blog you can find information about her work, pictures and some of her writing.