9 to 10:30am PST
The permanent state of creativity.
The acting technique created by Gulu has achieved such results that it is the subject of research at the Brain and Creativity Institute of the University of Southern California (USC) led by the neuro-scientist Antonio DAMASIO.
This technique leads the actor to use his body in such a way that he is in a permanent state of creativity. He is surprised at every moment by the unexpected and spontaneous actions of the character built with this technique.
To Register: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2006 Gulu has been a professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. In Europe, Gulu teaches workshops in Paris, Berlin, Madird, and London.
From 1985 to 2000, Gulu led a theater company in Rio de Janeiro, the Companhia do Gesto, where they introduced the language of clowns, masks, and gesture to Brazilian theater. In 2001, he moved to Los Angeles, where he started a new company, the Ipanema Theater Troupe, which he received the most important awards of the city: Ovation Award, Maddy Award, and LA Weekly Award.
His work as director became rapidly well known in LA that he was invited to direct for the most important venues in town: the LA Opera, Broad Stage, Getty Villa, among others.
Gulu studied with some of the icons of the European theater: Jacques Lecoq (France), Renzo Vescovi at Teatro Tascabili Bergamo (Italy), Eugenio Barba at Odin Teatret (Denmark), Donato Sartori (Italy), Ariane Mnouchkine at Théâtre du Soleil (France) and Philippe Gaulier (France).
Why is the actor’s physicality so important to the acting process?
With the technological and scientific advances, the 21st-century actor can have a better understanding of his organism, wich is his instrument. The body is the medium through which emotion is expressed. Whenever we experience a strong emotion — fear, anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise — our experiences express themselves physically. Our muscles contract or relax; our movement and posture shift; our facial expressions change. And, without their being completely conscious of it, other people instantly perceive it. Emotions are body movements and feelings are the cognitive interpretation of these movements. If the actor accurately modifies his physicality to portray his character, the character’s feelings and thoughts will be unexpected and surprising to the actor himself.
How can I modify my physicality without being a caricature?
The human organism functions as a constant loop of information between body and brain. This communication happens via images, sounds, touch, smell, and taste experience. But since we are visual creatures, images are most important to us. As actors create powerful and compelling images, they will be able to modify their bodies to create a new looping of information between body and brain. This new loop then becomes the real way a character perceives the world, and the performance that results feels genuine and authentic. This mechanism can be called the “Emotional Distancing Phenomenon” (not to be confused with Brecht's “Distancing Effect”). The actor becomes a kind of spectator of his own character, and it’s not unusual to hear actors say that while their character was going through enormous pain, they themselves felt joy and fulfillment.
What can I get from this workshop?
The goal is to train actors to expand their creativity and to experience true emotions without having to tap into their personal psychological experiences. Actors experience the emotion in their body, and feelings emerge from this “body state." This allows the character to experience real feelings and thoughts that better serve the situation or scene and free the artists’ creative power in a totally new way. This allows the actor to find intentions, objectives and know their character from the inside out by simply and literally being in her/his character's body.
This workshop will give actors the tools to enhance their creative power, have absolute control of their bodies, build truthful and unique characters for movies, television or theater, and make their acting craft more fun, spontaneous, surprising and above all, passionate.
How can I get this result?
We’ve developed a series of exercises to achieve this. First, the actors work with the Neutral Mask. The Neutral Mask is the simplest and enables the actor to widen all of his or her senses. The Neutral Mask is the starting point to build the character. A silent mask, it allows actors to establish a relationship with their environment based on calmness and perception. With five senses open and their minds calm —in almost a meditative state — actors learn one of the fundamentals of acting: to be in the present moment with great concentration.
After working with the neutral mark, the body is ready to interact with the actors' creative power. They will choose five images that define essential traits of a character. They choose an animal, an element of nature (air, fire, water, or earth) and three adjectives (mischievous, jealous, and greedy, for example). The actors then use these images to create a new body state, which affects how that character experiences emotions. They end up being surprised by the spontaneous and unexpected actions of the character they’ve created.
Why will Gulu’s technique be the object of a study at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute?
The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, one of the world’s top neuroscience researchers and considred one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the modern era. The June–July issue of the French magazine Sciences Humaines included Damasio in its list of 50 key thinkers in the human sciences of the past two centuries. Antonio is collaborating with Gulu in investigating how the Distancing Phenomena and the explosion of creativity happen when working with Gulu’s approach. This study will also be the background of a documentary which will explore Antonio Damasio ideas on emotions, feelings, decision-making, and consciousness, within the context of a theater rehearsal. Using the conflicts and drama of a text as the background and the actors as models, director Gulu Monteiro, acting coach Larry Moss will be working with the actors so that they're working at their best - which in turn will lead Antonio do explain what's exactly happening in each actor's brain and body while experiencing a particular conflict - and the range of emotions this conflict triggers, and how it affects the actor's physicality, internal milieu, and the brain. Antonio along with Hanna Damasio and their team will monitor the actors' body and brain. The data of the actor's organism will be illustrated by the latest generation of after effects.
What former students have to say?
Gulu's character-building technique is revolutionary, it allows the body to deceive the brain and the brain to create some kind of new neural pathway. In short, it brings acting to the reach of all (actors or not), because it gives rise to a Award transformation in a pleasant and amusing way. I did a course with Gulu. It is impressive. Since I started to transmit this method to amateur and professional actors, everyone was also impressed, as they were surprised. Gulu finally helped me to complete my research on the body and the emotions that started with the clown (exploration of the path of the decision, described by Feldenkrais: I feel - I re-feel, that is, I feel a second time - I think - I decide - I act.) It is an honor for me to initiate in Paris the first training center of the Distancing Phenomena of Gulu Monteiro "- Jeanne Gounod - (director of Theatre de la Coupe in Paris).
"Working with Gulu got me out of my head and into my body..... REALLY into my body. He facilitates the process of building a character from the ground up in a way that gives the performer not only a solid foundation but also the exciting access to their infinite imaginative creativity. A surprising and extraordinary workshop. Gulu's work IS WORK, but it's well worth the effort." - Jai Khalsa
"I loved Gulu's workshop. The physical movements that he teaches connect breathe, voice, body, and mind to work together in counterpoint. Also, his animal technique enables you to intuitively make choices, go after objectives, and have behavior all from the characters point of view.
I would love to be able to take it again." - Jill Getto Lee
"I, enjoyed Gulu's workshop. From neutral mask to the animal, to weather element...each was its own experience to help me explore my character in a physical way creating characteristics I wouldn't have otherwise found. It's a very interesting process. I also really benefitted from his opening exercise routine concentrating on balance, coordination, and flexibility. It opened up my body before the work, giving me energy." - Lori Stone
"Gulu's class was awesome! It gave me tools to approach a character that have made the process creative, fun, and has been for me a whole new approach to finding the character through physical exploration." - David Ibrahim
May 4th to May 19th, 2018
Fridays 7 - 11pm
Saturdays and Sundays 2 - 6pm
$725 for participant
$360 for auditor
Class Location: Santa Monica