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 (Glenys McQueen©2013)

Venue:  Université Paris VII--Diderot  
IDEA: International Drama-Theatre and Education Association IDEA WORKSHOP: Presented by:  Glenys McQueen-Fuentes

* English, Français, Español...  

Date:  Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Room: W5
Presented by:  Glenys McQueen-Fuentes

Here, below, is the full version of the workshop from the IDEA Conference, plus extra commentary that may be helpful in applying it.
Also, please remember:
a)  to write to us if you have questions, comments, or wish to share the outcomes, photos, etc. of experiments in applying and/or expanding the below...
b) the music from DramaSound can be purchased in MP3 or CD format (see "Store") and providing credit is given (original music by Rafael "Gato" Fuentes, DramaSound), it is royalty free for creative and educational purposes...
c) I am available for workshops, consultations, and keynotes...
Jacques Lecoq, one of the most influential theatre teachers of the 20th century, not only affected theatre practice worldwide, his pedagogy was also extraordinarily ahead of its time. At his International Theatre School in Paris, France, Lecoq prepared students from every culture and background imaginable, to transform any source--any idea, concept, event, etc. into original, physically-based professional theatre using movement and music as the "major text."  He saw these elements--movement and music--as our universal languages, and he taught us to "speak" through them.  He did this, in part, through a series of 'frameworks' which allowed us to explore, question, analyze, critique, deconstruct the chosen stimulus, and to reconstruct and 'fill in' the frameworks with our discoveries, our new perceptions, our 'answers'--and our resulting questions.  This 'filled-in' framework became our presentation--our performance.
However, Lecoq's "frameworks" approach is equally versatile and effective within Drama and Theatre in Education, Applied Theatre and/or in any classroom situation--regardless of age, (in)experience, or cultural background.  These "frameworks," using movement and music as languages--as "kinetic roleplay"--allow all participants to quickly and enthusiastically recognize their own often-repressed innate abilities in using our universal languages, while exploring the given source and assuring layers of releasing and increasing knowledge, understanding, awareness, focused exploration, negotiating, empathy, co-operative learning, experimenting, critical thinking, creative input, spoken literacy skills (including inference and nuance), discussion, lateral thinking, visualization, and simulation.
Participants will work through three exercises that illustrate Lecoq's "frameworks" approach.  All three can be used for performance or for educational purposes, and all three are excellent introductions to movement for the inexperienced, as well as providing challenges for professionals.


Lecoq's FRAMEWORKS: seeking parallels between the Drama in Education approach/ professional theatre/dance creation--like the concentric circles that occur when a pebble is dropped in a pond.
Other concepts to be covered: 
-connecting to environment; expanding the source
-Kinetic roleplay/ dramatic roleplay
-metaphors and meanings--creating the pendulum
As I mentioned, I spend a lot of time working with people who think they 'hate movement', or who are afraid of it.  Lecoq's work is a perfect fit here, as the following occurs naturally:
--frameworks can work for small, mid- or extremely large groups
--the entire group is always engaged in one way or another, so the spotlight is never on one person
--there is clearly 'no right or wrong way' of doing things; personal creative input occurs naturally
--the exercises allow the fearful and timid to 'hide' until they are more confident
--the work demonstrates immediately how beautiful and powerful natural movement is
--there is always a quality of elegance and aesthetic within the Lecoq work; participants recognize this and want to preserve these qualities, regardless of context
--due to the above, confidence in and enjoyment with movement usually occur quickly and inevitably
During her videoed remarks, Ariane Mnouchkine, who also studied with Lecoq, mentioned the importance of beauty and aesthetics in increasing the power and depth of any message, and, as mentioned above, that is another trademark of Lecoq's work...

