refracted habits in the works

This year’s workshop is in full swing. In fact, despite the fact that this is my first blog post we’ve already finished up the exploration phase, decisions have been made, and the piece creation train has left the station and is barreling down the tracks with no breaks (like it always does). But I don’t want to leave you all in the dust, so I thought I would share some thoughts about our early sessions with you.

We are a smaller group this year, 13 as opposed to the 20 plus we have had the past four years. But it’s a fierce 13, inquisitive, bold, thoughtful, and excited to be here.

In the reader this year we studied Gertrude Stein, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Handke, The Open Theater, Jerzy Grotowski, Sonia Sanchez, Lee Breuer, Heiner Müller, notzake shange, Caryl Churchill, Young Jean Lee, and Jon Fosse. We had many good discussions with keen observations and piercing questions all around. Especially lively were the discussions of Brecht, Handke, Sanchez, Churchill, and Fosse.

On the physical and vocal side of our explorations we started by getting to know each other and the space we’re working in. We worked to build a common vocabulary of movement. We explored different ways to disrupt our naturalistic tendencies in both speaking and moving. We worked on using precision and commitment to make our choices more powerful. We tried making decisions based on visual and aural cues to create abstract images rather than images that make sense narratively. We worked on working together as a group, building our ensemble creation skills to the point where we can create interesting things spontaneously together. The exploration phase is so much fun, it could go on forever, but it is preparation for the real meat of the work: creating our new pieces. They have built formidable skills in the two weeks we have been working together and they are now really ready to begin creating!

In my next post I’ll announce the big decisions they have made about target story and what authors’ techniques they will emulate. But first take some time to enjoy these images of our exploration work in process:

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