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East Coast Artists: Rasaboxes Workshop (2003) Photo/Foto: HIDVL
  • Title: East Coast Artists
  • Alternate Title: RasaBoxes workshop (New York University 2003)
  • Duration: 01:19:17
  • Language: English
  • Date: 2003
  • Location: New York University
  • Performers: NYU students, workshop participants.
  • Type: workshop

East Coast Artists: Rasaboxes Workshop (2003)

This performer-training workshop features the rasaboxes exercise devised by Richard Schechner. Michele Minnick and Paula Murray Cole lead the workshop in a yoga warmup, intensive breathing and vocal exercises, slow-motion and other exercises invented or adapted by Schechner, and finally the rasaboxes. Taken as a whole, the workshop is an exploration of psycho-physical embodiments connecting the personal to the social. Rasaboxes offer a unique approach that begins with finding a particular form for the eight basic emotions as specified in the Sanskrit theatre manual, Bharata's "Natyasastra." In the workshop documented in the film, four student participants along with the instructors commence with a warm up and then draw words and pictures in each of eight connected rectangular boxes mapped out on the floor with masking tape. The ninth, the center box, is left blank because it represents "shanta," the ultimate emotionless state of total bliss. Rasaboxes combines the Indian concept with Antonin Artaud's call for the actor to be "an athlete of the emotions." The eight, or nine, rasas of Sanskrit/Indian performance theory are: adbhuta (surprise, wonder), sringara (love, eros), bhayanaka (fear, horror), bibhatsa (disgust, revulsion), vira (courage, the heroic), hasya (laughter, the comic), karuna (sadness, compassion), raudra (rage, destruction), and santa (peace, bliss). Workshop participants move within the boxes, jumping from one emotional state to the other and at times engaging interactively.