Just Keep Digging

31 October 2012

Recently, I attended a theatre workshop hosted by the DIGCollective and I can safely say it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

Comprised of Alex Talamo, Michael Fee, Dana McMillan, David Harris, Tim Sneddon, Grace Cumming and Josh Lynzaat, the DIG Collective is a Melbourne based theatre collective that last year won Short+Sweet with a work called, simply, DIG. Throughout 2012, they have been working at developing a method for creating new and exciting performances by devising works using improvisation and clowning.

At the workshop, the DIG Collective ran us through various activities and games, working on four main performance areas: improvisation, physicality, voice, and presence. Each of these was attacked in fun and accessible ways. Improvisation and physicality were explored alongside one another, and we were motivated to find our personal physical tropes, and practice improvisation within limitations—something far easier than being thrown up on stage and being told to ‘improvise’.

One thing that DIG emphasises is that there is a beauty in what one’s body can do, and what one’s body cannot do. Finding these limitations and dwelling in them is a positive way to think about performance, especially when it comes to the increasingly physical theatre in which we were to partake later.

The highlight of the workshop was a particular performance game called ‘Look At Me’. In order to work on stage presence, two people at a time were asked to get up and perform, ensuring that the audience was looking solely at them. However, the performers had the limitation of being able to say only, “look at me!” What became evident was that there were two ways one could take this: one could either be incredibly loud and move all over the place in every direction at once, or say nothing and look intensely at… anything. It was fascinating watching the two styles, and watching nonsensical stories unfold as the actors improvised, doing whatever they felt impelled to do. When members of the DIG Collective partook in the exercise, one could see that in using these physical theatre methods for 12 months, they were well practiced at creating dynamic, funny and ridiculous scenes without any words at all.

An exciting and talented group, the DIG Collective is performing in the Melbourne Fringe Festival for 2012. If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend you check out their show!

The DIG Collective is performing in the Melbourne Fringe Festival from 6—13 October at The Lithuanian Club Ballroom in North Melbourne.

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