HotHouse Intensive: Corporal Sequence

The HotHouse Intensive is a deep dive into the acting methodologies of Blanka Zizka and the Wilma HotHouse Company.  HotHouse practice is grounded in the Method of Theodoros Terzopoulos and focuses on fostering embodied acting through exercises that draw actors out of their heads and into their bodies.  For information on our Summer Intensive, click here.

Temple University Musical Theater BFA student José Raúl Mangual took part in a HotHouse Intensive this winter. He documented the experience through daily reflections and photos that will be shared as blog posts as we prepare for the Summer Intensive.

HotHouse Intensive Day 1 (2/27/18)

First day!

“We just had our introduction to the Corporal Sequence. I feel…eager to learn and explore the method…once I am familiar, of course.”

We started the day with the Corporal Sequence. Justin Jain, HotHouse ensemble member, co-instructor for this intensive and leader of this exercise has trained in Greece with Theodoros Terzopoulos himself. The sequence begins with all members of the ensemble standing in a circle with individual feet together and parallel, knees bent, and hands across the diaphragm: back of hands facing the circle and thumbs touching, bridging the belly button and forming a downward-pointing triangle. Our breath was to be sent to that triangle on every inhale, and every exhale originated from that same space.

I must note the novelty (relative to American culture) and intrigue of, as an approximation of Justin’s words, “allowing breath to fill down past the belly button into the perineum, genitals, anus.” I see the Corporal Sequence as a biome of discovery, at risk of sounding extravagant. The movements are varying degrees of natural, ranging from seemingly primordial human to contemporary human movement.

Blanka Zizka and HotHouse Intensive students (José Raúl Mangual)

One of the primary focuses of the practice includes connecting to the ensemble. Instead of trying to understand how I would connect to the ensemble, I decided (- insisted, as I would later come to understand -) upon simply moving in tandem with the ensemble. The manifestation of this insistence was connecting via soft focus – a focus-blur, like a camera, as if looking either very close to my face or very far away. (I speak conceptually; I am uncertain as to which, if either.) From this experience onward, (except for moments of insecurity where I would question the validity of this discovery) I knew I was connected to the ensemble. Not everyone was connected to each other, with varying degrees of “disconnection”, and in these moments I defaulted to either defer to Justin, co-leader of the intensive and unspoken “leader” of the corporal sequence, (one goal of the training is to breathe, move, start, and stop across the ensemble as one entity) or to enter a milieu between the tempo extremes. These adaptations to the “imperfections” of the ensemble arose subconsciously, out of pure necessity for and insistence upon uniformity of tempo.

I ended the first day feeling lighter on my feet and longer in my spine; unencumbered. From a physical diagnostic, I imagine the feeling came from:

  • Breathing in a manner more conducive to oxygenation
  • Focused, intensive release of unnecessary muscular tension
  • Focus on efficiency of movement (muscular activation)

Click here to read more about José Raúl Mangual

Explore and be a part of the Wilma’s HotHouse Summer Intensive this June.