The impulse to create the studio came from the work on the performance piece Welcome to My House: Meditations on the Woman in the Dunes (premiered on 18 September 2016). The questions and themes addressed during that project, which were then further developed in the following years, resulted in numerous open workshop sessions as well as the premiere of Hello? (14 March 2019). The Japanese word kokyu is composed of two kanji characters, the first meaning ‘calling’ or ‘inviting’, the second ‘breathing in’.
In aikido, kokyu means a set of techniques, and is translated as ‘breathing practice’. The word kokyu is also used to refer to a Japanese string instrument. Finally, Kokyu is the name of the training developed in 2013−2016 by Przemysław Błaszczak as part of the training path of the Two Paths Studio. It is a precise structure that allows you to focus on movement and breath in their unity, serving to build concentration and strengthen the body and prepare you to work with the voice.
At Kokyu Studio we focus on education and research. Our work is guided by the idea of a theatre laboratory where we investigate our intuitions, previous experiences and tools. It is very important for us to respect the ethos of a theatre ensemble with its members sharing their experiences, educating each other and taking responsibility for each other; an ensemble that has the potential of developing its own unique theatre language and work methodology over several years of regular practice. Training and practice are key for Kokyu Studio. We try to understand them, moving between the actor’s physical training and our experience of the practice of Japanese martial arts, especially aikido. Importantly, we also focus on the voice in dynamic physical training and explore the possibilities of mutual support of movement and voice in searching for an organic whole
Using knowledge accumulated over many years of work with Teatr ZAR and with Attis Theatre and its founder Theodoros Terzopoulos, as well as research on the Kristin Linklater method, Przemysław Błaszczak and Joanna Kurzyńska combine various techniques of physical and vocal training. Przemysław Błaszczak offers actor physical training and martial arts training, breathing and voice techniques derived from Japanese martial arts, as well as Theodoros Terzopoulos’ work method, while Joanna Kurzyńska starts from the experience of the Linklater method and other techniques of voice and body work. These confrontations enable the leaders of Kokyu Studio to draw practical conclusions and build their own system of working with the actor/performer as an autonomous creator.
The creators of Kokyu Studio take an active part in the discussion on the directions of development of and research on actor training, attending international conferences and symposia, as well as conducting regular training sessions and workshops. In the 2019/2020 season, the Studio’s activities focus around a ten-month research and education project conducted by Przemysław Błaszczak, which combines the practice of aikido and the actor’s physical training. The work will culminate in a work demonstration.