Music Theater Workshop


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July 30 to August 17 13:00-16:00  Monday to Friday

I have been been investigating theater, dance and music with live performance for 35 years.  By the 1980’s, I began to take a microscopic view on the role improvisation plays in real time performance combining my background in the performing arts and music with a curiosity for advances in brain studies, text. object-figure and movement research. I have worked with music artists from various backgrounds, acoustic, electronic, jazz, traditional, modern music and punk, who share my passion for multi disciplinary real time performances and with directors, actors, vocalist, dancers, and physical theater artists from various backgrounds in companies, troupes, solo and ensembles. I have included text in my performances since the 70’s with an ear on how this can integrate musically as well as produce an objectified meaning of events. I have included the use of object in relationship to figure since my early work in Italy in the 80’s. These experiences allow for me to distinguish a music theater platform for multidisciplinary performances. I accept artists from all performance art and music backgrounds without prejudice concerning technical skills or esthetic boundaries.

I guide performers through physical exercises that highlight how the eyes and ears effect movement choices using my research in developmental brain studies about “why we learn to walk”. I set up exercises for the musicians, text artists and vocalist during the physical work to challenge their ability to create “a band” instantly and to be aware of how space is shifting with live moving bodies involved. Musicians and performers can choose to change roles in these exercises at any given time. Text is introduced from the beginning, using two microphones available for text artists, movement artists, actors and musicians to experiment.

I extend the workshop towards improvisation sessions by setting a fictional front in the studio space and then declare this as a platform to choose pause, flow or exit. All three of these choices are intensive studies on their own. All three areas are studied separately through out the workshop in order to reinforce the debt of each of these studies in how it effects the performer, composer and tension in the space. The limit of these three choices can already provide the frame for a composition to take place while misunderstanding, coincidence, live time, interactivity, messiness, emotions, intuition, impulse and inspiration feed the content in a creative process.

These raw materials are integrated with the combined fact that everyone in the workshop group can make a choice. The improvisation sessions are given a delegated time frame with an option for the workshop group to shift, drop or lift the space at will. The responsibility to shift, drop and lift the performance space, places each individual in a position to be to be fully awake or they will recognizably loose the thread of the creative activity in play.

The individual development of presence is a critical process in the workshop be it in music, text, movement, dance, figure, object or vocals. I use games to set an example for building and dropping the tension in the theater and/or musical space by way of an individuals presence with an emphasis on the states of mind that occurs in performance with an encouraging aim to reveal vulnerability and expressionism.

Choice is introduced to the workshop group as a composer’s reality but also for individuals to elect to participate in the performative or as a viewer and yet remain involved in the process. The aim is to gather the workshop group to recognize that, in a creative composition process, time is passing at different perceived speeds and that space is shifting in several dimensions at once. This awake fullness promotes individual performance presence, composition alertness and an appetite for creativity.

Every day we will practice and engage with all of the aspects available to us in the theater music platform. I will center on one area of study as a theme for research, feedback and reflection each week. If you are doing the full four week workshop you can take advantage of building this study. If you are electing to do weeks or days at a time, you can choose which area of study is of the most interest for you; Week 1  sound – body – tension  / Week 2 music – body –  text / Week 3  music – object – figure

Major question introduced to the group “What is your relationship to public and how does that relationship formulate the way you compose your work”?

Text from lecture materials:

Tell the brain to tell the mind to shut up – body obey me

Creativity is messy. Three choices arise out of the messiness;  Pause Flow and Exit.  Each of these choices are a mountain of study and each of these choices are shared in the space under the guidance of the performer/ artists relationship to their public.

It is abundantly clear when the artist choice has been closed down by solutions portrayed as “ideas”. Scrounging for authorship, these “ideas” place a filter between artist and public. Off with their heads, let the artists choose.

I am not interested in the moment, even though it does feel good. I am interested in the movement time and the fact that time is passing us by. Time moving is what we share with music, sound, sonic, public and most obviously “life”.

The performer/ dancer /actor/ musician needs to be the best listener in the theatre in order to read the sounds in a passing time. If you read the sounds in time you can write, reveal and give presence to a sonic body.

A fully awake body is rarely pedestrian. The body awake needs to be discovered and demands a discipline beyond everyday tasks. And yet when movement or dance does not respect the beauty of the body in pedestrian, I become uncomfortable. I am not attracted to future pain. How the body works,  how we see the body, it is not so different then in how we feel about body. Anything less than feeling the body is like watching a dog trying to learn ballet.

The reality is that we volunteer to get in front of people and then more crazy, in a real time composition. We respect that the public have paid the ticket to judge us. That it is their job ; to judge us. Certainly it is not our job to judge them or ourselves in this enormously ridiculous process of live time performance. Naturally one is nervous and even frightened. Those emotions integrate with the act of volunteering to perform. In a most perfect way, this combination creates a vulnerability and humility with every single artistic choice. If I am no longer nervous before a gig then something has gone terribly wrong.

There is a difference between seeing, looking and watching. A difference between hearing and listening. An artists chooses if they wish for a public to watch or to see – to hear or to listen. I choose for the public to see and listen and do my best to gather a crowd in that quest. It doesn’t always work and it is never 100% of the public. But because I choose it, who I am as artists is clarified. The combination of moving, seeing, hearing, feeling and deliberately volunteering to expose myself in front of an audience alters my perception of time,  space and emotions. What I do for a living is an induced neuron madness.

If you bring an object into a performance space you need to fall in love. It is similar to how music can effect the performer. With music, we actually fall into a delusional state of mind and believe that the music loves you back. It doesn’t and you do need to objectify these feelings in order to track how the music is moving in time. But you do need to believe that the object loves you back, even though, it doesn’t. Love gives the impression that the object is moving in time. That it is alive.

BIO – Katie Duck

I am a performer maker and teacher since the early 1970’s. I have placed improvisation as an intricate element in how to compose and perform with musicians, dancers and actors internationally such as Derek Bailey, Tristan Honsinger, Steve Paxton, Dario Fo, Carlos Traffic (among many) for 35 years. My career has included independent teaching, University teaching, set choreography’s, structured improvisations, music and dance real time performances and live streaming international performances. I have initiated courses, workshops, festivals and monthly performance series in my three bases Italy, England and Holland. I have led dance companies, dance/music companies, created solos, written text for my performances as well as critical articles. I continue my vocational research in theater, music, dance, text and performance alongside studies I have conducted in social studies, cultural studies, brain studies and neuron science. I believe that my research must not be validated by academic speak alone but rather by my insistence to take part in my chosen practice of real time theater in no matter what country or period of time I am living in. I am a feminist traveling through the 60’s to present day as both witness and participant. Distressing events occur daily in languages that reflect sport metaphors defining winners and losers tucking our feelings in a pocket of our consciousness until eventually panic attack grips the spirit and anything social seems beyond reason. The human condition to feel what we see and hear is numbed, boxed away in the normal. Emotions are messy. We need art. Creativity is messy. Art is 80% observation.

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Follow this link to find my research material=What I like      

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