is Physical Theatre?
Physical theatre is a catch-all
term used to describe any mode of performance that pursues
storytelling through primarily physical means. There are
several quite distinct traditions of performance which
all describe themselves using the term "physical
theatre", which has led to a lot of confusion as
to what the definition of physical theatre actually is.
The term "Physical
theatre" has been applied to performances
consisting mainly of:
Theatrical Clowning and other physical comedy
Some forms of puppetry
While performances based around all of the above could
equally claim to be "Physical Theatre",
the key distinguising factor is a focus on narrative,
character and storytelling. However, it is often difficult
to draw a distinct boundary between what is and what is
not physical theatre, and distinctions are often made
quite arbitrarily by critics and performing companies.
Modern Physical Theatre has grown
from a variety of origins. Mime and theatrical clowning
schools such as L'Ecole Jaques Lecoq in Paris have had
a big influence on many modern expressions of physical
theatre, and practitioners such as Steven Berkoff and
John Wright received their initial training at such institutions.
Eastern European practitioners have also had a strong
influence on modern physical theatre, and both Vsevolod
Meyerhold and Jerzy Grotowski are regarded by many as
"fathers" of modern physical theatre. Contemporary
Dance has also had a strong influence on what we regard
as physical theatre, partly because most physical theatre
requires actors to have a level of physical control and
flexibility rarely found in those who do not have some
sort of dance background. Modern physical theatre also
has strong roots in more ancient traditions such as Commedia
dell'arte and some suggest links to the ancient Greek
theatre - particularly the theatre of Aristophanes
Modern physical theatre
companies and practitioners in Britain include, but are
by no means limited to:
Artistic Director Simon McBurney studied under Jaques
Trestle, famous for their "mask
Told by an Idiot co-founded by John Wright who also studied
under Jaques Lecoq
DV8 a physical theatre company with very
strong contemporary dance roots.
A good place to see excellent eastern-european physical
theatre companies without travelling to Eastern Europe
is at the Edinburgh Fringe - particularly at Aurora Nova@St
Stephen’s, a fringe venue found in St Stephens church.
- © The Wikipedia Website. 2006
Useful Physical Theatre links:
Physical Theatre Company
of Physical Theatre
Academy of Music& Dramatic Art
SOON!!! Blackfish Academy Production...
Blackfish Academy Junior Physical Theatre Workshop...
is Contemporary Dance?