Alexis Milligan

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A Blog Post

“To be strong and caring – that is the work.”

A metaphor for life, really.  Finding the strength to care, and caring enough to be strong.

The applications of Pure Movement work are infinite, but none of it can truly take place without these two vital components.  This work is not a miracle.  It is not a quick fix.  You do not come away with revelations of magical art – although it can feel like that after the first class.  Because this work is training.  The repetition, the letting go, the release, will change you, and as a student in this work you will be confronted with the same things that have been in your way before. It is the same shit, and you still have to deal with it.  You will need to embrace the change.

I think this is one of the most difficult aspects of our training as actors.  Movement is not just an airy series of exercises, or a place that you go to in your mind when you are doing them.  It is very hard, technical work about connecting impulse and thought to the movement of your whole body.  If your body is limited, then you must re-discover the body you have.  It is not about what limits you as an individual.  It’s about knowing your “human scale” intimately, from top to bottom, and knowing exactly how to play the notes.

But, what is “the work”? I think we, as contemporary actors “in this day and age”, don’t have a lot of perspective on this beyond figuring out objectives, obstacles, back story, super objectives – a lot of heady work.  A truckload of information for our brains and nervous system to feed on, but how do you embody it? As you warm up your voice with lions faces, and yawns, where does the information your body is engaging in, go?

The amount of work you have done is necessary, you have to learn your lines, but it needs to get out of your head and go further then the top of your chest.  It needs to travel down the spine, into your guts and ground into the floor – with effortless elegance and grace.  Inside the rigours of practice, true practice, letting the “head work” go will begin to inform the body, completing the whole picture and transforming performance work beyond the talking head.

There is a point when the musician must let go of the Scale and play the music, where the dancer  jumps and the foot simply points.  So, what is our equivalent? What is the story that is beyond us? And how do we all find the strength to care about discovering that story together, hearing the choir of our voices singing, and making it beautiful?

Well, that is the work, isn’t it?


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