Sunday, August 1, 2010

Useful? Special? or both?

So sorry to have let almost a week pass without a post..
it is indicative of this point in the intensive when "intense"
is the operative word.

"I stopped trying to be special and became useful. And when I became useful, I became special."

Last Tuesday we had a terrific visit with Willie Reale, founder of the 52nd Street Project, Tony winner, writer, actor and all round mensch. Willie offered practical survival tips for students.... Cooks Illustrated is the best recipe site and "never break up with your girlfriend on the phone". Important lessons but no less important than the many wonderful and frank stories of building a career in theatre, television and film. And the above advice.... the most important lesson offered thus far.

As theatre artists, our skills match beautifully with a changing world out of touch with itself. The stronger the ability to remain in the moment we cultivate, the more equipped we are to observe and affect the world that we live in. To move from the reactive mode to the creative mode is an extremely important tool in handling the changing paradigms of our times.

It was a pleasure to hear these values so clearly laid forth for our students.

Devised Theatre/Directing instructor Mary Robinson wound up her month with us this week and now Stephen Wagner will take the class from development to performance creation mode for the final presentation of the work in process on Thursday evening, August 12 at Drama Book Shop.

Kathy Rossetter, our audition clinic, instructor also finished her four weeks of classes with a mock audition ofr students as well as a session of cold readings of newly written monologues by student writers. The results were exciting.

Friday evening was our second open class at the Drama Book Shop. We premiered eleven new plays, some written by students who have never written a play before. We are happy to discover that students are exposed to the same values in each of their classes and so the skills they are learning in one setting transfer easily to the other aspects of theatre that students are studying. Identifying the heat of a scene, keeping character choices specific, being connected to the other actor and identifying needs, wants, tactics and actions in the work all contribute to a clear and compelling story.. and a present and alive experience.

We have a busy week ahead. New plays written to sound tracks are being read,reworked and moved through the Rep process. Some plays are moving forward into a movement based staged reading, and still others may move into a workshop performance style.
This week, we attend a new musical at the Lark Theatre company on Monday night, and Friday we have a visit from Roberta Levitow, head of Theatre Without Borders, just back from a month working in Africa.

We are still hoping to put together a diversity panel but scheduling has been difficult.

So, we are in the home stretch... so quickly. Students are getting a chance to explore the city on their own a bit with several attending the open air screening of REAR WINDOW in Brooklyn last Thursday and checking out the student rush opportunities at various Broadway shows.

Here we go.
Our final open classes will be August 12 at Drama Book Shop
and August 13 on the second floor or the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

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