J Lecoq’s Pedagogy

Feature Image http://commediaschool.com/the-course/commedia-dellarte/

Jacque Lecoq

7 levels of tension – Basel Masks Match-up

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Jacques lecoq, the greatest drama figure who died in 1999, invented 7 levels of tension with the purpose of making performers generate different levels of energy and control it. The energy created during a training should be stored in the actors’ memory and is supposed to be regenerated on stage. As the diagram indicates that 7 levels of tension are applicable to the characteristics of Basel masks, 7 levels of tension are almost fundamental to everything you teach. Therefore, drama teachers follows in lecoq’s big steps by adopting his pedagogy.

Lecoq’s theatre pedagogy

According to his book or oral history spoken by his acquaintances, it is alleged that Lecoq’s teaching style was influenced by Copeau and Noh Theatre of Japan.

 “Through Jean Daste I discovered masked performance and Japanese Noh Theatre, both of which have had a powerful influence on me. In Li’Exode (Exodus), a performance using mask and mime created by Marie-Helene and Jean Daste, every actor wore a ‘noble’ mask. which we nowadays call the neutral mask. I also have a vivid memory of a Japanese Noh play, Sumidagawa (Sumida River), in which we mimed the movements of a boat while our voices evoked the sounds of the river. We drew our inspiration from Jacque Copeau, who had been Daste’s teacher, as we performed in Grenoble and the surounding region. I discovered the spirit of ‘ Les Copiaux’ their ambition to make theatre that spoke simple and directly to unsophisticated audiences. Copeau became a reference point for my work, alongside Dullin who belonged to the same theatrical family. Our youthful enthusiasm founded its echo in the school Dullin had founded in Paris.”
                                     – The Moving Body by Jacques Lecoq,  page 4
Excerpt from: http://iraseid.blogspot.kr/p/lecoq-complements-and-criticism.html

Jacques lecoq’s style of teaching drama can be simplified to..

  • Mask-based activities
    • Expressionless(neutral)/Basel Masks
    • The technique of the ‘anti-mask’
      • Actors are challenged to improvise against the emotion that a Mask evokes.

“ The mask enlarges the actor and “essentializes” the intention of the character and the situation.  It makes explicit the gestures of the body and the tone of the voice.  It lifts the text above the everyday, it filters out the essential and drops the anecdotal.   –Jacques Lecoq ”

  • Tension
    • 7 levels of tension
    • The tension created by the proximity or distance between actors
      • Query: Which level is this tension is?
  • Nature
    •  “The great movements of nature correspond to the most intimate movements of human emotion “ – Simon McBurney
    • What I think = The movements of nature or non-human things, whether it’s small or big, correspond to the movements of human emotion and vice versa. 
      • ex1) The lizard that we saw in class also correspond to the movements of human emotion, such as curiosity.
      • ex2) The sloth that we saw before TOK class also have a similarity the movements created by human emotions, such as laziness, lethargy and etc.
  • The com media dell’arte (the Italian comedy)
    • A source of our modern theatre
    • Circus Energy: Regard it as a circus with a plot – perform with the level of energy at a circus level
    • Subversive: subvert to an established system; political

“The Commedia Dell’Arté rests on the passions of men and women pushed to their limit.  It shows the absurdity of our behaviour.  It has nothing to do with elegant entertainment, but expresses the urgency of living, closer to survival than to life, the latter already a luxury.  Planted in the misery of the people, in their naiveté as well as their intelligence, Commedia Dell’Arté reflects the hierarchy of a stable society, without the possibility that the valet will revolt against his master.  Everyone manages, with all possible compromises, to exist and satisfy his hunger, his greed, his amorous desires; all living together.  Everyone tries to cheat and everyone falls into ridiculous traps.  The smile does not exist.  One weeps or one laughs. – Jacques Lecoq ”

  • Individual responsibility
    • The pupils in his school in Paris are asked to teach themselves – especially during the student uprisings in France.

= designed to foster the imaginative development and individual responsibility of the theatre artist

reference. http://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/jan/23/guardianobituaries

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