Sunday, October 9, 2011

RAGTIME




AND THERE WAS DISTANT MUSIC SKIPPING A BEAT, SINGING A DREAM...

Sunday October 2nd, 2011 Bradley University closed it's production of Ragtime. This was more than just a show that a group of us worked on, but an experience we all shared. This was evident in the tearful, sniffly last notes we sang in the epilogue. Our director and choreographer paid special attention to the inner workings of the Ensemble. The challenge laid out before us the first day of rehearsal was to be 'the most gracious and generous cast'. In many ways I believe we rose to his challenge. Naturally, we had minor problems throughout the process, but in the end, we achieved our goal.

The story of Ragtime is a hard one to not care about. It has a lot of strong characters and story lines that you are bound to find one to relate to. The themes explored are ones that are still applicable to today...perhaps even more. The ideas of looking past the outward appearance and our own preconceived notions of each other and recognizing that we are all the same, rather than an 'other', empowering one another to achieve our dreams and forgiveness are just a few themes that are explored throughout the show. While there are many sad and heartbreaking moments, the show has a hopeful tone, that one day we will be able to overcome the things that keep us apart.

What touched my heart the most about working on this project was just how much we cared about each other. Many of us did jobs that was outside of what we normally do as actors and backstage crew, and went above and beyond to make sure the show ran smoothly. The more we ran through the show, the more we learned each others pathways and were then able to page a curtain, help with a quick change, grab a prop, or take someone's line if they didn't make an entrance. Not only actors, but design team went the extra mile. I know they met outside of normal rehearsal hours to make sure everything looked and sounded perfect. And more than just picking up where someone needed help, it was done with humility. HOW FREAKING AMAZING IS THAT! Above all, everything that we needed to do to protect and serve the story and our audience, was done. This is the type of theatre that I love and want to work on FOREVER.

The best part of this process was the new friendships that blossomed and the strengthening of old friendships...the artistic empowerment to create and the obsession we all had with this show.



Just like that tune,
Simple and clear,
I've come to hear
New music-
Breaking my heart,
Op'ning a door,
Changing the world!
New music!
I'll
Hear it forevermore!








It was the music
Of something beginning,
An era exploding,
A century spinning
In riches and rags,
And in rhythm and rhyme.
The people called it Ragtime...
Ragtime!


Tommy Rapley, the choreographer and I


Reunion with two members of our Once On this Island cast! Note: OOTI and Ragtime were written by the same people!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

SMILE

"Smile" was composed by Charlie Chaplin for his 1936 film Modern Times. John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics and title in 1954. Nat King Cole was the first to sing the song in 1954.




Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

"Hope... I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor - that's not my business - I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.

We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls - has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say "Do not despair".

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish...

Soldiers - don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you - who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate - only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers - don't fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written " the kingdom of God is within man " - not one man, nor a group of men - but in all men - in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.

Soldiers - in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting - the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.

The soul of man has been given wings - and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow - into the light of hope - into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up."
Charlie Chaplin

Thursday, September 1, 2011

THE PARADOX OF 'PHYSICAL THEATRE'

Many people ask: what exactly IS physical theatre? Most people assume it is just doing strange/trippy 'out there' pieces of art. While that can be one avenue, the bigger picture of what physical theatre IS and the importance of it is both easy and difficult to understand. It is like trying to remember a dream you just had, but as the seconds tick by, the dream fades away...you can still feel the dream, see images, and you know SOMETHING happened. This is somehow, in my twisted way of thinking, similar to trying to explain what physical theatre is.

 YAY INTERNET! As I was geeking out and researching information on physical theatre, I stumbled across Giovanni Fusetti's article on The Paradox of 'Physical Theatre'.

