Näyttelijän huominen

Ajat ovat muuttuneet, ihan oikeasti. Tänään julkaistun Louhimiehen väkivaltaiselta kuulostavia ohjausmenetelmiä käsittelevän jutun (https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-10115456) tiimoilta aloin miettiä, miten samantyyppisistä (mies-)taiteilijaneroista on puhuttu ennen #metoota ja sen aloittamia prosesseja. Mieleen tuli muun muassa muutaman vuoden takainen hypetys ukrainalaisen ohjaajan Andriy Zholdakin ”rohkeasta” ja ”intohimoisesta” työskentelytavasta, ja pienen googlailun jälkeen eteen osui Helsingin Sanomien juttu vuodelta 2011 (https://www.hs.fi/kulttuuri/art-2000002507110.html), jossa kerrotaan Zholdakin kehottaneen pääosan näyttelijää ryhtymään selibaattiin. Jutussa kehotus on nostettu otsikoksi, eikä sitä tunnuta kyseenalaistettavan vaan pikemminkin sanotaan ohjaajan ”toimivan parasta mahdollista työtulosta ajatellen”.

 

Muistan itsekin lukeneeni juttuja Zholdakista pelonsekaisella kunnioituksella ja ajatelleni, että ”oikea” teatteri on tiukkaa höykytystä, kunnes vuonna 2015 opintojani viimeistellessäni jouduin kokemaan ohjaaja-näyttelijä -hierarkian pimeän puolen kantapään kautta ja päädyin kirjoittamaan maisterityöni juuri näyttelijän selviytymiskeinoista painostavassa patriarkaalisessa harjoitusilmapiirissä. Tämä oli ainoa tapani selviytyä ja säilyttää jonkinlainen itsekunnioitus ahdistavien kokemusteni aikana ja niiden jälkeen. Samalla tein täyskäännöksen teatterinäkemykseni suhteen ja päätin tietoisesti pyrkiä kohti tekijöitä, jotka korostavat tasa-arvoa ja kollegiaalisuutta näyttelijän ja ohjaajan suhteessa.

 

On mielettömän tärkeää, että ohjaajan etiikasta ja näyttelijä-ohjaaja -hierarkiasta puhutaan vihdoin valtavirrassa, ja että taiteellisilla päämäärillä pyhitetty vallankäyttö kyseenalaistetaan. Luonnollisesti on olemassa myös näyttelijöitä, jotka nauttivat ohjaajan puolelta tulevasta testaamisesta ja haastamisesta, mutta ei voi millään mittapuulla olla oikein, että koska kaikki eivät koe työskentelytapoja ahdistaviksi, ne hyväksytään muiden tekijöiden kärsimyksen kustannuksella.

 

Kuten näyttelijä Tola A-Studion (https://areena.yle.fi/1-4233532) haastattelussa sanoo, ”Mikään taiteellinen projekti ei ole sen väärti, että leikitään näyttelijän ihmisarvolla”.

Finland, Finland, Finland!

It's been almost four months that I've spent in my hometown Helsinki, and a lot has happened. Working as a hired actor for a great immersive theatre piece The Real Health Centre, joining a new improvisation group, researching, reading, working jobs, finding my place. The town is beautiful and the conditions great – why not to stay here?

The only thing that has been bothering me about Finland is the lack of international projects and connections, and the feeling of being alone here in a monocultural bubble. However, to my great joy and surprise, I have found out that Finland has changed a lot since I last lived here permanently in 2009 and even from my last embarkment of 2013, and the city is starting to find its way into multiculturalism. New projects and communities are starting to form, and a working language can well be English or other, in addition to the traditional Finnish/Swedish duo.

I have also been extremely lucky to have started to receive my international colleagues here, who sincerely want to come and work in Helsinki and other parts of the country. Working last week with my colleague Tom Bailey from the Mechanical Animal Corporation (Bristol), exploring new themes in the rehearsal room as well as in a beautifully snowy Finnish forest made me really feel closer to all my international collaborators, feel like creating multicultural work here is possible and even, extremely needed.

