You might not have heard of Monika Pagneux and if you've seen her work, you probably were not aware of it. Her inspirational way of working allows actors to find a flow or unity between their inner psyche and its outer expression. Truth becomes the source of creativity; actions are a result of being, not thinking. Pagneux learned mime in post-war Berlin, studied with Jacques Lecoq in Paris and in Barcelona discovered the work of Moshe Feldenkrais. Feldenkrais's she appreciated for its ability to 'wake people up' and also because it is 'neutral' - you don’t see the training in the body on stage, unlike other training techniques such as classical ballet, acrobatics, or some martial arts where you can often spot someone trained in a particular style from their distinctive walk and stance. Actors need to be to find a dynamic, ready, available ‘neutral’ and from there, to do, create, express the fullest range of humanity, to be able to do whatever they want, effortlessly. Now Robert Golden has produced a book and a film about Pagneux's work.
Pagneux worked for many years with Peter Brook, and Brook said of the new film and book, 'Monika's work is original, it is all her own. She has built it up carefully over many, many years and has inspired countless students and professionals all over the world. It is concrete, it is precise but it is not technical. It is about life, it is for life and can only be brought into the field of theatre when theatre is truly searching for moments of truth. Her book … and film are of universal importance and must be cherished.'
Now there is a 70 page book, also available as a PDF plus a 46 minute film from film director Robert Golden in which, for the first time, Pagneux explains the entire process in detail along with her thoughts and feelings about movement, performance and theatre. The actors/directors Annabel Arden, Katherine Hunter and Marcello Magni speak in detail about how their work with Monika has influenced their own careers. Actor/director Olivia Yan, Feldenkrais teacher Fiona Battersby and actor Xela Marx also offer contributions.
The film gives a glimpse into the world behind the stage, helping to explain the processes by which actors achieve performance. For those of us on the opposite side of the footlights, it is a striking insight into someone who has been profoundly influential.
Further information, along with links to rent or download the film, from the Inside/Outside website.
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