Important Disclaimer: I do not endorse (or recommend) Komunitas Salihara’s Stanislavski class, please read my post here: https://miadjojowasito.com/2016/11/14/important-disclaimer-maria-djojowasito-does-not-endorse-the-stanislavski-class-at-komunitas-salihara/
I do not want my name associated with this community in any capacity and wish to distance myself from Komunitas Salihara and the Stanislavski class. This is not an acting class, this was run like a pay-to-play programme misleadingly marketed as a ‘class’, which was run in a disability-unfriendly environment that is not safe for women:
This week we start rehearsing, first time is Prologue and Scene 1, and I’m just learning what butoh is (class manager and teacher suggested it as reference). I still have no idea what it is—I don’t have a clear concept of it yet and I’m not sure I am understanding what I’m reading yet, really.
But this is what I caught my attention when I read the Wikipedia page:
- This desire found form in the early movement of ankoku butō (暗黒舞踏). The term means “dance of darkness”, and the form was built on a vocabulary of “crude physical gestures and uncouth habits… a direct assault on the refinement (miyabi) and understatement (shibui) so valued in Japanese aesthetics.”
- The first butoh piece was “Kinjiki” (Forbidden Colours) by Tatsumi Hijikata.
- There is a general trend toward the body as “being moved,” from an internal or external source, rather than consciously moving a body part. A certain element of “control vs. uncontrol” is present through many of the exercises.
When some people overheard the class manager saying “butoh”, some people automatically said, “it’s like tai chi” (obviously they’re talking about the slower butoh because some butoh is faster than what I was doing on Sunday and they said it was too fast). But then, after reading a bit online, it’s not really like tai chi (where it looks like the human moves time, space, and energy).
In tai chi the human pushes the circulation if chi, here you’re to create the illusion that the chi controls you (you’re moved because you’ve surrendered to an external or internal force). Of course in reality, you’re always in control. Both require extreme levels of control (I’m going to use this to train myself to become less ADHD, increase my concentation levels so I can watch one MUBI film on one sitting).
I think butoh is appropriate for this play—because it is a grotesque play, especially for Scenes 1 and 2. There’s that line where Elder Sister (the Goneril/Regan hybrid) says, “itu puteri bungsumu: terjelma dari ampas cintamu’ (which sounds disgusting and sort of mirrors the crass description of Edmund’s conception in the original “King Lear”).
When I first read the script, I thought all the dancing would be some sort of Javanese dancing (but not overwhelmingly Balinese like the “Lear Bali” interpretation of “Lear Asia” we saw two weeks ago). Personally, I envisioned Younger Sister (Cordeila) to be a Javanese princess (because in Javanese culture, the silence would be seen as especially rebellious/subversive—I mean it’s a culture where one is expected to respond with “dalem” when called upon by a family elder). I did not expect butoh.
When I learned what butoh is, I was so angry that they almost deprived me of this experience (I could be in my own Kate Bush music video, FFS). I don’t even care what kind of snarkings I get from other students (for daring to ask for the role) during breaks anymore. I would never have forgiven myself if I never asked. And what, they were just going to bench me there? I’m glad I spoke out because that’s just cruel.
Now, not only have a proven that I don’t just want to be a ‘star’, but I’ve proven that I’m not immature in that I’m also wiling to play roles I don’t really want to play: Last Sunday, they asked me to play a child version of Cordelia, which TBH, I loathe doing. I mean, I hate Fifteengate enough for happening and swore I’d exclusively play adults from then on (and I thought it would ever happen again after taking that role in “Makan Malam”, in which I play a mother figure to a grown man a la Fellini film. LMAO). But it happened, and it’s not just an “older minor” (teenager) this time, they want me to play a literal child. FFS. But, hey, I already rejected one role they wanted me to play and I got my way and was allowed to play Cordelia, so now I’ll compromise and agree to play child Cordelia too. I’ve agreed to play a child so I can be an adult in real life. I compromised, like an adult.
Anyway, I was wrong during the first rehearsal because I thought all of Younger Sister’s (Cordelia) dance movements were a substitute to the “so young, my lord, and true” and the “love, and be silent.”
