Ayse Tashkiran takes us through a movement session with the cast of The Provoked Wife.

We're now into the first week of rehearsals and the acting company is amazing. They are all so different to each other and so willing.

We start with a physical warm up, mobilising all the major joints, getting the breath starting to work more fully and warming up the muscles – it’s a very free way of moving that all ages and body types can do. By the end we are moving with each other with energy, eye contact, heat.

I introduce some ensemble movement in a structure that has four clear elements – walking, stopping, looking at each other, running. It starts with two, then four, then eight, then builds with variations until all the company is travelling across the space down the centre. I have called this ‘allez down the allée’ (inspired by Lady Fancyfull and Mademoiselle’s use of French) and it feels very festive and exuberant – like a parade in the park, or a strut on a catwalk.

Ayse's image board for The Provoked Wife, showing photocopies of old paintings and drawings.
Selected images for movement sessions – photocopies of drawings and paintings from the late 16th and early 17th Century.
Photo by Pete Le May © RSC Browse and license our images

We move on to working in little groups with some imagery from the 1700s – clients and sex workers in Covent Garden, people in a sedan chair, a crowded pleasure party. We create little moments of fleshy interaction. I orchestrate a jam where all these little moments come together – the music is loud, punky, a high octane, wired, dangerous night in London.

We finish our session with a cool down, elongating and releasing the muscles used, reestablishing the breath and coming back to a grounded sense of self.

By the end of the session I hope that I have started to create a greater physical freedom and connection between the company, as well as begun to shape our version of this world. The director and composer are watching, their eyes and ears awakening to the energy in the room, and I am moving, watching and learning lots about the actors.

Moving together, I think, can be such a powerful way of building a community and bringing something tangible to the early part of the rehearsal process. I think we are able to work differently afterwards because we have shared something of ourselves and something of the world of the play.

Ayse Tashkiran

Ayse Tashkiran

I am a movement director and an associate artist at the RSC. I also write about movement and teach movement directors. This season I have created the movement work for As You Like It and am currently working on The Provoked Wife for the Swan Theatre. I come from an Anglo Turkish-Cypriot background, which explains my love of my little South London garden with its jasmine, lemon and olive trees. And I do love my yoga practice when not moving with actors in rehearsal room... Find me on Twitter @AyseTashkiran and at www.aysetashkiran.com.

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