There is something to be said about the environment the SCOT
company planted itself in. The rehearsal rooms, lodgings and
theatres are not all in the same building nor are they built in a
cluster. To travel from one facility to another, one needs to walk
for ranging from 5 minutes to a good 20 minutes. Every time we
came out of our rehearsal hall, we were immediately confronted
by the trees, the mountains, the bugs, and the Kamimomose river
that runs alongside the Arts Park. In his book Culture is the Body,
Mr Suzuki talked about how modern life has been ruled by
non-animal energy and how theatre is about animal energy -
hence the method that trains the animal energy in actors. Just
like the training, we were surrounded by loads of animal energy
from the environment, at the same time very far removed from
the tons of non-animal energy we consume in the city. Living and
creating in such a place, I believe, produces artists and artworks that are - what we call in Chinese “大气” - big and open.
As our two-week workshop came to an end, the SCOT Summer Season began. People streamed in to the Toga Arts Park for the festival. Parents brought kids along to watch Greetings because there were fireworks in the performance. The fireworks were amazing and, combined with the performance, the mastery, the wisdom of the director and the outdoor theatre itself, was extremely moving that it brought tears to my eyes quite a few times. I had always found it unbelievable that SCOT performs Greetings every year but after watching it live, I understood why. And I believe it would be an absolute treat if I get to watch it every year too.
On our last day of training, one of our teachers, Kameron, talked about keeping in mind the idea of practice in us. He encouraged us to keep the moral of training and to keep it a ritual, such as how we were required to respect the rehearsal space by not chitchatting in it. Indeed, it is with years and years of practice and discipline that SCOT managed to refine and distil itself into this company that brings so much inspiration to people all around the world. As we returned to our homes, it made us ponder what we can do to escalate the art making in our hometown, country and our world. It has truly been a great gift to be shown to the work of SCOT and their space at Toga. As many of my workshop co-participants would, I believe, I too would be delighted and grateful to re-experience it again in the future. My heart is full of gratitude for the many moments of enlightenment during these two weeks.
1 A Fundamental Technique and Theory of Acting -- Tadashi Suzuki