Quick, energizing, ice-breaker name & movement warm-up: in the "heat of the moment" (literally--that heat wave was a surprise), I forgot this exercise, but am including it here because it is super-fast, fun, and helps set the tone for movement work, as well as introducing participants to each other [and to presenter]...
"SHAKING...ELBOWS"...explain that on your "go" signal, participants, as fast as they can, are to [gently] shake elbows [instead of hands] with everyone in the room. As they do this, they are to exchange their names.[e.g., as I shake elbows with Susan, I say "Glenys" and she replies "Susan"].  They are to try and greet everyone in the room before the "STOP" signal is given.
ALTERATIONS...try this shaking: a)  little fingers [gently]; b) soles of feet; or c) touching tips of thumbs, etc.  Be sure to keep participants working very quickly...
This is a technique I use often during movement work.  It allows participants to recognize, feel--and release the physical (and emotional) tensions that build up.
--ask participants to "shake out", making sure they are moving their feet slightly off the ground, as well as shaking the rest of their bodies (should be fairly vigourous).
--ask them to repeat this, but to deliberately hold their breath while shaking out, and to be aware (listen carefully inward) of "how that feels"
--have them: a) repeat the breath-holding shake out, but say that, b) on a signal from you, they are to exhale loudly, as they continue to shake out (it is important that they do not stop shaking out while they exhale).
--ask them "how that felt"...and they should have recognized that if they exhale while shaking out, they can feel the physical and mental tension literally slide away, or "fall away" from their limbs...!  It should be extremely evident.
--before 'switching exercises' or focus, and/or before presenting or sharing work, always have participants "shake out."  It should become a standard procedure that people will automatically do...
Lecoq used this framework as training for Greek Chorus work; for education, it can be seen as a kind of puppet/puppeteer exercise, where there is one leader/puppeteer at a time and many puppet followers or chorus members. 
NOTE: THE MAGIC HAND Mini-Kit is available from DramaSound for $30.00.  It includes a "Talking Teacher" CD (or MP3) that you can play and literally use to teach the class--or use it as a memory review before teaching and a booklet that extends the handout below, gives more contexts and variations...

