“A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged” Peter Brook
FRANKI is presently the artistic director of ‘The Empty Space’ a theatre research studio currently based in Cornwall, which is dedicated to exploring the ‘art of being’ in a theatrical context. Workshops provide the space, time and facilitators for people to undertake their fools’ journeys in a safe and supportive environment.
The empty space is the studio in which my artist creates, cleared and free from the distractions of the normal doings of life. Plen an gwarry (Cornish) Temenos (Greek), meaning “play space.” Within this space, we are free to explore and experiment with what is present. When I enter this space, my thoughts and actions shift from the ordinary world to a world where they are free and the work/play/art becomes the focus.
This environment can be a physical space, as in a rehearsal space, an artist’s studio, or a mental space, such as a state of mind dedicated to poetry or writing this explanation. This space can be imagined, in many ways. The artists empty space is a blank canvas, a writers their paper, a dancer the physical space, and the player the stage on which to play out ideas in form and content. It is a magical place, a haven from the clatter and clutter of the world, a retreat in which to process life’s mysteries through my craft into a work of art.
Play is the energy that enables us to create, it brings concentration, allows us to enjoy practising our craft until it becomes a skill, it is love in action as Stephen Nachmanovitch says in his book: Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art “…the prerequisites of creation are playfulness, love, concentration, practice, skill, using the power of limits, using the power of mistakes, risk, surrender, patience, courage and trust.” Play is that feeling of enjoyment I feel, even when I have played a harrowing scene, ‘full of sound and fury’, when I am totally absorbed and fully present, for no other reason but the act itself.
The core work consists of games, movement and exercises designed to give participants the ability to enjoy being in front of a friendly audience and playing their dramas freely without fear. In doing so they create a spoken and physical theatre, in and of the moment, that is at the same time both very ancient and totally modern.
Participants have an opportunity to both see and be part of some extraordinary theatre, sharing laughter and tears.
Although the focus of this work is theatrical, it is not just for professional performers. After all we all perform in our daily lives, and what is the world if not a stage?
Anyone can benefit and people working this way report:
A sense of being real and in touch with their feelings
An under standing of the nature of fear and how to work with it
An enhanced natural self-confidence
An ability to communicate clearly