Teaching Philosophy

YOU ARE THE TEACHER. I’M YOUR ASSISTANT.

Every single person in this world is a teacher. If everyone is a teacher, then everyone is a student, too. And this sounds like a good base to build a world on.

In this class, you are the Teacher. You lead. Show me your vision, where you’re aiming at and I’ll assist you accordingly. You lead, though.

All the responsibility is yours, all the choices, all the failure, all the success. This is the world I'm talking about. Can you stand this?

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IT’S ALL ABOUT PHYSICS, ARCHITECTURE, GRAMMAR AND MUSIC.

Physics: Potential energy and kinetic energy can co-exist in a body always ready to move. When the body stands, it doesn’t stop. It balances on an axis that goes from the center of the Earth to the center of the Universe. You can consider this to be either wrong physics or meta-physics.

Architecture: Relationships can define characters through a simple shape and a clear axis between two or more people. It’s all about perspective. It’s about the Architecture of Relationships.

Grammar is responsible for the musicality in spoken word. A performer is responsible for being a great connoisseur of Grammar. Putative links, time adverbs, adjectives, question marks, negations, commas, periods, exclamation points. The vowels and consonants. They’re all there. 

Music consists of Rhythm, Melody, Harmony.
Music is everything. –

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ARTISTIC EXPRESSION NEEDS TO BE NURTURED
WITH TRUTH AND FREEDOM.

In this class, every and any form and umbilical cord associated with social syndromes, forms of society, rules, prejudices, methods and techniques is dismissed, in order to provide space for the creation of a personalized “form” for the performer, based on their freedom of expression. 

Give no more directions to the artists. Let them do it their way.

A non-form, a non-technique which is only interrelated to that which will arise, after the actor has understood in depth, the meaning of the words. The truth of the story, the narrative, this is what will set the performers free, making room for them to be a perfect ‘delivery boy/girl, a vessel that knows nothing. And this is the magnificence of the performer’s actual status.

The art of acting is a living organism that evolves along with human expression – the need for expression.

This new form is truth - always new, always unique. It is not about intelligence. It is about wisdom.

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REVERSE DRAMATURGY

This class is an exercise about freedom of expression and an educational task about breaking free of all the behavioral patterns and comfort zones that obstruct expression. This is a work about the revelation of the on stage characters through the on stage relationships.

We shall approach the play through the dialogue between the characters and through the build up of their relationship, in order for the characters to reveal themselves and for their unique structural and behavioral traits to blossom.

A Reverse Dramaturgical Analysis and Approach, where the performer won’t get in the on stage relationship obeying to all the characteristics that the theatrical condition suggests nor will they walk according to the theatrical forms that “make sense” due to the genre of the theatrical, musical, dance or so act.

We won’t “get in the shoes of the character” to find the core of the relationships within the scene or the play. We will get the characters barefoot and naked to allow truth and straightforwardness in the relationship with their scene partner. That’s how the story will be delivered better.

The performers will walk on stage naked and clean from all the pre-decided characteristics and behavioral elements of the role, in order for them to witness their own revelation by engaging to the relationships through dialogue.

This revelation will “dress the performer up” with all that the here and now suggests. 

Relationships can define characters through a simple shape and a clear axis between two or more people. It’s all about perspective. It’s about the Architecture of Relationships.

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The annihilation of the ego shall set the basis for this work. Knowledge visits the actor, that needs to tell the truth every moment.


For society, humility is a sign of weakness. 
For Humanity, it is the basis of creation.

The actor will become the perfect medium to transfer the text from the two dimensions of the paper to at least the three dimensions of the story.

It's not about acting. It's about freedom of expression.

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FREEDOM AS THE ONLY COMFORT ZONE.  

Choose freedom. Trust your instinct. Ask your body, not your mind. The body can’t lie. Stay centered.

Human existence balances between the fear of loneliness (rejection, failure and so on) and the possibility of freedom.

Where there is fear, there is no possibility of freedom. Where there is no fear, what’s left is freedom.

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BREAKING THE PATTERNS.

Recognize the patterns. You’ve seen them before, you know them well, they have been there for quite a long period of time, repeating themselves in circles as life goes on, waiting for you to let them in or even letting themselves in, whenever you are most off-center and afraid, when overthinking has set you weak and insecure.

Recognize the patterns and break them.
Insecurity creates the need for a comfort zone. This is why an actor would rather be taught a method or a technique, in order to express themselves, in order to feel “safe” on stage. But, this is just another trap that keeps you away from your center, that weakens your instinct, that takes your true voice away.

