Workshop Series: Learning from Meyerhold’s Biomechanics and Applying to Actors’ Training

At 9 a.m. on a rainy Saturday we began our first ever workshop in partnership with Susan B. Productions. It was the kind of morning that begs a person to stay in bed. Would anyone be there? Would it be a success? We couldn’t be sure.

When it was time to begin working, the room was full of bright, eager faces ready to discover Biomechanics. Our instructor, Ana-Maria Bandean, filled the room with energy and confidence. A room of strangers quickly became an ensemble moving from one exercise to the next, discovering, for most, their first taste of Biomechanics.

Although I was also participating as a student in the workshop I couldn’t help but take a step back, take a deep breath and say to myself: “This is why we do this!” Since IFTER’s creation our goal has been to link American students with International theatre artists both abroad and here at home. We are in our second year of international programs and now we can finally offer programs in the US too.

Through out the workshop Ana-Maria carefully explained Meyerhold’s techniques and invited every student to try exercises to go along with them. Each student stretched and pushed their body and mind continuously for three hours to understand the basic principles of Biomechanics.

We worked at lightning speed through a long series of exercises designed to help the actor understand Biomechanics with his/her body and mind. We worked with organic movement, energy, space, balace, coordination, objects, text and with partners to begin to develop a sense of the fundamental principles of Biomechanics: otkas (refusal), posyl (sending), stoika (stance), and tormos (brake).

When twelve o’clock came and the session had ended we were all equally surprised that time had passed so quickly and that we had covered so much in three hours.

We couldn’t have asked for a better kick of to our new Workshop Series. Special thanks to Ana-Maria Bandean, Susan B. Productions, and our fantastic students for making the workshop possible. We hope to offer more Biomechanics workshops in the future.


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