A powerful tool for personal and social transformation
In Action Theater, language, voice and movement are valued equally for their capacity to express and communicate meaning. Come experience this unique approach to physical theater improvisation created by master improviser Ruth Zaporah. The focus is on being fully present, because how you do something often conveys more than what you are actually doing. The skills taught in the classes - listening and responding, empathy, spontaneity, and a widened expressive range are just as valuable in everyday life as they are in the studio.
Expanding your options
We are constantly playing roles in our everyday lives - as hero or scapegoat, as helper or taskmaster, as rebel or peacemaker - etc. When we identify our sense of self through those limited roles, we narrow our range of possibilities and get stuck in habitual thoughts and responses. Action Theater invites students to embrace a broader, more complex and nuanced sense of self. The classes provides a safe setting for students to develop new options for listening and responding that are more authentic, open and satisfying.
A typical class
Class time is divided into three sections - a physical and vocal warm up, a progression of exercises which focus on specific skills, and a performance score. Between exercises, there are opportunities to reflect and exchange feedback with a partner or the larger group. Students are not limited to playing fixed roles or creating realistic scenes, so images which are abstract or dream-like can exist side by side with more realistic ones.
Body and emotion
Even when our minds race ahead, our bodies ground us in the present. Action Theater helps students develop physical and emotional awareness by tuning into the details of sensation and feeling in each moment. Students learn to go beyond their fixed ideas about “what is happening” in a scene and respond in ways that are less habitual and reactive. Through exercises which integrate language, voice and movement students develop a congruency between physical and verbal communication which enables them to know and express themselves more accurately.
Life is unpredictable
Like it or not, we can’t make the people and the world around us more safe or predictable. For many this creates stress. We often try to hold on to the good stuff and avoid the bad stuff by closing ourselves off to the natural flow of events and emotions. Action Theater improvisation teaches students to become more comfortable with changing circumstances and to respond with creativity and flexibility. By learning to act more spontaneously students expand their capacity to embrace the unknown and to relax, even in the face of uncertainty.
MFTs & LCSWs - Many Action Theater Bay Area classes meet the BBS requirement for CEUs (#PCE5166)