KOCHI: Margherita Marincola keeps the entry point simple: Introduce yourself and sing a favourite song. This is the icebreaker the French-Italian actor-director has devised to find the desired result at her workshop on the sidelines of Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Since Tuesday, Margherita has been conducting a theatre workshop at the Cabral Yard in Fort Kochi. ‘Exploring Space — Intensive Acting’ aims at freeing participants from inhibitions so as to perform better on the stage. “In theatre, one should be free from all apprehensions. These are techniques which will help participants feel comfortable in a new group so as to emote and act unfettered,” says Margherita, who has followed her parents’ Compagnie Picatrix theatre troupe.
To the artiste, this workshop is for both performers and non-performers. “It is for anyone who would like to explore their creativity through stage and performance. One would want to become a more creative performer,” she says. She has often worked backstage helping with costumes and props and assisting the theatre director Lionel Véran, who taught her the basics of stage direction.
At the workshop, she uses simple exercises and techniques of the improvisational theatre world to the benefit of the participants. The idea is to make the participant understand different measures of space and how to utilise each of them optimally, explains Margherita, a graduate in Indian Performing Arts at University of Vicenza in Italy. “While many of the activities are the same, the goal is more than just getting to be a good actor. It is to understand space and how one could use it without making the audiences realise it,” she says.
Margherita, who was born into a family of artists, started studying Western classical violin at the age of eight. Then, in 2004, she travelled to India to study Hindustani vocal music under eminent artists. Her gurus continue to be Bhaskar Subramanian, Ajay Pohankar and Krishna Mohan Bhatt. In 2014, she won the prestigious Amici del Conservatorio prize for her singing performance at the Music Conservatory of Vicenza. “I have always been fascinated with Indian culture and history. Music has been a connecting link,” shares the multi-faceted artist, who now shuttles between India and France.The art room workshop further aims to teach more about body language and voice modulation. “One has to understand the surrounding and adapt according to it. Theatre is not restricted to auditoriums, it can be performed at any space,” she says.
At the end of the workshop, the artiste plans to do a performance based on late English playwright Sarah Kane’s work called 4.48 Psychosis. Ahead of that, Margherita has divided the participants into groups of five, having spread the pages of the play on the floor. Each group picks five pages each.
“The idea is to see how one performs when the time for preparation is limited and you get random fragments of a scene,” says the mentor.