ATEC 11th International Forum: Seminar (Unit 2) Held in Beijing

On the afternoon of May 18, Unit 2 of the Seminar of ATEC 11th International Forum was held at the Academic Hall of The Central Academy of Drama, Changping District, Beijing. This unit, themed as ‘Physical Training in the Teaching of Theatre’, was hosted by Professor Lee Song from Chungwoon University (South Korea). Professor Liu Hongmei from The Central Academy of Drama provided her feedbacks.

Ms. Han Xin from The Central Academy of Drama was the first to deliver a speech. In her paper ‘Physical Training in Drama Performances’, she put forward that a performer’s body went through four stages, namely ‘wakening’, ‘developing’, ‘expressing’ and ‘creating’, and that putting a body into the state of ‘zero’ helped it gain infinite possibilities. She also mentioned the ‘neutral mask’ method of training brought up by Jacques Lecoq and emphasized that a performer should have full control and cognition of his or her body.

After that, Mr. Michael Earley from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore talked about ‘Acting Shakespeare in China’. He concluded that there were three kinds of presentations of Shakespeare in China: the first one focused on imitation; the second one was the combination of Chinese traditional opera and the original versions; and the third one was those presented in local accents. He put forward that the best way to test a performer was to put he or she in a Shakespeare. Also, he believed that language was a main problem for acting Shakespeare in China.

Following Mr. Earley was Li Yali, an associate professor from National Academy of Chinese Theatre. In her speech ‘Training of Female Martial Performers in Beijing Opera’, she first gave a brief introduction to the female martial role in Beijing Opera, then elaborated on the focuses of coaching performers of this role, which are ‘martial arts’, ‘skills of handling weapons’, ‘skills of tossing weapons’, ‘brandishing weapons to celebrate victory’. She referred to the performance by a marital actress as “relaxation in high concentration of mind, and skills of high precision”.

Professor Lee Hye Jeong from Chung-Ang University was the last speaker. The title of her paper was ‘Case Study of Creativity Development through the Physical Theatre Class’. According to Professor Lee, this class comprised ‘Improvisatory Acting and Expression’, ‘Text and Characters’ Creation’, ‘Musical Choreography’ for freshmen and sophomores, as well as ‘Method Technique’ and ‘Mask Acting’ for juniors and seniors. According to Professor Lee, the students needed to bring on stage a 20-minute show at the end of the semester, in which they were required to minimize their lines in order to master body language, and to make breakthroughs even their plays were based on well-known Korean folk stories. Professor Lee believed that through this training, the students could improve their ability to convey message through body language.