BASIC EXERCISE:  2 rules + 2 steps.
--Participants go to one end of the room & face the other end, standing fairly close together, but not touching
--The leader/puppeteer (the teacher, just for this instructional stage) goes to the other end of the room facing the puppet/chorus. (S)he is The Magic Hand.
--The leader, raises one hand, palm facing the chorus of puppets. This is The Magic Hand; it will tell/show the chorus of puppets how to move.
[NOTE:  for this teaching introduction, the teacher will be The Magic Hand/puppeteer; once the students understand the exercise and rules, they will take over the role of The Magic Hand leader/puppeteer].
RULES:  there are 2 safety rules/ points of responsibility:
1)  PUPPET/CHORUS RULEà  always keep your eyes on The Magic Hand. If it tells you to stop, you must be ready to do so instantly.
2)  THE MAGIC HAND/PUPPETEER RULEà  you are responsible for your group. Be sure to go slowly enough that all can: a) follow along with you (without jumbling up because of speed) and b) keep them out of danger (stop them if they are about to run into anything). They must be able to trust you completely.
--I MAGINE that the space between The Magic Hand and the chorus is solid, so if the Magic Hand moves, the chorus MUST move accordingly. So…MAGIC HAND puppeteer, move only your her hand; chorus, respond by moving your whole body and stepping in the direction the Magic Hand shows you (eg., if the Magic Hand pushes his/her palm away from his/her body, the puppet/chorus members move backward; if the Magic Hand moves his/her palm closer to his/her body, the puppet/chorus members approach; if the Magic Hand moves to one side—chorus follows to that side, etc.). 
STEP 2: INTERPRETATION (interpreting The MAGIC HAND’s movement/commands )à
--The chorus of puppets is to imagine that they ARE the hand of THE MAGIC HAND.  As THE MAGIC HAND moves, bends, arches fingers, palm or lifts and lowers his/her hand, the puppets, as would puppets on strings, respond with their whole bodies.  When THE MAGIC HAND extends his/her fingers, that means the puppet chorus’ arms should also be in the air above their heads.  Remember, there is no right or wrong....the puppet chorus just move as each of them believes the MAGIC HAND is asking them to.  
--ask participants to find a partner. Then, each pair is to connect to another pair., making groups of 4; have participants number themselves from 1, 2, 3, and 4 in each group
--ask all number 1's to go to one corner; 2's to another; 3's to the third corner; and 4's to the fourth corner of the room, all facing into the centre of the room.
--ask one person from each group to come to the centre, and turn around to face his/her group. [Note: the 4 reps will be with their backs to each other, each facing their groups].  They are to practice being the Magic Hand with their group.  Signal for the Magic Hands to change soon, so that many people get a quick chance to be the Magic Hand.  Once several people have tried this, it is time to set up the actual exercise...
--Divide participants into two groups. Decide which group is to watch first; which group will work first. 
--PERFORMING GROUP (PUPPETS/CHORUS): stand near the far end of the room. Bunch up, close, but not touching, facing the audience group.
--AUDIENCE GROUP: sit at the other end of the room opposite the performers, facing them, but well away from the wall behind you, leaving a space of about 2 metres behind you.  The people who will become The Magic Hands come from the audience group!
--INSTRUCTOR: have someone from the audience group stand in the space behind the audience, between the audience group and the wall, facing the puppet chorus.  This person will be the first MAGIC HAND puppeteer. 
♫  NOTE:  Add slow, gentle music, which is the signal for the Magic Hand to begin.  [I used selections from DramaSound  MOODS 2012, WORLD THRILLER, KALEIDOSCOPE I, & COLOURS 2].
--Each time the instructor calls “CHANGE  the MAGIC HAND” (over the music), a new MAGIC HAND puppeteer will come from the audience group to replace the Magic Hand puppeteer standing behind them.
--Once several Magic Hand puppeteers have worked, have groups change places and roles.
CONTEXTUALIZINGà puppets can represent emotions, ideas, elements, animals, etc., and Magic Hands can be given (or decide) on themes, emotions, etc. that they wish to elicit from their chorus group.
CONTEXTS:  SOCIAL JUSTICE/PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITYà the exercise elicits many aspects of trust, perspective, responsibility to others, sharing, bullying, “listening” to others, ‘democracy’, etc. [if The Magic Hand person is violent, fast, aggressive or ignores the safety rules for his chorus, the chorus will simply ‘mutiny’ and not do what [s]he wants…or…the teacher will quickly ask for a change of Magic Hands, thereby signalling (in both cases) that the behaviour will not be rewarded…it is all about teamwork, and working with/for your chorus!
VARIATIONS:  Participants will come up with an incredible number of variations, some of which are:
a)  TWO MAGIC-HAND controllers-à have chorus number off in pairs (#1 & #2).  There are 2 Magic Hand operators who work behind audience group. One of them works wth #1's; the second with #2's.
b)  TWO CHORUSES, FACING EACH OTHERàMagic Hands stand on chairs behind each chorus, and are responsible for the chorus opposite them. Should some members of one line of puppets cross over into or through the other line of puppets, they must join that group [it means that it is possible to end up with one or two puppets in one line, and a large group of puppets in the other...
An extraordinarily effective Lecoq framework, this movement exercise allows instructors to work with a very large group of participants by dividing them up into smaller groups of 5-7 people/group.
It is a quick, no-fail way of demonstrating: the power of movement to connect us with our surrounding environment; of how we  need only to observe deeply and to reflect our surroundings to be dynamic choreographers, directors and/or actor/movers; of how we really DO know how to move, communicate, and do so in personal, unique and inevitably creative ways.
PREMISE:  by EXTRACTING the verbs from any action, event, idea, motive, reaction,  the result is: 
a)  EDUCATIONALLY:   a clear, concise, workable framework from which to learn, understand, dialogue, review the material 
b)  PERFORMANCE:  a dynamic, dramatic "TEXT" for translating the verbs into physical theatre, movement, poetry, a story, or a combined art form,.
Extracting and defining the action verbs may be done: all together, with the instructor; in groups; or individually. EXAMPLE: ...brushing our teeth [Lecoq used this example to show how even the most banal actions can provide highly dramatic, dynamic sources for performance]. Have participants work through the idea with you in gesture.  Here is the list of possible verbs that would emerge:

