So Figment Festival happened and Hit the Mat was there! It was an interesting experience in which we tried a few things, learned a few things, and proved a few things.
For various reasons, On Friday I was at the event on my own. I led mini workshops in which I instructed participants in a few basic grappling moves and then got them to build very short scenes incorporating these moves. On Saturday, we were able to do one performance of a couple of scenes, and then the rains came and we left before the mats got wet.
Sunday was a better day. The weather held out, and the sun came out. Simon, Faye, John, and Kittie, were on hand to perform and assist in the workshopping all day. We found people with varying degrees of physical skill and experience and were almost universally able to get them to learn the same basic moves and put together and improvised scene. The best moment of the day was when two wandering actors who were going about doing Shakespearean sonnets gave it a whirl. We had them alternate lines of their respective sonnets, combined the techniques with their moves, and came up with with a remarkable piece of theater.
Between this and the work we have done up 'till now, I believe we have proven that the techniques of the grappling arts can be used successfully in a theatrical context. The physical proximity of the actors and exertion necessary for the moves encourages a strong emotional delivery. The techniques are applicable to a wide variety of scenarios. The moves can be taught relatively quickly to untrained performers.
We are taking a few weeks of of our workshops while we plan for the future of Hit the Mat. Watch this space for an update real soon.
Videos will also be posted here in the next few days.