The Paradox of “Physical Theatre”
by Giovanni Fusetti
The idea that theatre can be non-physical it’s a nonsense. The only non-physical theatre possible is radio drama. And even that, is somehow not true, because some radio performances have some dynamic qualities that could be defined as physical.
In the moment in which an actor enters the stage, his body is there. Even if he does not move one finger and he simply tells his text, his body is there and the audience is watching it. This definition of Physical Theatre carries in itself the germ of a war, based on the old separation of body and mind.
Let’s see what happened. The work of Jacques Lecoq was the culmination of the experience of long sequence of brilliant theatre minds who explored different ways to reconnect theatre with the body. Lecoq’s contribution to the story was his pedagogic talent, that brought him to devise a full training program and to set it into the frame of a school, where a pedagogy could live and develop. In doing so he created a field of pedagogical excellence where many have been able to experience a life changing journey. Since its beginnings, Lecoq School has been an international setting, attracting students from all over the world, with a prevalence of European and English speaking countries. Between the 60’s and the 80’s a growing number of theatre artists who trained at there, went back to their country and started making theatre applying the principles they learnt at the Ecole. The type of work they produced was so peculiar, innovative and creative that the theatre scene found itself in the necessity of finding a definition to this particular way of theatre making. It’s interesting to notice that this need to define it as physical happened in British theatre, where the influence of Lecoq’s work has been the strongest. In no other country his approach has had more influence. The word Physical Theatre came to life, to define a movement based theatre were the physical skills of the performer and his creative use of space are dominant over the other elements of more conventional theatre like the text, the set and the directing. The preference of Lecoq trainees to create and devise their own work, rather than using existing texts, led very soon to a kind of opposition between Physical Theatre as being actor-creator based and the other existing theatre being based on texts by authors.

So if one is physical what is the other one? The names reveals the nature of this contraposition. In English speaking countries we find, Traditional, Text Based, Conventional, Classic, but the most curious of all is the well diffused Straight Theatre. In this duality Physical versus Straight we find the explanation of this useless and damaging conflict. If we analyze the words we see that straight refers to a linear thinking based on structures and ideas, well expressed by texts. While physical involves a more fluid and dynamic movement, based on the body, in which movements are not straight but they mostly follow curves and spirals.
The problem of this opposition is that it hides the real issue. What is specific about Lecoq’s approach is not the body, but the body in space. His most defining principle is that the essence of theatre is the body in space. So movement in itself is not the focus. The focus is the movement in space. Movement in space means relation, play: le jeu. That’s why masks are absolutely fundamental in this work. Masks are movement structures that project the body in space and create play. If we take away the space we still have physical work, but we don’t have play any more. Meyerhold’s Biomecanic, being very physical and based on movement, doesn’t involve the space. Grotowsky work, with a very intense use of the body, doesn’t project it into space: it expands the inner space until it includes the audience, but there is no play, jeu. Therefore, speaking about “physical theatre” doesn’t make sense because it hides the real innovation of Lecoq work which was to reconnect the actor’s body with theatre space. This has amazing consequences in the very essence of the theatre action. One of the famous sentences that Lecoq used to say to his students was: “Most of all, you need not to have ideas”. In the language used at the school, “psychologique” meant something that was just in the thinking of the actor and did not have any relation with space and therefore did not have any projection into space, or “envoi dramatique”. I think this concept could be better expressed with the word ideological, rather than psychological. The application of this is that if an action doesn’t involve space it doesn’t exist on stage. It’s not theatrical. In a theatre world often very committed to intellectual contents, ideas and intentions, this approach can be almost unbearable. The necessity of silence is very hard to accept if one believes that his most important contribution to art is his own ideas. In pedagogic practice, the first experience that touches this core issue is the Neutral Mask, an amazing tool to open the actor’s sensitivity to space. In the rigorous practice of this Mask, the students learn to be silent and to listen to the space as the first form of practice. Another big issues that is connected with this split is the idea that movement simply involves gestures of the body. Nothing can be more false. Stillness is movement as well as acrobatic.
In doing this, we create the necessity of defining another form of theatre that can express the world of the brain, with all the words and the texts. Here we are, in the core of the split: physical versus straight. Now, words are movement, text is movement, ideas are movement, everything moves. There is no difference between inside and outside. Only a continuum of variations. A change in mood changes the space, as much as a physical gesture, sometimes more. The difficulty of going beyond this split is that in doing so we need to face a core split of our entire civilization, from ancient Greece onward, with her split consciousness between matter and spirit, body and logo.
This is a tremendous epistemological act and we could spend billions of pages to recover the traces of this in the history of many discipline, from physics to theology, from psychology to anthropology, from ancient esoterism to quantum mechanic. This would go far beyond our humble task of theatre makers, but, we need to know what the struggle is about. It’s about the priority of experience towards theory. On stage what I generate with my actions in space and what the audience perceive, comes first, well before my idea about my act, the director’s intent and the audiences intellectual knowledge.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

THE HEART OF CLOWNING

Hey guys! While doing research on clowning, I stumbled across this great article. Here is a little background on the author and the website I found it on: a little background on the author and the website I found it on.

