"I would go to her every week if I could. I would recommend her to anyone as a teacher and an expert in professional theatre training."
- Johnny Flynn, Actor
"As an actor, it can be daunting to address your vocal and physical blocks. Working with Gigi is refreshing and inspiring. She leads you to an open and relaxed place in your mind and body without focusing on bad habits you may be leaning into. She directs your attention to the action of the scene and hands you the tools to fully commit with your voice and body to achieve the goals your character is fighting for. She moves you toward the underbelly of the scene and encourages you to fight harder and more clearly than you would have on your own. After working with her I found myself connecting and listening more intently onstage, breathing more productively, and pushing less which created more status and power in my character. “
- Stacy Stoltz, Actor
"It was so refreshing to work with a coach, a teacher, who is so invested in the entire group AT ALL TIMES, who is so at eased and centered. Her energy bleeds into the group and into the work in a remarkable way. She crackled with excitement and ideas based on what she was observing and would implement a new way of working on a piece immediately, opening all the doors in the process. Most importantly--I felt I was enough in that space…and then could grow from there. Invaluable experience."
- Josh Bywater
"After having just received my undergrad in Theatre Arts, I walked away from an eight hour workshop with Gigi and had a whole new way to approach the work added to my toolbox; and not just one new approach, but a handful of starting points I can now use to connect deeper to any text or character I'm working with. From warm ups to explorative work within the text via movement and sound and play, Gigi gave me invaluable tools to continue working with as I carry on in my own journey. And most of all, it was a blast!!!"
- Felipe Carrasco
"Gigi is a breath of fresh air, it's like being in the Stratford Company again." -Bartholomew Williams-
The Actor’s Voice and Shakespeare’s Text
A visceral approach to speaking Shakespeare’s text: Shakespeare’s glorious texts lead actors into a breath- triggered, instinctive discovery of the thought, and personal connection to the text. The result is ownership and embodiment of complex language at once organic and dynamic. The workshops begin with explorations of the body and states of readiness; two systems of breath; freeing the breath; the bridge from breath to voice and the onset of sound; resonance; vocal range; placing the voice and landing the thought. The goal is vocal release and transparency allowing each actor to drop into the center of their voice with a need to communicate. Articulation activation is awakened through improvisation with plosive, fricative, nasal, approximate, and lateral sounds; long and short vowel sounds; diphthongs and triphthongs. Actors will voice Shakespeare’s texts in physically activated ensemble exercises.
Structure: How does verse structure release sense, character, and circumstance?
How do we work with repeated sounds, repeated words, and words with multiple meanings?
What do we do with rhyme?
How do we clarify the spine of a thought and its many offshoots?
How do we quest through the argument in a heightened state of presence while responsive to impulses occurring in the moment?
How does the forward momentum of the verse help actors to find spontaneity and depth of character?
How do, “aha,” moments remain active over multiple performances of a character and text?
For the Performing Artist
Freeing the voice from physical or emotional entrapment requires an awareness of where the holds of tension exist in the body. We release those centers of tension through a series of release and engagement exercises. For many of us, releasing tension means a paradigm shift in our entire skeletal alignment. These shifts create more space in the body allowing for freer, deeper breath.
The voice travels to its target on breath. Breath support is the foundation for the voice. By connecting two systems of support, the action of the rib cage and abdomen, to the onset of sound, we set the voice sailing out on the breath, free from muscular constraint.
Producing supported, open sound in physically challenging situations. Many of us find that we can lie on our backs, relax, release, and drop in to the breath. In performance, we are constantly in heightened states of duress. The process of producing a fully supported voice with rich, resonant overtones, into the physically heightened states that we find ourselves in onstage is a key element in the work. We discover how to manage physical chaos and maintain vocal integrity.
Vocal expression at its richest, manifests as communication. Building on the foundation of free breath, we voice with resonance, range, melody, articulacy and a need to communicate. Communication involves a heightened sense of give and take. Listening and receiving becomes a part of the process. How do we compel others to listen? By embodying the text, making a personal connection with what we're saying, and releasing the thought on a free breath to our audience we are not simply heard, we communicate.
Articulation: We shape words with the articulators: the lips, teeth, tongue, gum ridge, hard and soft palate, and jaw. Articulation is the final step in the process. Classical actors need a solid grasp of the Standard American dialect in the United States and RP (Received Pronunciation) in the United Kingdom. These dialects are the most efficient means of expression of American and English vowels, diphthongs, triphthongs and consonants. Similar to voice training, learning the placement and action of these sounds begins with an awareness of variance in our own speech. We practice a sequence of specific physical actions to efficiently articulate. With a solid grasp of placement and action we can then look at ways of distorting vowel and consonant sounds though shape, placement, rhythm and tune, to create dialects and accents for character work.
Text Work: Using the breath for changes of thoughts and impulses, text work is an opportunity to use the words actively, literally as actions. We work with what is on the page, and follow the structure to release specificity of character, circumstance, and actions. Phrasing and dynamics are explored. Choices are made based on the evidence in the text.
For the Corporate Professional
Successful Communication from the Inside Out: This workshop provides the tools to enhance confidence, delivery and productivity. Each of us has an inherent ability to communicate naturally, clearly, and effectively. In a unique approach to vocal and physical presentation, each participant will discover, explore, and strengthen his or her own individual voice.