Wraping up Week 1 of Lincoln Center...

11:57 PM / Posted by Ashley /

I failed... on the blogging of course. I'm sticking with my excuse that it's been so intense and I haven't found time to even get on the computer, let alone blog. Plus, I had rehearsals for my reading of "Decadent Acts" (which went swimmingly, thanks for asking... more on that in another post). I'm also producing two shows in the Estrogenius festival (check out the new web page at www.estrogenius.org) that needed my attention this week in addition to Fringe. Thank God I'm busy.

I left off talking about the workshop I was co-facilitating on Wednesday night. We got a lot of great feedback! Everyone seemed to enjoy it and create magnificent ensemble generated pieces. I have included an outline of it below. The talk with Winter Miller (author of In Darfur http://wintermiller.com/) especially stood out for me. I'm looking forward to seeing her work in the future and hopefully seeing In Darfur back in NYC soon.

Socially Conscious Theater Outline
7:00-7:05 Read out participants responses to “What do you consider socially conscious theatre?”
7:05-7:45 Discussing and Q/A about IN DARFUR with Winter Miller (author)
7:45-7:55 Writing exercise. Participants answer in their notebooks:
1. What makes you American?
2. When was the moment you felt truly America?
3. What is your title?
4. If you had a national anthem – what would it be or write a short one
5. What does it mean to be engaged in America
6. What is the single biggest issue facing your generation?
7:55-8:25 Types/Examples of “Socially Conscious Theater” Discussion
Arts Institutions (Intersection For the Arts, Arts in Ed)
Social Groups
Community Generated / Site Specific
Commercial/Regional Theatre
Independent Project
Also Adaptation or re-visioning a classic
Bring it out to the group in terms of how people have been doing this work in different ways in their careers.
8:25-8:40 Future Project Proposal
A community generated piece on the social and economic issue in Michigan (Issues of the outsider: How one enters the community and creates work that frees itself from the sense of these poor people). We each talk a little about how we would approach it and open it up to the audience for ideas.
8:40-8:50 BREAK
8:50-9:00 The Advantage Line Exercise
9:00-9:30 Instruction and group work
Split people into groups (10 groups of six people)
Explain what they are going to be doing and hand out the component sheets (Create a Community Generated Project – that is socially conscious of and for the community that’s right here, right now). Send them to their spaces
9:30-10:00 Group sharing and reflection

Create a two minutes piece that utilizes the following components:
Five specific references to the group member’s answers to the six question (the only text you can use are the question and the answers)
Something that actively engages spectators / A moment of actively endangering the audience.
A reference to something that happened on “The Advantage Line”.
A moment of simultaneous action
A moment of danger
A national anthem

Another highlight included a phenomenal workshop facilitated by MAAFA at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn. Read more about it here: http://www.themaafa.com/ .
The workshop incorporated heart wrenching performances and techniques in how to use theatre as a tool for collective healing, something that I want to do in the future with refugees. I can't wait to see their work this fall!

We have been looking at a lot of different variations on physical theatre - Grotowski (an amazing workshop facilitated by Garrett Ayers with James Dacre assisting) Biomechanics, Meyerhold and dance theatre. The workshops are very intense and leave me soar! Looking forward to finding spaces to continue this training after the lab is over.

In other randomness... I'm on a HUGE Moulin Rouge kick. It came out of nowhere. Really. I'm revisiting it... as it was one of my old obsessions. I'm VERY bummed I don't have the DVD with me (it's in Jersey... somewhere... but definitely in Jersey). I may go crazy if I don't see it soon. For now the youtube clips are almost sufficient. I'm sort of in love with Ewan McGregor's character, Christian (I mean, who isn't? Really.) Please enjoy one of my favorite scenes from the film. I remember the first time I saw this particular scene in the theatre "El Tango de Roxanne", I was undone. I had never seen anything so beautiful. I was completely in awe.

You don't know how bad I want to adapt this for the stage (I have big plans for this, and "The Newsies" haha). Caroline O'Connor is riviting in this dance and as a performer in general. Fierce. Gorgeous. Gritty. I would LOVE to work with her! I bug everyone I meet from Australia about her. After seeing her performance in Moulin Rouge, I made my mom order me her CDs from Australia. I admit when I was 17, I wrote her a fan letter and delivered it to the stage door of Chicago (when she was in the Broadway company). I got to meet her afterward, she was very gracious and sweet. I also got an autographed photo (total dorky fan moment) that I still have.

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