The Rasaboxes exercise is an acting training method developed in the mid 1990s by Richard Schechner and his company, East Coast Artists. As a founding member of East Coast Artists (1992-96) and student of Richard Schechner, I participated in the training since its inception. I have been using this exercise in a number of settings, but mostly as a teaching tool in acting class.

The Rasaboxes exercise is in part inspired by the emotion theory laid out in the Natyashastra, as well as by Artaud’s call for the actor as an “Athlete of the Emotion,” and the facial expression studies of basic emotions by psychologist Paul Ekman.

The exercise serves as a means to training a nuanced and conscious performance of emotion. Borrowing the list of nine basic rasas from the Natyashastra, Schechner devised a set of exercises intended for performers trained in contemporary Western acting methods. Some of the goals of the exercise are to clearly differentiate between emotional states, to investigate different means of evoking such states, and to apply them to performance. In the basic layout of the exercise the workspace is divided into distinct spaces, “boxes,” each one reserved for one rasa. The 3x3 rasabox grid is then used for a number of different exercises.

Since my move to Quebec in 2006 I have been teaching Rasaboxes training to students at Concordia University in Montreal. I have also taught workshops and classes nationally and internationally on the subject.

My current research is aimed at exploring the form beyond the basic training into the spirit of exploration and integration with other techniques that are related to contemporary theatre practices, i.e. Viewpoints, Laban’s Effort Actions, Body Mind Centering, Oral History, and forms of devising and Indigenous theatre making. These explorations aid in expanding the Rasaboxes training not only as an actor training technique that enhances the capability of performing emotions, but also as a means for both text and movement analysis, and simply put, as a powerful creation tool.

Some of the goals of the exercise are to clearly differentiate between emotional states, to investigate different means of evoking such states, and to apply them to performance. In the basic layout of the exercise the workspace is divided into distinct spaces, “boxes,” each one reserved for one rasa. The rasabox grid is then used for a number of different exercises.

Vira
Sringara
Karuna
Bhayanaka
Shanta
Hasya
Raudra
Adbhuta
Bibhatsa



Sringara - Sensual/sexual love
Vira - courage/vigor
Raudra - terror/anger
Bibhatsa - disgust
Hasya - humor/mirth/joy/laughter
Karuna - greif/compassion/pathos
Adbhuta - wonder/surprise
Bhayanaka - fear/shame
Shanta - bliss/peace/white light


Rasaboxes on Facebook

http://rasaboxes.org/
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