THE JOURNEY OF THE NEUTRAL MASK IN NATURE


May 31st  →  June 5th, 2021 – Cansiglio Forest – Veneto, ITALY

dates to be confirmed

The Journey in Nature, Pedagogic Training, HELIKOS 2019


The Neutral Mask is one of the most precious gifts that we have received from the research and practice of theater masks within the lineage of Jacques Copeau, Suzanne Bing, Jean Dasté, Jacques Lecoq and Amleto Sartori, just to name some key names of the story.
The Neutral Mask is a fundamental step in the journey of Movement Based Theatre. It is a mask that doesn’t have any dramatic expression,  it exists before all other theatre masks.
It emerged from poetic and pedagogic questions like these:

Is there a mask that can train the actor to reach the physical state of engaged presence that is necessary in order to play all other masks?

Is there a mask that can prepare the poetic body to the process of shape-shifting and form-shifting that character play requires?

Is there a mask that can teach the actor not only to create space and time, but to become space and time?

What is the body saying while the actor is trying to not say anything?

Sartori’s Neutral Mask, HELIKOS 2011

The Neutral Mask is a powerful pedagogic instrument. It inspires a fascinating learning process, profoundly poetic, both intimate and collective. It allows the actor to explore the difference between movement and drama, between body and character.



No-body is neutral. Each person is “moved” by a variety of physical events: postures, attitudes, emotional patterns impressed in physical dynamics, rhythms, characters, archetypes… Within each person’s movement and presence in space, there is a web of “non-neutral attitudes”, that resonate like physical and emotional “background noises”. If observed through the reference of the Neutral State, this web appears like paintings/markings on a white sheet. They are “dramatic” in the etymological sense.

They contain a drama: an action.

Twelve Twigs, Chris Kenny, 2020


Thanks to an enhanced  physical awareness, the actor-player can let go of their physical persona in order to touch the Neutral State: a state of embodied presence, available to the here and now of theatrical space, aware of the infinite possibilities of creating physical characters, all based on variations from neutrality.
The Neutral State has no past and no future, no memory and no projects. No previous experience of events and no projection of future outcomes. It exists in the fullness of the present moment.
The Neutral Mask reveals the state of calm that exists before the drama of the character, and it manifests the expressive potential of the Poetic Body in space.
As the color white in the words of Kandinsky, it is “the silence before the beginning”.

NATURE AS THE TEACHER

The Journey in Nature, Pedagogic Training, HELIKOS 2019



This lineage of practitioners not only left us this unique mask, but also a set of exercises and a training vision for the moving theatre artist. In particular, Jaques Lecoq developed “the Journey of the Neutral Mask in Nature”. Starting in the sea, the journey goes trough different landscapes: the beach, the forest, the mountain, the river and finally the plains. Each of these landscapes teaches specific movement dynamics, rhythms, duration and crescendo. Usually these themes are explored through improvisation in a theatre studio, relying on the physical and dynamic memory of the actors and the audience. But in order to return to the essence of these themes, an actual experience in the real Nature can refresh and remind us the extraordinary details of this journey.


All classes of the workshop will happen in nature and the cycle of observation, identification, mimesis and transposition will be practiced with the powerful support of nature itself. Learning verticality and grounding from the tree, learning the undulation from the sea, the suspension from the air, accents from the fire and so on.
The landscape is a dynamic symphony of movements.
The poetic body of the actor/player learns to become what they see and in this becoming, the individual persona is transposed into the collective body of humanity.
Once the actor has discovered the neutral space, he becomes like “a white page, ready to be written on in the future dramas“ (Jacques Lecoq).

The Journey in Nature,
Pedagogic Training, HELIKOS 2019


PRACTICALITIES

ADMISSION
This workshop is addressed to theatre practitioners with previous experiences in movement based theatre and in the Pedagogy of Jaques Lecoq.

LOCATION
The training will be residential. Participants will lodge in the town of TAMBRE (BL), Italy. All classes will happen outdoor, on locations along the northern Adriatic Sea and in the CANSIGLIO Forest, Italy.

https://www.cansiglio.it/
https://www.prolocofregona.it/en/cansiglio-forest/
Tambre on google maps
Oasi Vallevecchia di Brussa on Google Maps
https://www.caorle.eu/en/discover/the-top-10-attractions-in-caorle/la-brussa-oasis


The Journey in Nature, Pedagogic Training, HELIKOS 2019

SCHEDULE

DAY 1: The group will gather in Padova at the HELIKOS STUDIO, Via Monte Solarolo 16, PADOVA, ITALY.
After a stop at the VENICE AIRPORT, the group will reach the Adriactic Sea, at the Oasi Vallevecchia di Brussa.
Day 2, 3, 4 and 5 will happen in the Cansiglio Forest
Day 6: last class and return to Padova with a stop at the Venice airport.Participants can organize their travel in order to be on the first day either in Padova at 9 am or at Venice airport at 10:30 am. Alternatively, participants who wish to travel with their own car, can meet at the departing point, at the Oasi Vallevecchia di Brussa. Detailed travel information will be provided.

   
HOW TO APPLY

There is no application form. To apply please email a letter of motivation Please include in your letter a short bio and your experience with movement-based theatre.
Please send your application to giovanni.fusetti@helikos.com
Once accepted, to confirm the enrollment, a deposit of EURO 200 is due.Please note that the deposit is non-refundable, unless the workshop is cancelled due to force majeure
Once the application is accepted, spots in the class will be given in the order the application was received. The class will be confirmed as soon as it reaches 8 participants. Once 10 participants will be confirmed, the workshop is full, and a waiting list will be created.



A SAFETY MESSAGE IN TIMES OF PANDEMICS

The training will happen in the rigorous respect of the anti-Covid regulations of Regione Veneto (social distancing, face masks indoor if the safety distance cannot be maintained, frequent hand sanitizing, sanitizing of surfaces).
All participants will have to agree in engaging with these rules.
The Neutral Masks will not be shared and each participant will only use the same mask throughout the workshop.
Given the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus global crisis, the training will be confirmed ONLY if the Italian scenario will allow the safety necessary to travel and to practice in compliance with the health regulations. The final decision will be taken no later than May 15th 2021. In case of cancellation, all paid deposit and tuition will be refunded.

We are aware that at the moment, March 2021, there are extensive travel restrictions in place for visitors wishing to come to Italy. You can find the most up to date information on this website of the Italian Ministry of Health.
Also, some countries have established travel restrictions towards Italy. You can check your own foreign office to verify what are the travel advice and requirements.
We are aware that these restrictions will make impossible for many to join the training.
We are sad about this and we will organize these workshops again in the future.

 
TUITION
The tuition includes the training and half board for 5 nights at Agriturismo Cansiglio.
http://www.cansiglio.eu/en/accommodation/agriturismo.
The half board includes single room, breakfast and dinner. Double room is available on request. Participants will be responsible for preparing their lunch pack.
Tuition: 620 euro


Learning the undulation from the Sea, Helikos, 2010

APPLICATION DEADLINE : May 1st, 2020.
No applications will be accepted after this date.
During these times of pandemics it is very difficult to plan ahead. This is the reason why both the info about this workshop and the deadline to enroll, come to you with very short notice. Carpe diem, Seize the day. Once the workshop will be confirmed, participants will receive a message containing further practical details about the training, as well as the details of the safety anti-covid regulations that the group will have to comply with.
 
LANGUAGE
The workshop will be taught in ENGLISH and a basic understanding of this language is required.
 
 
INFORMATION AND APPLICATIONS

For further information about the content of the workshop and for applications, please contact Giovanni Fusetti at