An ensemble practice workshop in Live Sound Action offered by Eliza Ladd

(This workshop / training can range from being one 3 hour session to being a multiple day or week long artist residency)    (Material developed at Earthdance, T. Schreiber Studio, Naropa University and in performance practice) (Examples of Performance see Elephants and Gold, Bucket and Stick, Chicken Man, on est deshabille, a comedy about death)

Rooted in sculpture and percussion and developed through the sensibility of the actor, Live Sound Action is a multi-disciplinary form for composition, choreography, sound design, and the writing of original performance.

— Play, improvise and compose experimental physical, visual, and aural performance — locating the human animal as a part of nature in the mandala field of theatrical space.

— Work with objects, develop percussive sensitivity, practice solo and ensemble composition, sing/sound, move, and create with presence, dirt, and image.

— Compose with imagination, develop kinesthetic, aural, and spatial awareness, see the music, hear the painting, and mark the ground with rhythmic song

‘Mandala means a protected environment, a realm where the mind is free to manifest its highest imagination.’  ‘. . The mandala represents a paradise, a divine universe, the home of a god.  Seen more deeply, it symbolizes the divine nature of our own world’  – Rand Castile, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Live Sound Action:  Training, Process, Curriculum

Based on direct in the moment meeting between performer and object or substance, Live Sound Action engages the performer in actions of labor  – carrying, digging, washing – with ordinary objects – buckets, bamboo sticks, sheets of paper, piles of dirt.  Images and forms that are physical, aural, visual, and emotional arise and act as seeds of epic storytelling.

Rooted in sculpture and percussion and developed through the sensibility of the actor, Live Sound Action is a multi-disciplinary form of composition, choreography, sound design, and embodied writing of original performance.

The ensemble play of Live Sound Action exists at both ends of the continuum of Neutral Mask and Naked Clown Presence, approaching archetypal body and object as a way of locating the human animal, and the individual, as a part of Nature in the theatrical space.

Live Sound Action offers both individual and ensemble a way to discover theatrical language, to unleash the poetry of objects, and to create character, text, story, and original performance.  It integrates contemplative practice and composition, exploring maps of space and unearthing venue for the complex human instrument of sound, body, emotion, and history.

In a progression of training we develop theatrical awareness and imagery (including movement, song, text, sound, and choreography) through improvisational process and ensemble inquiry.

Object in Space (Red Square – Dharma Art, (a training initiated by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and passed on to me through Barbara Dilley) An integration of contemplative and compositional ways of seeing, a process of allowing image / story to arise in time and space, the theatrical space, and in the mind of the viewer. First we see and experience, and then we deal with When and Where to move something, What to add or change, and How we make the change) (objects are chosen for their elemental, percussive, and atavistic qualities)

Body with Object in Space (in stillness, activating shape and location, and then multiple body and object, and variations of spatial form -in corridors, in quadrants, in clump)

Sound Making with Objects (developing percussive sensitivity, usually explored with closed eyes at first, working with touch and tangibility – how do you handle this object? What are its voices? We play as a whole group playing similar objects i.e. bamboo sticks, buckets with dirt, and then an orchestra of numerous objects i.e. paper, chain, rocks, and bucket, cultivating listening, timing, rhythm, repetition, influence, and sound composition)

Body in Space with Sounding of Objects (usually relatively still at first, raising the image of Body position and shape with object, and then sound play / composition, working in different spatial structures – corridors, near / far, and then activating location, and change of location)

Sound and Movement with Object (discovering ways of moving with object that create a whole being of sound, movement, and object, creating seed phrases that activate rhythm, repetition, and, as in nature, play with variation and responsivity to the larger whole, the emergence of emotional communication through sound and movement)

Activating the Voice (sound, chant, song, wail, murmur, mumble, animal, imaginary language, known language, character, another ingredient to accompany the rest)

Composing with Seeds (juxtaposing and intertwining numbers of images, sound/movement/object characters / phrases, spatial paths and dynamics to create dance, music, story – performance)

Live Sound Action has emerged out of my work in a diverse range of disciplines including: sculpture, percussion, Viewpoints, Red Square, Zen Buddhism, Red Nose Clown, Body Dynamics, Developmental Movement, Body Mind Centering, Capoeira, Grotowski (psycho-physical acting), Linklater Voice, Moment Work, The Art of the Song, and Improvisation.

A fundamentally sensual process – one of touch, shape, tangibility, and vibration, Live Sound Action transports the act of storytelling to a place beyond the intellect, locating it in the underbelly. Story or meaning emerges from dynamic play between the viewer’s mind / the audience, the theatrical space / the actor, and the atavistic qualities of the objects chosen.  By invoking Rhythm, Repetition, Responsivity, and Relationship we develop multi-disciplinary imagery that plays on the psyche of the viewer. In a process that cultivates awareness and activates presence, we create work that is cosmological in that it attempts to locate the self in the larger world.

cosmology: 1: a branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of the universe 2: a branch of astronomy that deals with the origin, structure, and space-time relationships in the universe

This work investigates questions of our place in the natural order of things, enlightenment as evolutionary development, the theatrical space as a place of transmission, and the current state of affairs of human being-ness — Telling stories and storytelling both contemporary and reaching way back into human origin.

Standing in the center place at once grounded and uplifted – above and below, before and behind, all the ten thousand directions

Agricultural Body / Nomadic Group / Human as Species / Archeological Dig / Geological Time / Evolutionary Movement  / Trade Routes  / Mark Making / Palimpsest / Landscape / Spiritual Geography / Urban Complexity / Listen / Access / Exchange Between Object and Being