This week's beautiful news have been to receive my own company Spindrift Theatre and my lovely colleague-sisters in town in January 2017. We are going to start Research and Development for our new piece currently called MEN, as well as hold a lecture-workshop at Unioni, the feminist association of Finland about our feminist approach to physical theatre training. To top up the upcoming two weeks, we'll also have a chance to hold a workshop at Ilmaisukellari, the studiospace of the local Actors' Union. Things are starting to form and shape, and Finland is opening it's doors for new adventures.

As Monty Python sings: "Finland, Finland, Finland, a country where I'd quite like to be!"

Facebook official!

Facebook official!

 

 

Training Free Of Value Judgement

“Be dynamic, strong, interesting!” That is what we as actors keep hearing throughout our careers. We hear it so much that finally it becomes our truth, something to aim at and to set as a goal in our careers. We push and tense and rush and squash our partners in order to get the most attention from the director, or whoever may be able to look at our work.

Have we ever thought that those adjectives may not be something to aim at? Have we ever thought that being weak is not a negative thing? What if trying to be interesting is not interesting at all? I started questioning this mindset after several events in my training and work, where I tried to push through to be the toughest, in other words to please my director, or an imagined outside eye who I meditated lurking in the corner of a rehearsal room. I went through a vocal chord injury, constant pain and tension in my body and finally through something we can call an artistic breakdown, where all I believed in in theatre seemed to harm me, and my own work was turning into a violent and hurtful thing.

Devising at Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin.

Devising at Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin.

I started reflecting upon the stance we take when evaluating actor’s work. It seemed to me that the qualities regarded traditionally as masculine, were preferred over the feminine qualities. I had been training in a singular world, where a big part of me was considered bad by the public opinion, myself included. This is not to say that as a woman I am naturally a feminine being, but that we seem to disregard half of the potential we have.

Inspired by this idea I started exploring feminist poetics and found Hélène Cixous’s work about the binary oppositions. She briefly explained, how our system of thinking forces the feminine qualities to an inferior position, and raises the masculine qualities above them. Also, how our whole language and thinking consists of two counterparts: the good and evil or more precisely: the masculine and  feminine. This quote from her book The Newly Born Woman really stayed with me: it explains simply and precisely, what is wrong with our thinking:

 

Where is she?

 

Activity/passivity

Sun/Moon

Culture/Nature

Day/Night

 

Father/Mother

Head/Heart

Intelligible/Palpable

Logos/Pathos

Form, convex, step, advance, semen, progress.

Matter, concave, ground – where steps are taken, holding- and dumping-ground.

Man

---

Woman

 

Through dual, hierarchical oppositions. Superior/Inferior. Myths, legends, books. Philosophical systems. Everywhere…

From this moment on I have started to actively train myself to see the actor’s work differently: not as a fight or a war where I need to prove to be tough, but as a place with multiple opportunities, where different qualities can play together and not replace each other. I am also training my eye not to judge other performer’s qualities to favour the masculine, but to understand the beauty of soft, gentle, weak, subtle and tender. In movement, the round shapes and gliding qualities can be extremely beautiful and the indirectness win the directness with its multiplicity and its unpredictability. Also in vocal training, the key in producing sounds from our unique human body is to listen, not to be the loudest. Putting this understanding in practice takes a long time, and requires a real will of changing the aesthetics that are currently in use.

Spindrift Theatre has taken this point of view onboard, and we aim to embrace the multiplicity of the actor’s work, with all its different qualities regardless of their gender-relation. This approach is present in our workshops and directing, as well as our individual work as actors. We hope to open up new possibilities for the actors, and to make the silenced parts of our voices and bodies to speak.

#MyTaboo

Happy to start the new year with Spindrift Theatre's campaign:

“  I enjoy the different sounds of my pee. I call it ‘vagina’s music’  ”

I enjoy the different sounds of my pee. I call it ‘vagina’s music’

We at Spindrift work from the performer's curiosity about life and human behavior. We devise original performances from what we find strange, intriguing or questionable within society. 

And so: for "Carroll: Berserkur" we asked our audience and creatives what sort of restrictions they experienced in their lives, what sort of things they don't share as they're considered taboo or socially unacceptable.

We will be posting these treasured findings on our social media through a series of illustrations through the hashtag #MyTaboo, as we're reaching the end of our #EvropaUngaFolksins Research and Development period.