10. 4. 2019, Blog

We are emotional beings – or circus and theater workshop with Albin Warette

Reportáž z workshopu s Albinem Warettem v Bristolu od Marca Verhilla a Stéphanie N’Duhirahe.

„Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge others. Don’t compare.

There is no success, no failure on stage, just different ways to tell your story; you just need to be aware about what you do.

Live the present moment on stage.

Try to find the rhythm of the stage because the stage has its own rhythm.

Don’t think but dive.

Use emotions because we are emotional beings.

If you are lost: breathe, connect with your body and use it. Your body is your best friend.”

This is a small recap of some important words collected during the Albin Warette’s workshop in Bristol that we think we should keep in mind, not only when we speak about circus and theater, but also for our daily life.

Albin Warette is a great pedagogue who managed to complete the difficult task to teach us as students, as well as colleagues trainers. Director, author and actor of many diverse projects, theater teacher in many schools, including Lido circus school in Toulouse, Albin took the challenge of finding a common language between circus and theater, to make it a coherent, sensible entity, rather than a difficult cohabitation between two disciplines. His teaching, mainly focused on theater techniques applied to circus activity, intend to connect physicality and emotions, and put back the performer in front of his feelings.

The workshop, from EduCircation’s CIRCE program, was hosted by The Invisible Circus in Bristol, from 3rd to 10th of March 2019. No need to describe the traditionally unforeseeable English weather, or the jokes about Brexit, they’re natural; let’s just say that the composition of this workshop was diverse and intense. We were circus teachers coming from Cirkus in Beweging, Belgium, Cabuwazi, Germany, Espai de Circ, Spain, Inspiral, Hungary, Thessaloniki circus, Greece, and us: the Czech-without-borders from CIRQUEON.

About the content of the workshop, let’s not try to be too technical, it was on the whole classical theater or clowning exercises, with absolutely no circus technique research, but the direction, the intention, and the feedbacks were unveiling Albin’s vision of performing a circus/theater performance, and that was what made it so special.

As mentioned before, the additional challenge was to teach us both as students who want to live/feel/experience a workshop of great quality, and also as teachers or directors. So be it, we were moving, running, kissing, slapping, shouting, dancing during the whole day, and spent the last hour of talking, exchanging, doing feedbacks and speaking about theory every day.

As students, the first thing that was made clear, but which was going to be the leitmotiv all along the week, is the energy with which we enter a situation. He encouraged us not to judge the exercises, but rather to dive into it, not to think about what we were doing, but rather to live it from beginning to the end, fully, honestly, and, since we’re circus artists and our job is mainly physical, to live the moment with our body, not with our head. We spend an awful lot of time doing and thinking about what we’re doing, judging it and giving to the people around the conclusions of our judgments, sometimes openly, sometimes through hints and comments. But we judge, we think. Albin led us to realize the amount of time we spend doing it, and then acknowledging that whatever we do (on stage, in life), is the story, and we’ll judge it later, or not at all, but not on spot. He led us not to think about our next move, but rather to be connected to ourselves and to whatever’s happening now.

Connection to ourselves, to the audience, to our friends and colleagues, to the situation, we were encouraged to live the moment, to „enjoy the spaces of freedom” in our actions. Connection already during the warming up, not to be a dead thing from the very beginning, connecting with the voice when the body was silent, connection at every step, we were as connected as can be.

Beyond the exercises, we developed a specific vocabulary, Albin’s vocabulary, full of small words, numbers and sounds that meant a lot to us. Everything we were doing had a specific translation in Albin’s vocabulary, which is pointless to explain in this report.

As an example, among the concepts we were using, we spoke a lot about the French word: diégèse. A diégèse is a world, or a paradigm, specific to itself, with its own rules and normality; in circus, Albin said, we always travel between three diégèses: the normal life, the technical world and the sensible world. The normal life is the one we all have in common, the one that made you go to the theater, pay your ticket, get a seat and wait for the dark to enter the sensible diégèse: the one carrying the story. The sensible diégèse is the story, this world where you don’t question the rules if they are clear enough. The magic in Harry Potter is as natural as a speaking wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood. In theater, in circus, in performances in general, we try to build carefully this sensible world, this narrative, to embark the audience out of their reality, towards a world we created for them. The technical diégèse is the one circus artists use whenever they need to insert a circus trick inside a story. The audience gets out from the story to enjoy a technical move – hopefully interesting. The fact is a (circus) show is the cohabitation of those three diégèses, where the story can bring people far away, but a forgotten line, a person coughing in the audience, or an uncomfortable seat can bring back to reality, only to forget about all this to watch a beautiful silks number… The theater is a complex world where different worlds mix together. To know about the concept of diégèses can help the making of a show be more accurate, more sensitive or funnier.

There were many other tools we were using: a signal when it is obvious something should happen at this precise moment, a numbering the energy of the stage according to what the audience gets, the differentiation of anima and animus, and its use on stage, etc. Albin showed us his way of mingling circus and theater according to his 20 years of experience, always insisting on the fact that we are never wrong, that things can be done otherwise, but it made pretty well more sense to him to feel alive, honest and connected on stage, rather than the opposite.

And finally, during the last Friday’s party, DJed by Rada, our host from Invisible Circus, we shook it out on the dance floor like a cold shower after a long run and then came back to our respective countries to try to explain the world what the hell we were doing back there, in Bristol.