So… I’d mistakenly do an interpretive dance which was a reaction to Raja Lear’s words (I didn’t just mindlessly mime them, FFS! Of course I did interpretaive dance moves based on Cordelia’s view-point). Turns out, Younger Sister is meant to be completely disconnected to to everything else that’s happening in the scene (I’m not sure whether it’s an ‘oblivious’ diconnect or an ‘apathetic’ one, though—I still have lots to think about).
Then, I decided—since this is a play about parental relationships and the Elder Sister’s dialogue deals with conception, I would do a birthing dance and grow like a tree (and since Mother Nature is a ‘shadow’ that accompanies King Lear’s late wife, becoming a part of nature would make logical sense for this play).
So I ask the teacher/director if I can start in fetal position, but he said no (Cordelia is to lay down, hands and feet all relaxed, like how I ended when I did my twisted dying scene on January 31). But then it gave me better dance ideas: Since Cordelia has to have her palm on the floor and feet straight on the floor, as soon as the chanting (cue) starts, the first body parts I’ll move are my palms (with the fingers still touching the floor) and lift my heels (with my toes also still on the floor) so my limbs look like tree roots. And then start growing from there. If the director approves, I’ll start developing an entire choreography (with word cues) just to make sure I’ll be a fully-grown tree by the time Raja Lear puts is mask on.
I’m still the public enemy in class. When I make a teeny-tiny mistake—like if I sit on the wrong spot, I sense angry energy like a heat wave, if that makes sense? People’s faces just turn into stones when I make mistakes. The tolerance level for me making mistakes is very, very low. When I dared to say I found the first rehearsal “exciting”, I think I totally piqued someone’s anger (it comes off extremely obnoxious) and I unintentionally made her snap into a diatribe (twice that day).
My classmates must think I’m some sort of remorseless sociopath with a complete lack of a moral compass or something (but really? Do I really have to tell the real story of what happened on Week 3 that made me justify all of my behaviour? What happened even before any of us had a chance to show what we were capable/incapable of play—do I really have to tell all the details of how I was treated on January 24 that’s making me appear to those-who-don’t-know-the-whole-story like a selfish bitch? There’s a reason why I worked so hard on Cordelia and was so showy in class until the casting date… Whatever. The truth always comes out anyway).
People who know me well enough know I normally wouldn’t behave like this unless I had a good reason (or justification) to. Normally, as soon as I’d realise it had been announced while I was ‘out’ (after crying after my murder scene) I would have took my request back, but I didn’t (and I have my reasons). It’s like people can call me a “cheap shameless famewhore” all they want but the truth is, I walked out of an entire film in 2010 because I was molested by the crew, so it won’t affect me (if I was even only half as shameless as they accuse me of being, I’d be famous by now and they wouldn’t have treated me the way they did). When you know the truth, nothing anyone says can hurt you.
I’ve been practicing slow moves at home since Monday (even after class on Sunday). Like I’d be reading on my bed and I’d try to move my legs around as slowly as I can, or I’ll do my butoh moves to get a glass of water or something.
I’m planning on watching DVDs (one of my former castmates gave me some of her old DVDs) while doing butoh non-stop while I watch. They’re about 90 minutes, I think? Maybe I’ll allow myself about 3–4 breaks (and water) in between.
I had a funny dream on February 9:
Minggu ini aku akan langsung menulis jurnal setelah kelas usai saja karena… Minggu depan aku akan jalan-jalan saat Imlek dan harus menyelesaikan lukisan dan harus juga menulis tentang “Macbeth” untuk blog pribadi (bukan ulasan filem, tapi membicarakan bagaimana filem itu membantu ketenangan batin aku). Biar cepet beres PR-nya dan biar nggak numpuk aja kerjaan… Apalagi habis Imlek cuti aku habis. LMAO.
Jadi PR jurnal mingguan sekalian aku cicil sambil mikirin subteks Puteri Bungsu.
1–5 Februari, 2016: Macbeth, Monty Python, dan Mewarnai
Seperti yang aku janjikan ke diri sendiri, setelah ‘pentas’ kecil minggu lalu beres, aku beneran nonton “Macbeth” di bioskop:
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