Self-observation.

Some of the most recognizable characteristics of a pattern while acting, is the rhythm and the musicality of the speech, the choreography of the body, as well as, the rhythm of breathing. Feel the beat and break the pattern right at the moment it starts to feel familiar and puts you in a comfort zone, where you might feel safe, but you’re not moving forward. This applies to both, body and speech. Break the rhythm, break the pattern.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, said Einstein.

So, if you find yourself trapped in a character, trying to express yourself through a certain form over and over again, not feeling free, not moving forward, break the pattern, break the rhythm. Breathe, pause, reset, feel the flow and continue. But, whatever you do, don’t stop breathing. 

Stay connected with the flow. Be the flow.

When you understand the mechanism of a pattern, when you figure out how a pattern works, you can explain life. And this is as specific as it gets.

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DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE.

First, we breathe.

Inhaling air, exhaling sound, words, speech, melodies.Organic speaking. The flow of breath.

 This way, the actor will delve into the understanding of the fact, that spoken word is a result of the breath itself. 

Why push words, reactions, feelings, when we can just exhale them?

Sound as a result of the air. Air = sound, speech.
Speech as a need to exhale words, speech as a sigh.

Breathe in air, exhale words.

Your voice is the lightest thing on you.

In the beginning there was air and then there was speech. The most minute amount of air is sufficient to cause vibration to the vocal cords and produce sound. If there is no air, there is no sound.

Don’t push the words out. Let the air do the job. You only need to breathe in. Then, exhale your words.

Breathe and, by the way, speak.
Speak as you breathe. Don’t breathe as you speak.

Don’t try to pronounce the words. Exhale them.

When you lose the flow, invest on breathing. When you feel off-centered, go back to breathing. When you make a mistake, keep breathing. When you fail to do the exercise, don’t forget to breathe. Breathe till the end of the world. Breathing will keep you alive.

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RHYTHM, MELODY, HARMONY

This is about the miracle of music. About the use of music as a tool to attain the largest understanding of speech in terms of Rhythm, Melody and Harmony.

Let’s work with speech and music in a parallel action. What happens when the music stops, having already generously given the actor its functions? The actor now becomes a mature creator, a maestro who conducts her/his own speech, her/his words and phrases, bringing in thousands of different versions of expressing themselves through truth and the flow of freedom. Organic speech, organic body.

Rhythm, Melody, Harmony are Nature’s gifts. Open your eyes and you shall see them, everywhere.

The music is now here to remind to the rhetoric all the functions that spoken word has always had – Rhythm, Melody, Harmony.

Musicality pre-existing in words. Let it be revealed.

Music is everything.

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THE PERFORMER AS THE DRAMATURGE

Speaking the words that the writer/dramaturge wrote, like they’re yours. As if you write them now, as if they come out of your mouth as a result of your need.

Create as you deliver.

This is about taking all the responsibility of a perfect delivery. You become a co-dramaturge, either you choose it or not.

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THE AUDIENCE IS NOT ALONE ANYMORE

Everyone is part of the project. The performer and the audience are here to tell the story, together.

The audience and the performer are in a constant dialogue giving feedback to each other. Even in cinema, considering the audience absent when you shoot a film is not a valid thought. A spectacle is valid only when seen. A sonic fact is valid when it’s heard. An artistic product is valid when it’s presented in front of an audience. The audience is not there to judge – not anymore. Everyone is there for the experience. To share, to give feedback, to continue the dialogue, to deliver. It’s a relationship.

The audience is part of the Dramaturgy. 

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A MONOLOGUE IS STILL A DIALOGUE

The dialogue within the monologue is unveiled.
There are no monologues. Everything is a dialogue.

Feedback is inevitable.

Dialogue is the symptom of the relationship. The relationship is the subject - 
the main and only concern for the performer.

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EVERYTHING IS FEEDBACK.

There is no such thing as “my first line” or “I start speaking first” and so on.

Everything is a continuum, a result of constant feedback. Time was before and will be after.

Ask the questions to get the answers. What has been written on the paper is ‘the answers’. Ask a question for every line of your text, for every ‘answer’ you need to deliver. Attach your speech to the need that a question creates – the need for an answer. Don’t bring up lines that come out of your mouth as announcements, as words and phrases that have no roots, that there was never a need for them to be expressed and spoken out. Speak because there is a question to be answered, so that your words are answers to a request.

