Monday, August 18, 2008


When I asked the 12th-Night kids if anyone knew what the word "isolation" meant, several raised their hand. One boy said, "It's when one thing is separated from other things, by itself."

I thought this was such a cool definition, especially when it comes to the term when used in reference to movement. I then said, "Yes, so when you move one body part separate from the rest of your body parts, you're isolating that body part."

In stage combat, I'm realizing more and more that isolation is really the key to clear physical storytelling. An audience can't tell what is going on unless good isolation happens, pinpointing a body part, thereby pinpointing an audience's focus. We worked mainly with isolation in partners last week in the MSCD stage combat class, and I noticed when watching the students try it that this concept of isolation is pretty difficult in practice. So we'll try our jedi pushes this week, I think, and start to get isolation a little more in our bodies.

Isolation Game of the Week: fake pushes. Partner A places hand on Partner B, Partner B moves just that body part away from the hand, then isolates the spot by curling around it with her whole body. Then move to the jedi version (doing this without touch).


Bonzuko said...

You're not alone with isolation. Har-har. Really, though ... it's a major factor with specificity of movement in all things. Try isolating random body parts during routine activities. See what happens! ~JAS

Chris Ayers said...

I noticed in our presentations on tues and thurs just how important isolation is. I noticed that while let's say an excellent punch was thrown by one person, the other person didn't isolate the bodypart being hit so the reaction was confusing and unrealistic. One has to consider what would really happen when getting hit: a person's body will naturally try to "surround" the pain. Also when you get pushed in the shoulder, one, shouldn't react by falling strait backwards. This is unrealistic and obviously fake to the audience.

Bonzuko said...

Right. It also has to do with what Brady said (I think it was Brady) in class about good acting--it's actually more important than good technique (though of course having both is ideal).