For a few years now, Jan Fabre has also been training some of his most experienced performers (Cedric Charron, Annabelle Chambon, Ivana Jozic, Kasper Vandenberghe, and Marina Kaptijn) to teach these ‘guidelines’.
In workshops and master classes lasting several days, the performer’s body becomes an instrument which examines and embodies the transition from act to acting. The imagination and physical awareness are gradually sharpened and the performer is challenged to build a bridge towards a state of physical transformation.
GUIDELINES FOR A PERFORMER IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Just like figures such as Stanislavski, Meyerhold, and Grotowski, throughout his career, Jan Fabre has put together a set of ‘exercises’ which he uses to prepare his performers (his actors and dancers) to work on stage. These ‘Guidelines for a performer in the 21st century’ have developed into the basis of his teaching and find specific expression in his work.
The series of exercises focuses on systematically refining and optimising the quest for the potential of the physical acting (also known as ‘physiological’ acting). The exploration of the evocative imagination of the ‘body as a whole’ is a leitmotif here. In exercises with titles such as ‘the old man’, ‘the tiger’, ‘the insect’, or ‘rice paper/fire’, it’s neither the imitation nor the psychological aspect which takes centre stage, but the exploration of the physical potential of the transforming body. Here, Fabre attaches great importance to breathing, the use of explosive energy, and the articulations of head, torso, and limbs. A lot of input is drawn from the kinetics of cold and warm-blooded animals.
FROM ACT TO ACTING
The contemporary performer unites performance, theatre, and dance. Fabre always looks for physical impulses in and on the bodies of his performers and stimulates them to act on stage on the basis of those ‘real’ physical sensations. Fabre uses the expression ‘from act to acting’ to describe that process: the real physical impact (tension, pain stimulus, exhaustion, etc.)