It really does touch on the HEART of the clown and why they are so necessary in our world.

The article is quite lengthy, but full of gold!

THE HEART OF CLOWNING: on the use of a clown in the world. An interview with Giovanni Fusetti
This is a transcribed and edited version of an interview with Giovanni Fusetti, by Matty Miller, in the summer 2006. This interview is part of the paper: The Heart Of Clowning, by Matty Miller, for the course Spiritual Models of Social Action; Naropa University, Boulder Colorado, Fall 2006. Matty has trained with Giovanni in the Boulder Red Nose workshop in 2006. To contact Matty, or to obtain a copy of the complete paper, please write to mattybird@gmail.com.

What’s the use of a clown in the world, anyway?

The clown is an archetypal figure, which has always existed: it makes people laugh because of its accidents and failures and faults. The use of the clown is to remind people about imperfection and disorder, and chaos, and fall, and, eventually, death, in a way which is based on humor.
As members of humanity, we all have one big common problem: we are going to die, one day, eventually. We also have another big skill that can turn out as a huge problem: we are self aware, which means that we can practice abstract thinking and know how things could be. So we have the concept of perfection, and success, and order. And we also know that most of those things will never happen, so we are constrained by life’s limitations. Therefore perfection is more of a myth, a reference point. We can either take this very badly and get really pissed off, and fight against gods, and in theatre we call Tragedy; or as the clown does, just fall and laugh about it.
The wisdom of the clown is being able to fall and assume it. It is a profound answer to the main problem of death in all its forms. This is why the clown exists. It is about somebody who takes on himself the limitations, the tragedies, the contradictions, the conflicts, the stupidity, the innocence, the vulnerability, the pain, and the wounds. And consciously plays with them. So the use of clown is to process with humor the tragedy of life.
I like your question: it’s good to say “in the world” because clowning is everywhere. In every human society there are individuals who exist with the purpose of making the community laugh. They laugh at the clown and think, ‘How can this clown be so simple or so stupid or so outrageous or so naïve or so loud or so clumsy or so pretentious?’ The clown is the one who makes people laugh about him. It’s a really profound teacher and it’s a very ancient archetype.