-REACH (...for the tube-huge stretch)
-GRAB or SNATCH the tube ("take" would be a dull verb)
-YANK...the tube..( "bring" is nondescriptive)
-TWIST ( the cap)
-SQUEEZE (...the toothpaste out)
-OOZE (..what the toothpaste does)
-SCRUB (...the teeth)
-GARGLE (..or swish)
Explain that for a group to translate these verbs into action, the actual movements will not be just gestures, but  full body movements
Here, below, is the KEY to turning gesture into full body movements....
THE BIG SWITCH!!  FLIPPING THE IMAGE FROM “DOER” TO “DONE TO”. MIME /GESTURE vs. FULL-BODY MOVEMENTS. In order to extend the movements beyond the everyday gesture, the mime aspect of the image (e.g.. how do we change "reach" from the gesture into an "abstract", full-body movement?), think of the image from the point of view of the "DONE TO" (here, the TOOTHPASTE TUBE) rather that the "DOER" (the hand reaching). 
--For demonstrating this very dramatically, have participants go back to the SWISH or GARGLE moment.  Have them do the mouth gesture; then , on a count of three, have them all, still sitting down, do what is happening to the toothpaste.  BE the toothpaste, the “DONE TO”-- much more exciting movements than the what the mouth is doing...
--KINETIC ROLEPLAY is really what this switch is all about: by becoming the 'acted upon', we can perform the world around us, and see things from "OTHER" points of view.

CREATING A VERB CHAIN [for education or performance]:
--Divide participants into groups of  5. Young children will likely all work together with the teacher to pull out a list and then likely divide into groups of 3 to present.
-- Have the group(s) choose an activity and extract the verbs. Then have them chose the best 5-7 active verbs from the list to turn into movement.
--Once they have the verbs chosen, give them a few minutes to translate the verbs into full body movements. HINTS: to begin with, have all participants do all verbs (avoid the "I'm a cup"--all be the coffee being poured). Students may each do an individual translation of the verbs, or they may decide to do a collective one--they will likely use both options before they are finished.. Also, there are to be no "humans"--they are all kinetic roleplaying as elements being moved...
--Once work is close to being ready, remind the groups that they should have the following:
1) a beginning or opening tableau (starting point in "statues") and a clear ending.
2) be able to tell you what kind of mood they wish to communicate--or feel that their new performance piece transmits. You need this information in order to PROVIDE THEM WITH MUSIC which agrees with and supports their desired mood.
3) ask them to TITLE their work--unrelated to their source. They will see that their movement work will not (nor should it, if they are escaping the gesture factor) look anything like the original.
♫  NOTE: ADD INSTRUMENTAL MOOD-BASED MUSIC at the moment of PRESENTING/SHARING the work: remind students that they do not need to keep time to the music, but rather let it support them (and the music is created for this—it is based on moods, rather than rhythms).  At IDEA, I used DramaSounds KALEIDOSCOPE I & II, MOODS 2012, DANCE FUSION, WORLD THRILLER
--Once the groups are ready to present their work, ask what their desired mood is (they have already chosen a 1-2 word description). If the class is large, two or three groups may need to present simultaneously. ---In this case, ask for groups whose mood is dark or gloomy; the next round may be of groups whose work is upbeat, hopeful; then try a random variation, etc.
--Have several pieces of music ready which will SUPPORT the desired mood.
--After each group of students present their work, ask them to LIST THEIR VERBS. Ask why they chose the verbs they did. Review which verbs were left out (in this way the whole process is being reviewed after each presentation.
MIX-'N-MATCH...there are several ways of doing this...
a) Combining groups:  have two groups come up work together (usually one group has a tighter, more closed-in beginning, while other group has a more open beginning stance...
b)  Combining one (or 2) people from each of 4-5 groups, randomly...
In each case, instructions are that the group or individual is to repeat their work/pattern as closely as possible to the original, but being aware that:...they may need to temporarily halt a movement for their or others' safety...are working with others--take them into account...
♫  NOTE: ADD INSTRUMENTAL MOOD-BASED MUSIC that is different in tone from what the groups originally had...they are to work with, or fight against, or play with (or combinations according to how they feel) the music, but again--they do not try and "keep time" to it!
--NOTE for performances:  the first presentations tend to be circular, but that can alter. Verbs can be 'staggered', as in singing rounds, so that different people begin with different verbs...Also, have students do either different verbs, or find differing ways of doing the verbs they've with the different verbs as if they were different steps or scenes or dialogue...
--NOTE for education [and performance]: once the main verbs/images/actions have been set, you can deepen the teaching (or the performance) by returning to the source of the work, and work on specificity, extensions, lead-ins, etc.
This is an example of layering onto the basic framework idea of extracting elements from a source[events, or verbs, for example] in order to further explore, analyze, review, and create a personal and collective response
FRAMEWORK IDEA:  Based on the ancient symbol systems of writing used by many ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Mayans, to name just a few, and our present day symbols for indicating traffic rules, locations, activities, etc., we chose the following series of simple, clear symbols:

NOTE:  If the symbols are copied onto clear acetates, it allows for far more 'interpretation' than regular card stock paper.
TRANSLATING SOURCES INTO SYMBOLS: any source material can be translated into a written message through simple symbols used to present all or part of the material. In effect, the symbols work as hieroglyphics.
TRANSLATING SYMBOLS INTO MOVEMENT:  The hieroglyphics framework not only provides a way to explore, express, and deepen understanding of any material at hand, it becomes the foundation—indeed, it is the actual ‘text’-- for using movement as an integral part of the learning enrichment.
SOURCE:  Track 6 from the DramaSound narrative CD, THE AZTECS, we used the myth of darkness and lightà the story of the twin brothers, the gods Bird Snake [Quetzalcoatl] and Smoking Mirror [Texcatlipoca].
--Let the groups listen to the myth once or twice
--Explain to the groups that they are members of an Aztec tribe, and that this myth is central to their faith and their culture.
--EXODUSà Once they have heard the myth, explain that the groups have realized they must leave their land. It is urgent that they do so, but before they go, they will leave behind evidence of their existence and of their culture for those that come after them.
--Give each group a set of symbols (groups may choose to use only some of them).  These are the signs through which they will ‘write’ their myth.  Explain that where and how they choose to display them is part of the message…
--Give groups 7-10 minutes to arrange the symbols.  [Tip: if anyone wants clarification, or states that (s)he ‘doesn’t understand’, then simply repeat the directions. You may want to add that “just like the Egyptians, Assyrians, and many other cultures, you will use these symbols to translate your myth for future generations…”.   After a few minutes of general angst…the groups will simply start to work
--DESCENDANTSà Once the 7-10 minutes are up, ask the groups to stand, and step back from their symbols.  Explain that they are to turn their backs on them, which signifies their leave taking.
--Groups are to move clockwise, to place themselves in front of the next symbols grouping.  As they move, tell them that they are to imagine that 1000 years are passing.  They are to imagine themselves as the descendants of the original peoples, and they have heard the myth as it has been told to them through generations.
--They are now on a journey back, to honour their ancestors, and to see the message that was left by their ancestors..
--REDISCOVERYà When the groups arrive clockwise at the next set of symbols to them, they are to imagine that this is the site and message that their ancestors left for them.  They will notice that it is not exactly the same message that they had been toldà it has altered over time…
--The groups are to study the ‘found’ message, to see how/what/why their ancestors wroteà they are to decipher the myth.
--MOVEMENT RITUALà Once the groups have deciphered the ‘found’ myths, they are to prepare a ritual celebration, to honour their ancestors and their myth by recreating the myth as a movement ceremony.  The symbols are the ‘text’ they are to follow.  All participants must be part of the ritual.
♫  ADD INSTRUMENTAL, RITUALISTIC MUSIC appropriate for ritual as each group presents/shares its work.  I would have used examples from MOODS 2012, TEXTURES, KALEIDOSCOPE 1, RIVERS & MOUNTAINS, COLOURS 1, ELEMENTS.
--SHARING OF RITUALSà ♫ ADD MUSIC just as each group presents.
--REFLECTION/DISCUSSION:  you will want to discuss: a) each group’s deciphering of ‘found’ messages and b) compare them to the ‘original’ group’s ideas.
-- The same discussion may be had of the movement rituals, with participants explaining how and why they translated each symbol, and their significance.  It will be interesting to see both similarities and differences in the “translations.”
NOTE:  using symbols to translate lends itself to discussions of perception, communication, meaning, messages, the importance of ‘being understood’, of the fact that what may seem meaningless to one person, or group of people, may have great significance to another…it is therefore particularly useful for work on equity, recognizing prejudices, building empathy, putting yourself “in another’s shoes,” etc.
[♪ ] = uses music