Titus Rehearsal Blog: “Fight!” by Ariane Barnes

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Throughout the process of TITUS ANDRONICUS we’ll be bringing you a series of guest blogs from our lovely cast and company, old and new. Today, we hear from actor Ariane Barnes, about the first workshop with our joint fight & movement directors.
You can catch Ariane playing the title role in TITUS ANDRONICUS, our all-female production at Greenwich Theatre, 28 April – 2 May.

So, fight eh?

Well there was never going to be a way around it with Titus Andronicus. Certainly not while working with The Gentlemen. What can I say? Working with a room full of women all raring to pull your head off is bloody brilliant.

It’s a rare thing you see, women and fighting. And isn’t that interesting?

You see I come from a very male dominated family. Two brothers, both rather chivalrous. So, I’m one of those people that has a little voice in her head… It says: “Don’t hurt her. She’s a Girl” (And yes I happen to be a woman).

Most girls that are into any kind of combat often get paired with guys, because there normally aren’t enough women to have us all fighting each other. And I’m not going to lie, it makes a big difference having a girl in front of you. It changes everything.

But was that instinct a male one? Or a human one? Was it helpful?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. This blog entry is about male vs female behaviours, and how they can either get in our way, or help our process, during Titus.

First things first, let’s talk about that voice­. Isn’t it crazy how society has shaped me into thinking these power houses I’m working with don’t want to fight, or be fought, ­and that it’s all a bit wrong? Not these gals. They are fierce. And fearsome. And up for it!*

Shout it from the rooftops: that voice has no place here!

It’s then a question of getting over the fear of that inner fire, the lust that drives you towards the fight, and how much stronger it becomes once you are grounded. And, for some men at least, when you are decidedly MALE.

Our wonderful Fight Directors, Yarit and Rob, made the focus on how men and women move differently through our centres. How this applies to fight became very clear through their workshop.

Being less isolated in the hips (a “woman” thing), and moving as more of “a block” with our pelvises solidly underneath us (a “guy” thing), we became forces to be reckoned with. I think we should make up a war cry or something…

On that note, we also discovered that women are more hesitant to grunt and expel sound when they work, it’s weird. But we need to keep breathing obviously, so at least having that on a more audible level really helps.

But hang on­… isn’t having your pelvis aligned and your core muscles engaged just being grounded?

Aha! So perhaps it’s more about increasing our own sense of centring than anything else. Doesn’t it seem so glaringly obvious now?

Oh. and no apologising. These guys take the space with no apology. Men, “generals of war”, people that kill other people for a living – do you think they apologise for their behaviour? With their bodies? Voices? By overthinking?

I think NOT. (No pun intended).

And yet most of our characters have something they must beg or apologise for at some point….

So there we have it –

  • Sisterhood and support: ­useful
  • Block core strength­: useful
  • No apologising: useful;
  • Being afraid to fight a girl: pfffft!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Competitiveness: hmmmmmmm…

We shall see…!

— Ariane (Titus, aka Big T.)

*not like that, get your mind out of the gutter.

Book tickets now →
Ariane on Twitter: @gitanapreciosa| SFG on Twitter: @SmoothFacedGent

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