Whenever you feel off center, you’ve probably answered to the wrong question.

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THE PROTAGONIST IS THE WORK ITSELF, NOT THE ACTOR. THE PROTAGONIST IS THE TEAM, NOT THE INDIVIDUAL.

The performance as a result of teamwork.

Don't be jealous. Don't be alone. Being jealous is the most obvious sign of fear. What are you afraid you might lose? Would you ever be jealous and desperate and impatient, if you'd trust yourself and Time completely?

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DON’T BE DESPERATE FOR GOOD MOMENTS

When you achieve a good delivery in your performance with freedom and truth you’ll feel its greatness. The most common reaction then, is trying to find a way to capture this, thinking about all the “right” moves that brought you to that and so on. But, you know what: you cannot capture freedom, cause it won’t be freedom anymore – you cannot repeat truth, cause truth is always new, always unique. Truth is now.

So, when a good moment comes in your performance, just let it flow and trust that this will be your default from then on. Stay open and be generous to yourself. Be fearless. Trust.

Freedom is a 100% choice. It’s complete. It’s real. You couldn’t deal with it partially or for a certain amount of time. 

Choose freedom or eventually freedom will choose you.


EMBRACE FAILURE AS PART OF THE GAME

The game is about moving forward, no matter what. Failing is part of the game. Sometimes, the lesson one learns from failing is vastly more important than any type of success. Trying to be a good student, you’ll do anything to avoid failing. And you might, indeed, make it today. Learning from a mistake you make it for ever.

EMBRACE SUCCESS AS PART OF THE GAME

Success is not some peak one must reach. If that’s the case with life, then good luck with peaks. This totally sounds like Westernism in its lamest. Life is about the game, not about the peak. The game involves failure and success as different stages of moving forward. It’s a win-win situation. Think about it..

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BECOME TIME.
BE THE FLOW.

Understanding rhythm as an axis, as a constant, as the in relation to, as the here and now. After the performers understand time, after they become acquainted with the rhythm suggested by the here and now, then they can become time.

Time was before, and will be after. Feel the flow and go with it.
Together. Not faster, not slower. Synchronized. With time.
Now, be the flow.

Be friends with yourself. Be friends with Time.
Stay open. Stay centered.

Trust yourself, trust Time.

Do not surrender to given directions, just trust your best Teacher, your body. You are the source of your power. Search deep, find and reveal whatever it is that does not let you live in the moment, the here and now.

Every act is part of a continuum. Stay tuned. Be synchronized.
• syn = with, together in Greek –> συν
• chronized comes from chronostime in Greek –> χρόνος.
Synchronized = With Time.

Be friends with yourself. Be friends with Time. Be Time.

Trust yourself, trust Time.
Now let’s see who else you can trust.

Quiz (sort of): If you’re not sure whether you managed to "become Time", just see if you can stand silence. Can you?

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ALL YOU NEED IS ALREADY THERE. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS DELIVER.

The words that are already written, sprout from the paper and are then spoken by the actor. All that the actor needs to know, is on the paper, already written. Putative links, time adverbs, adjectives, question marks, negations, commas, periods, exclamation points. The vowels and consonants. They’re all there. The only action the actor needs to do, is an accurate delivery – to transfer what is written, to the public. To tell the story. Truthfully. Literally. As it is written.

Grammar is responsible for the musicality in spoken word. A performer is responsible for being a great connoisseur of Grammar.

If the audience doesn't care about your story, they might have not understood it. Do not blame them. Use Grammar.

The actor can link the Old and the New, bringing the already written text – even in antiquity – into the here and now.

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SPEECH AND BODY AS ONE INSTRUMENT. ONE SOURCE OF INFINITE MANIFESTATIONS OF EXPRESSION.

If you can't speak your words, dance them. And vice versa.

IT’S A COLLABORATION.

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DON’T LOOK FOR THE RESULT. FOCUS ON THE EXERCISE.

The ‘result’ is not something to search for during the rehearsal or even in the performance.

What will be, will result from the truth and only the truth, from the unconditional involvement of the actor with the telling of the story. All that the actor should care about is the exercise, the functions, not the result.

Looking for the result sounds like the biggest trap.

Don’t fall in the trap of pre-deciding the mood or the attitude of the character, describing their feelings and the sentimental and psychological layers. Don’t worry about the feelings.

Feelings cannot be pre-decided, regardless.

Interact with the here and now.

