Ropes, Flowers and Ballroom Dancing

Orion Lee had much to learn for his role in Shibari.

Hi!

So in Shibari I had to learn three new skills; Ballroom Dancing, Ikebana and Shibari. I say ‘had to’, but I love learning new things. I think of the scene in Matrix when Neo downloads info straight to his brain and then says ‘I know kung fu’ (See the clip here).

I could learn new things by myself and probably should but when I have a job to do I become a voracious learner. Beyond the above, I joined the library and researched Irish recent social, political and economic history, sexual arousal and the grieving process. Fun!

First up was ballroom dancing. A wonderfully patient and at the same time exacting and ‘won’t let you get away with anything’ teacher called Flora has been teaching myself and Janet Moran the foxtrot for our scene. Getting the steps down is not too hard. Getting the posture correct is harder, the detail of each movement, but the hardest thing is to get the timing correct; all of this while acting our socks off too! This is actually the hardest skill to learn as it requires a lot of coordination between us.

Next up was Ikebana; the Japanese art of flower arrangement. I have done a course in Bonsai (miniature tree growing) and the principles of design are similar. It’s amazing to see my teacher Tomoko just pick up various flowers and using the principles of design create a beautiful work of art by feeling intuitively where each flower should go. Usually Ikebana is done in a quiet place with your full concentration on the work. As an actor I have to adjust what I’m doing to split focus and actually spend more energy on my acting partner on the stage. To do that I have to become very familiar with what I’m doing.

   

Originally we used an oasis as a base but this proved to be too noisy for the scene. So now we use a wooden block with holes drilled in! An example where naturalism has to be modified to fit theatricality. :)

The rope bondage was taught by Dommy Darko. While running a fetish night in Dublin, he also performs internationally and most recently was involved as a designer for the rope bondage in the show Constellations at Absolut Fringe. On our first day we talked about the psychology of the process. It’s interesting the relationship between the Dom and the Sub; for both to have fun there is a negotiation process which sets very clearly what each wants to do and does not want to do; hard limits and soft limits. After this discussion, safe words are introduced and then they ‘play’. This way everybody is clear on what the ‘game’ is and the rules so everybody is safe.

   

The extremely disturbing dummy which was created for me to practice Shibari (rope bondage) on. It was much better to work with Alicja Ayres. This shows the intricacy of the knots behind. To see the front you’ll have to come to the show!

Rope bondage itself is intimate but does not have to be sexual. For the play Alicja Ayres and I have worked out a ‘conversation’ which happens. Even though there is no words for the scene where we do the bondage, a non verbal dialogue has been crafted which will hopefully be intimate, uncomfortable, teasing, exciting and shocking to the audience but ultimately show two people at the start of a loving relationship. Without creating this conversation, the scene would just be one person tying up another which would be boring. It’s always interesting to see the interplay between what is factual and what is dramatic. Basically, actors always need to be communicating for it to be dramatic. There is no ‘dead time’ even if there are no words.

Hope you enjoy the show! Catch me on Twitter.

Orion.

Your Comments & Reviews

0 Comments

Looks like no comments have been added yet - why not add your own?

Have Your Say

Stay in touch