Don’t dream it, be-e it…some short performances around the question of how to stage the Rocky Horror (Picture) Show

You can do the script (which I’ve never read) and let it inspire your decisions. But how can you be free from the film version? How could you be free from the film if you decided to do The Sound of Music?

RHPS is an interesting case since the fans tend to know every frame of the movie. And part of being a fan is being able to stage perfect lip-syncable facsimiles which run in tandem with the screen action. Any fan, therefore, could direct a great production if reproducing the film is the goal. And as a goal, why not?

Can you do an updated version? Continue reading “Don’t dream it, be-e it…some short performances around the question of how to stage the Rocky Horror (Picture) Show”

An example of what I hope to get out of Lacuna

I’ve been asked to share an ensemble experience I had as it relates to Lacuna. In 1997, we were doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was the second time I had directed this play, and I wanted to try something very different. I had brainstormed with Marc some ideas about the play that I had, and had settled on doing it in a kind of environmental setting. In fact, we moved the audience around: they started in nice, neat rows for the Athens scenes, but when we moved to the wild and woolly woods, we asked members of the audience to move their chairs out into the woods with us: they could chose where to put their seats anywhere in the oval-shaped playing area.

Before we began working on the script itself, we spent a couple of weeks with Marc trying to teach us some of his weird stuff, some of which sunk in and we were able to use. I taught ways to approach and play Shakespearean text. Everybody participated. We had a large cast, ages nine to 40+, and everyone learned what was being taught, weird or not. Continue reading “An example of what I hope to get out of Lacuna”

Show, Recollect, Recapitulate

In an effort to clog the arteries with even more pretentious pablum, I thought I’d suggest a way to think about both this blog and our meetings. I want to tempt you to think of them both as sites for creative play and performance. At Governor’s Honors we have developed a rehearsal process for creating original work which reflects, in part, my experiences working with experimental groups in Washington, DC, eons ago. And those experiences and methods, to embed footnotes in the text, were inspired by my intellectual mentor Herbert Blau, who simply asserted–and I risk a triteness by encapsulating–the notion of thought and performance being the same thing.

So at GHP we rehearse by both performing what we are thinking and thinking about what we are performing (by then performing it as we are continuing to think it). And those of you familiar with Gödel, Escher, and Bach will detect a use of recursive and imbedded loops leading, we can only hope, to the possibility of beauty and something which smacks of mind and art. And so the thought continues to perform in the turning over and over (and the lacuna is the widening gyre?–sure, why not).

At GHP we meet and we show one another what we want to

  • show (as I hope we will do at our meetings and on this blog),–and showing may just mean telling in many cases–then we take some time to
  • recollect what happened during that span of time while we were showing (after a meeting, in our case, or after reading something in a blog), and then we
  • recapitulate what we remember, to share it and offer it as possible material for future work (rather than one person taking “minutes” or documenting what happens at a meeting, everyone could create accounts of what happened, emphasing what struck them as interesting or important and post those accounts on the blog). This may be a way for the “cross pollinating” to occur without us risking the spread of anything which could compromise our health.

On the seeming looseness of it all

To many of us, it may seem that we’re going down a fuzzy road to nowhere. What is all this “explore x” and “discuss y“? Why doesn’t someone just pick a play and let’s do it?

We lucked up with Mame in pulling together a cast in which there were no weak links and everyone seemed to understand without being told what we were doing. What we’re trying to do here is to take luck out of the equation by forming an ensemble: a group of actors who speak the same language.

That doesn’t mean that we all have to use the same strategies, tools, or preparations in what we do. It doesn’t even mean we all have to agree. What it does mean is that all of us can understand the different ways we all work, and there will be some commonalities of approach, since we will all work together.

It may also be a little scary/frustrating/puzzling that we don’t seem to have a clear path. Relax and trust us: this is one of those “the journey is more fun than the destination” situations. Something good will come of it. We will get somewhere. In fact, we’re going to go lots of places.

Some organizational suggestions

Dear Fellow Company Members,

There. That was easy. Say it and it’s so. Now we’re a company. I propose we meet and talk about how best to bestow our gifts on the Newnan-Coweta theatre scene.

The only really insanely ambitious part of this would be the first meeting since it would be best for all interested parties to attend and there is no such thing as a perfect time.

Here’s my suggestion about how this first meeting might work. The how is easier to think about than the when: Continue reading “Some organizational suggestions”

What I think this group should be and do

I think this group should be a collaborative study group:

  • We should meet on a regular basis, with an agenda for each meeting that we’ve agreed on beforehand.
  • This agenda might have a focus on a particular acting exercise, or scene work, or discussion, or improv, or acting style, or vocal work, or any combination of the above.
  • Every member of the group can propose an agenda. All proposals are equal: like Marc says, we can vote on what we want to do next, and we can take our time about getting around to everything on our list.
  • Membership of the group should be porous, especially if we use space at the Newnan Theatre Company. Members of the group should feel free to audition and perform with NTC’s regular season, and regular NTC members should feel free to join us. No pressure, and no rivalry.
  • We should try to perform something once a quarter. Once a year, it should probably be something as big as Mame and performed in Wadsworth Auditorium.