Mike Alfreds Workshop

23rd-27th May 2011

A thorough and illuminating week long intensive workshop looking into ‘the world of a play’. I highly recommend his book, ‘Different Every Night’. The roots of the week were based in Stanislavski , explained in vivid clarity aswell as his own methods worked out over his years as a director.

The way he explains actioning, units, beats, objectives, through-lines, points of concentration is very freeing for the actor. He gave a lovely picture about the text being on top of an orchestra, where many instruments need to be playing underneath, varying upon the subtext. We explored Lorca, Coward, Shakespeare, Hellman and Gogol. He has a wonderful way of allowing and giving the actor time to explore and enter a world with their whole body, mind and spirit; not just their head. He reminded me of the freedom and accessibility within the Laban efforts in creating a character aswell as the psychological gesture(M.Chekhov). And to trust in the simple act of talking from a place of need to the other person, and in doing so to trust you are showing the humanity and avoiding cliches. The world of the play and character work feed in through rehearsals to the text until all three are working together. I enjoyed his analogy that theatre acting is much like a game of football. We go out onto the stage as footballers to the field, and from our on-going training we must use and trust our skills to then play and improvise. I loved the freedom and creativity from playing without being ‘blocked’….so often ‘Move there, say that line, then move there etc..’ He says there is a reason it is called ‘blocking’ – that is exactly what it does to the actor. He likes to see new things tried, new choices made every time…..otherwise what we have is DEAD theatre. What we want is theatre that is ALIVE!

‘The art is asking you to be vulnerable, however the profession is asking you to have a thick skin’.


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