Just follow the words and the needs created by the words themselves, and you have it all.  Deliver.

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A MISTAKE IS A GIFT.

Dare to make mistakes, many mistakes, as many as you can.
If the was no mistake, there would be no evolution for Humanity.

Evolution as a result of mistakes.

A mistake in society is a reason for punishment. A mistake in Humanity is one step before a lesson is to be learnt. One step before evolution.

Make mistakes and don’t even try to correct them during the exercise. Let them be. Let them teach you the lesson.

Don’t try to prove that you are a “good student”, as this is just another pattern – a strong one, too. Don’t worry about being right. Focus on the exercise. Stay open to see the lesson.

Let the mistakes happen, leave space for them to show you the way, to reveal the need.

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YOU ARE THE BEST TEACHER OF YOURSELF.

Let yourself teach you.

Self-observation may point and reveal whatever your stage presence needs to borrow from your presence in life. What would you like to borrow from your life? Which functions? What is it that you mostly miss from yourself, on stage?

Art and life as one channel. Borrow from life, not from art.

Stay open. Let the truth reveal.

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ACTING IS NOT ABOUT BEING SMART. IT’S ABOUT RE-ACTING.

Let the body show you the way. Quit overthinking, stop confusing your centered self. Free the spirit. Believe in your voice. Believe in your instincts. Dance.

The body cannot lie.

Modern Western societies suffer from thinking too much. Overthinking becomes an obstacle between the delivering body – the free body – and the audience.

Do nothing. Let the body show you the way. 

The actors feel that they have to do “something”, be “someone”, on stage. Actors often complain that once they have achieved to speak through freedom, they felt as if they were not doing much or even that they were doing nothing. This is exactly the point: Nothingness.

Being is reacting to the moment. Reacting is being. Being without having to do anything. 

Do nothing. Let the 'intelligence' of the body lead you. Deliver.

Doing nothing is giving space for the needs to show you the way. Make space for knowledge to visit you every moment. Be empty, be nothing. Struggling to be smart, you might lose the chance to be wise.

Stay open. Trust the body. The body cannot lie.

The body can only be in the 'here and now'. While the mind tends to live through the guilt of the past, predicting the disaster of the future. 

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DON’T PAUSE LIFE TO BEGIN ACTING.

There are no starting points. Just a continuum called “the flow”.

Even if you stop speaking, even if you stop moving, Time will keep moving forward.

You are the flow. You are Time. How does this feel now?

As you start speaking, you ..just start speaking, not existing.
Think of “start” / “action” / “go” as “continue”.

Don’t cut the flow to begin the flow. It doesn’t make sense. Just continue. Keep breathing and you take it from there.

Whatever you do, don’t stop breathing. Don’t hold your breath thinking what your next move is, cause you probably just blocked your next move. The only way for the flow to stop, is when one stops breathing.

Life and on stage existence as one channel.

Let’s liberate the story and allow the needs to become the basis of the narrative again. Let’s disengage from the specific perception of forms that emerged in the theater through artificial needs. Let’s reconnect cinema, theater, music, dance, poetry, expression with life.

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BE ON-LINE.

First listen, then speak.
This is the way to be online and react with truth.

First see, then move.
This is the way to be online and react with truth.

Actually, just listen and see. Then, your body and tongue will know exactly what to do, before you even know it.

When you see and/or listen to the invitation, you start composing.

Being on stage is a continuous composition, like in improv, like in life.
If you are not tuned, synched, on-line, if you came on stage to speak and not listen, then what in relation are you performing to? Listen and you may start composing acts, words, melodies, rhythms, dance moves and so on.
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THE BAD LIAR, THE GOOD LIAR AND THE ONE WHO TELLS THE TRUTH. WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO BE?

Nakedness and not wearing clothes are not the same thing. 
One is freedom. The other is guilt.

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The era, which is progressing faster than ever, invites us to draw no more conclusions and make no more theories. Let’s stay open for all the updates and upgrades it has to propose to us every second.

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We live in the era of the creators. The performer as a creator.

Nonetheless, the nature of every human being is to create, to give birth.

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THERE IS NOTHING BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR VISION. No obstacle. Except for you, of course.

Work hard for your vision. It may not happen tomorrow, but you shouldn’t lose one day of training, daring, making mistakes, trying to serve your vision and be true to yourself. And by the way, it may actually happen tomorrow.

Labros Filippou
Teacher of Drama and Stage Performance

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