in Stage Movement class at Metro, one of the big things we work on are tableaux. This term refers to an artistic still stage picture. When we work with our corsets and comedy of manners, tableaux are an essential part of the effective composition of the scenes. Now that the students are working on their final Dr. Seuss performances, tableaux are becoming that much more important again.
Why would stillness be such an important part of the curriculum of a movement class? The same reason why learning punctuation is an essential part of a writing class. Actually, literally the same reason: an audience needs the pauses, the stillnesses, in order to follow the action itself. This is something we learn in stage combat classes too: it’s much easier for an audience to follow a movement sequence when there are stillnesses strategically placed. The key with a tableau is that it’s a dynamic stillness: it’s based on visual art and so is just as stimulating to the eye as the movement. And in their Seussian pieces, their tableaux are literally based on one of the illustrations from the original picture book. The students chose which picture they thought was most pivotal and recreated it onstage. Below is the one that turned out best, IMO. See the resemblance?
This particular stillness tells you a lot about this story, and takes place at a tense, pivotal moment in the plot. What better way than a tableau to ramp up the tension?