Assistant of Thomas LEABHART, and director of this workshop. He first studied architecture in Paris. Then theater at the Atelier Blanche Salant et Paul Weaver in 2001. He discovered corporeal mime in 2003 and work with Thomas Leabhart since 2005.
Thomas LEABHART et Etienne Decroux
Le menuisier 1947
Photos E.B. WEILL
"In the work of improvisation, DECROUX had differents kind of responses to our efforts: mockeries, warm praises, anger or compassionate kindness.… Commentaries such as "it is necessary that you sing with your muscles" or "you did not find the rhythm of the thought" or "do not try to be interesting, be simple." I remember of a day when he asked me "to empty the apartment for that God can come there to live." (...)
"While working with DECROUX, he once explained to me that we are like plumbers who place the pipes in the ground. The work is tiring and fastidious for the moment, but he promised me that there will be a day when I will be capable of creating the hot vapor that will circulate through the pipes.
However, he did not show patience for this vapor to rise in a cold actor.
He constructed very precise exercises for this purposes…. When he gave a demonstration, he played his muscles like a violin, each movement originating from a vibrato sustained by the most profound place in the body. This vibration, this interior humming expressed itself with a form of muscular respiration that is at the core of DECROUX's work. It is sometimes an alternation between fast, subtle, almost invisible muscles alternating between relaxation and tension.
In 1962, DECROUX said in an interview in Combat :
"I want to state that nothing is more beautiful than a cadaver. Take a man who during his life was envious, conniving, and a liar and you will find his visage unbearable. However, while he is dead, he carries the nobility of a pharaoh. (...) When the body is in motion - athletic, or in work - it can go to extremes without appearing indecent. Yet, only a few things are required to return a perfectly obscene face."
opposed the peripheral movements of the body, of emphasizing the facial and manual expressions which he described as instruments of deceit, devoted henchmen of gossip. He emphasized the torso as the most important element. It is not by chance that his teacher, Jacques COPEAU, through his revolutionary approach to the training of the actor placed the mask to veil the faces of his students. DECROUX said that in his work, the entire body became the face. With the facial expression veiled, the body resorts to the rest of his other parts to compensate."
Thomas LEABHART. Extracts Translated from " Etienne DECROUX, mime corporel. Textes, études et témoignages " (sous la direction de Patrick PEZIN, L'Entretemps Editions, Saint-Jean-de-Védas 2003)
Étienne Decroux’s corporeal mime is taking the body as a main means of expression and the actor as a starting point for creation. The objective is to place drama inside, rather than to substitute gesture for speech as in pantomime. In this medium, the mime must apply to physical movement those principles that are at the heart of drama: pause, hesitation, weight, resistance and surprise.
Former student and assistant of Etienne DECROUX from 1968 to 1972, Thomas LEABHART taught and performed in United States for twenty years and is professor of theater at Pomona College (California). He is member of the artistic group ISTA (Internation School of Theater Anthropology) directed by Eugenio Barba.
At the heart of his pedagogy, Thomas LEABHART preserves the original teachings of Decroux including the corporeal scale, figures of styles, repertoire and improvisation.
In addition to DECROUX's teaching, he has developed and enriched his own technique with influences from other corporeal disciplines. His "back exploration" sequence (warm-up) is inspired by LESSAC, ALEXANDER, as well as yoga.
The goal of LEABHART's teaching is to allow each individual to research and develop a personal style and voice in creating an original composition.