We realised that No
plays were the perfect vehicle to concentrate actors
attention on the richness of their inner life as
the source of creative inspiration. These short
powerful stories provided an extraordinary opportunity
to root the external actions of the character in
an experience of the fundamental changes that happen
within. We knew that we could not approach them
from the point of view of the highly elaborated
style which had accrued around them in the No Theatre
itself. We were required to explore their inner
movement, the deep underlying 'cause-and-effect'
structure which lay at their core.
This reinvigorated our sense of what
Zeami himself was saying in his treatise and our
own preoccupation that the way to outer expression
had to be based on the activation of the inner
space of the actor. This process relied on a development
of a sense of the fertile emptiness of this space.
This idea related very strongly to ideas about
restraint in meditation and of the removal of compulsion
in the Alexander Technique which was achieved by
stopping and "saying no" to our habitual
reactions and responses.
We invented our course and gave it
a playful title: THE NO(H) SPACE and we tried to
launch it independently. We were then asked to
run a six-day course over four weekends at The
Actors Centre in London. We successfully ran
the course twice in 2001 and 2002.
We then decided to extend the
course to incorporate work on other classic texts
such as Shakespeare and Chekov further exploring
the relevance of Inner life and the precepts
of Zeami to the work of the modern actor. We
have changed the name of our short course to
clarify its focus on creativity. It is now called
AWAKENING INNER LIFE.