Frantic Assembly Masterclass: Learning to Fly



I'm just I'm the artistic director of frantic assembly and today I want to look at how you create lifts with actors and how you get them flying across the stage how you create that illusion of weightlessness but actually how you start that is by building trust so simply trust exercises building towards very dynamic choreography we're going to do is just do a little there what we call push hands and push hands is where I put my hand on top of yours and you are pushing up into mine okay and I am controlling you so I move you you need to be receptive so if I push down you go it that's right I come up you keep that contact all the communication is happening through that touch off you go start to move your partner around the room test them a little bit are you looking for economy you're looking for a nice kind of quiet physicality centered person with the hand on top is the person who's in control person underneath just push up slightly that contact is where you're going to be communicating so keep it constant okay stop there let's push it a little bit further okay we're going to start like this again I'm in control and handle on the top we start as normal but when I say eyes this person will close their eyes just be very very careful person with the hand on top is leading personal the hand underneath is the one who closes their eyes do not get that confused because both of you will be moving around with your eyes closed off you go just get that quality okay eyes closed keep aiming for that fluidity in the physicality keep that tension away the only information for them to follow is touch now okay stop there how is that better easier I can that's because you are cutting out all the unwanted stimuli okay so before you turn in a second guess now you're just reading that touch and that's really really important that's the first stepping stone of all contact work it's been able to send those signals and receive those signals what I'm going to work on now is just some very simple lifting and trusting let's just stir let's start with you there okay can we just make a little horseshoe around them here so stand either side I want to think about principles one being the rock okay you're the rock and what you're going to do is provide ledges so that you're not lifting me as a passive object I'm actually pushing down into those ledges to create the illusion of lightness okay so to do that I come in I put my hands on the rock there I lean folks I want to get my weight going that way my energy going forward as I do that my leg naturally comes up as I lean in okay and that's it yes you go underneath so I start to push down and it just goes up there we go and then legs down legs down first all the time there you go that's it resisting all the way down okay so I think we should have a little go at that and just rotate all around we have one practice each where we come in and just mark it because what we need to see is what's what leg are you going to favor okay good now stay there say that keep them up this works it's very light here because all the weights gone down through the rock skeleton yep swing those legs in towards the rock there you go very good so we're just going to push that a little bit further now so Paulo you're going to come towards not one rock but two rocks now okay can you come in here you're going to take my place we take that energy and we keep it going okay so you're going to be jumping towards me you can come in a little bit closer guys that's it good and down who's not needed than this okay so let's when we peel off at the back there why didn't Joe Q go as well so there's fewer people okay ready here we go very good and down who's not ladies Hey just being honest away okay let's see whether you can do it brilliant I'm down okay so you prove something beautifully there if I said to you okay you're going to run at these four and you're going to be thrown up in the air chances are you might failed so you know you start on a negative and that's no that's not good for anybody really so I like to do that you know you start from a really comfortable position then find that know we're capable of a lot more than that we're capable of better now I want to apply that the focus really needs to be the focus if you're going to fly your only audience need to believe that which means we need to see you making the decisions okay so if you are here flying we need to see that you want to go left you want to go right okay your body needs to send those signals we're using the push hands we're receptive to that we can we can sense where needs to go if the audience isn't believing you all the seeing is for sweaty guys Kerry let's lump around a room but if they do believe you we disappear okay so that's the task that's what sir that's what's so important okay really quickly let's go let's go come on once he's up now let's let's make him fly but where do you want to go enjoy it see stuff let's get him up get him up now bring those legs through but we stay locking out so we can walk away so we're exploring lots of different principles the ledge the communicating through contact and to test that let's just have a little game okay so it starts a group just come around me because what can happen is I just do that and start and I go up I go up there we go once I'm up I'm down put me down next person just go anybody that's it can be and push down users users get them up and then down anybody forward and back there we go good and down okay just remember have our hands ready to take people up and that's how we share that exertion so see similar stuff let's keep trying to create that illusion of weightlessness okay let's start with you because you almost are what you're going to do is just bring your elbows in here okay and push down okay now Johnny can you come this side here thank you come in here just by holding these elbows okay what we're going to do is just lift them you need to keep that you're what you're going to do is we're in a jet pack you're going to be flying through space on a jet pack okay and I'm going to come in here and grab his legs so let's bend your knees and then slowly you're going to go up now spin him around spin them around yeah and then to the side and then down okay now what you need to do is again tell the story so I'm up yeah well I'm a jet pack but I want to go that way what's that I want to go there yeah because otherwise you just see the work this is all about hiding the work switch the jetpacks on and go really perform that joy in fact this is a fantasy sequence so why not make the noise of the jetpacks yourself that's it I'm seeing it now I love it you're flying in space good great okay we're going to create the illusion where if this works it should look effortless it should look like someone is walking along a wall at 90 degrees but there's an awful lot of work involved in it okay so the trick is to make it look effortless but the person who's going up which will be you Johnny you really need to push through my shoulder when I'm lifting you so effectively you're trying to do you're trying to do that okay so you create real strong frame Jack could you come here and you're going to hold his left foot it's you're going you're going to hold in the center and push it up but it's really important that we're not lifting up we're actually pushing into the wall which creating gravity okay when we start walking you can stop let go of his feet and just let him walk over the top of you okay so Johnny's in here I sit right in that shoulder there left foot goes up say walk your feet up the wall so let's not move to already okay and walk steady it's good now just stay there a second initially you go away walk away there you go and now it's taking yes and fit down first okay good let's do it again let's take a little bit further we're going to take it around the walk I've been using these processes for the many years on many projects helping actors to fly and move with with confidence and achieve things that they probably hadn't felt themselves capable of every movement on stage tells as a story it places words in our head just like text so they are they're just one in the same

17 thoughts on “Frantic Assembly Masterclass: Learning to Fly”

  1. We're doing these exact things in BTEC Performing Arts, since were looking at Frantic Assembly and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

  2. it was a great help for my year 11 gcse devising for the stimulus of hedonism as my group chose drugs and was given this as an idea to present the druggie when high
    also I don't usually like this type of theatre but this made it better

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  4. These are so great. PLEASE do more! There are so many exercises in the book that are confusing on the page.

  5. Be careful and look after your backs when lifting, study correct techniques or you could end up with a lifetime of back pain like me :/

  6. Looking at this video really help in deciding what type of lifts I could use for my independent project for animal farm and how an ensemble is really important for heathy lifting work

  7. LOVE the way Scott scaffolds the Push Hands exercise with blindness to help them tune out distractions.
    Super cool techniques indeed!

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