Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #28: Manipulate Time and Space

PLAY: Manipulate Time and Space
One of the seemingly magical things about theatre (and film) is how time and space can be manipulated before our eyes. In Henry V, Shakespeare refers to this ability to create large events in a small stage over a limited amount of time:

“Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?”
William Shakespeare, Henry V, Prologue

With the imagination of an actor, the illusionary skills of a mime, and the power of a film editor, fools alter the laws of physics to change perceptions and explore new sources for ideas. As a side benefit, they get to look silly using them.

When you play, you can do something backwards, in fast motion or slow motion, change the sequence of events, do a small actvity in as large a space as possible, or do something that takes a lot of space in a tiny area. Play as if you're in a different space and keep changing it. Stop time. What if you jumped forward an hour, a week, a century? Act like you're caught in a surreal, dreamlike world.

Just don't cause a rift in the time/space continuum. Thanks.

Here's one of my favorite cartoons—Daffy Duck in Chuck Jones' Duck Amuck, partly inspired by Buster Keaton's Sherlock, Jr.:

Think: What can I do differently with time or space? How can I shape, change, and mess around with them?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #29: Act without Reason

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