How far can you stretch the form of clown that you teach? To how many cultures can it be brought and understood?
In every society there is an order. There are rules that the community accepts because they are necessary to maintain the social structure: language, rituals, roles, taboos, etc. Every community has a very precise and specific culture. In every culture, given that there is a set of social rules, there is the possibility of breaking them, and therefore provoking outrage...or laughter.
So, as long as we have separate and unique cultures, there are many different forms of humor. Laughter is universal, but the reasons for laughter are not the same. The idea of laughing because of chaos and disorder, that is universal, but what makes people laugh is different. The clown is the comic form that takes on himself some sort of disorder and imperfection and makes people laugh. This is universal, but then there are many “clown forms”, which can even have different names: fool, trickster, monkey, coyote...
In our western culture when people say clowns, usually in their imagination there is a circus- based clown with baggy pants and big shoes and red nose and poofy hair and makeup with a big mouth and eyes. If you observe the costume it is about something that doesn’t fit. It’s too big and it falls apart and there’s some sort of baggy poverty in it.
So, for instance, that form comes from a time when the bourgeoisie was happening. There was a minority of very rich and powerful and elegant people ruling over a multitude of poor farmers or workers. The stupid one couldn’t get there and was badly dressed. So there was a huge set of tramps and hobos and poor and the uncultivated. So there was a comedy based on wealth. Then when the society grew into culture those who couldn’t study were laughable. That is a specific comedy based on a specific historic time and culture.
Then, the red nose came as an archetype of the circus clown. This particular type of clown is accessible in Western cultures. Now, because of globalization, Western culture is going everywhere. Things like television and cinema are expanding some good ideas, and also challenging and often erasing local cultures. So we need to be careful with the way we export our culture, including the clown. There are many different experiences of red nose clowns going all over the world, intervening in area of crisis. This can be a very powerful use of clown, bring relief in situation of pain and distress, support the healing of the local community through the power of laughter, and even promote a cultural and artistic rebirth of the communities. But to be effective it needs to be very tuned with the local culture. The danger is to be intrusive with forms of entertainment that are not really accessible, or with cultural codes that are foreign to the community. So I do see this clown form as very delicate form, requiring a peculiar cross-cultural sensitivity. If it is not integrated into the local community it can become another form of, sort of, cultural colonialism. For instance, the very use of red nose and make up, is not necessarily accessible, so it is very important to actually study and work on the laughter of the community and know what would make the community laugh. And you need to know a lot about the community before you know and understand what is comic. Find the clown of the region. Or look for what is common in all regions, what reunites us all as human fellows. When this happens you can see experiences of western actors performing together with local actors, using a very physical and visual comedy that is truly universal.
Every community has its own clown. Clown is a social role. Somebody has to have it. It’s something like the village idiot of the past, or the poor, or the clever one, or the monk. You can see this in a group for instance. In a group there has to be somebody that is the most stupid of all. And if there is not, some sort of opportunist, or victim, will be pushed in that role because the community needs that in order to transform some sort of anguish about imperfection. If this happens unconsciously it can be really painful and can get into marginalizing people really badly. People fall into homelessness for many reasons. They fall into this role that society needs which is: you are homeless so you remind me that I have a house. It can be really tragic if there is no awareness about that.

What becomes the clown archetype to a population of homeless people? Do they see humor in the same forms?
I worked for a couple of years with the homeless when I did my civil service in Italy, where I was involved in a number of theatrical projects with homeless people and they loved to laugh about themselves. Even in that community there was one who was considered more stupid than the others. I was amazed by their tough and precise and sharp humor. They could be really nasty sometimes. Humor is double edged. You can kill people laughing at them. But then the clown comes back and if somebody assumes that role all of a sudden it becomes very, very powerful. If he is not afraid of being laughed at there is nothing you can do about him. And this is why kings and presidents and people in power always have fear about clowns and buffoons and people who don’t give a shit about power, they just laugh at it. This is the worst attack to power.

I heard you saying that it is difficult to do the Red Nose workshop in marginalized communities? Can you tell me more about that?
Very essentially, when you work with a clown you address people to work with something very personal and very individual, and often people touch areas of their lives that are perceived as wounds, or faults, or strange, or awkward, or difficult on an emotional level. So, the point of departure is to focus on individual identity. This requires a rather strong sense of self and the idea of being able to be very different from others and unique.
At the intensity of the Red Nose workshop, this doesn’t really work for children and adolescents because they are in a phase of life where they are actually building themselves on an identity that works. They are sort of building up their sense of self and its too early to tell them that nobody will ever be perfect, and we’re all going to die one day, and we all have things that are a little unusual and unique and funny and sometimes tragic and painful and vulnerable, etc. So it’s too early in the process of their evolution. When you’re young you just want to be good and perfect and accepted and build your ego very well. And you want no limit and independence. Later on, as life provokes you, you can start listening to doubts and think: “maybe I’m not perfect” and you can start looking into your wounds to become an adult, accepting limits an interdependence. In other words, you need to develop your identity and individual power, which includes your ego, before letting it go to serve a higher purpose.
In marginalized communities, usually there is a lot of pain about being cut off and not recognized, and often oppressed, sometimes even violently, by other communities. To work on an individual clown in a group that is already being marginalized and laughed at is a sort of advanced work. So if you want to work on the clown, you have to first be very supportive of the group identity, to actually work on something like the “group clown”. If I had to do something like that, I would start with working towards building confidence in the sense of identity, of the value and positive resources of the group, and the link between people and the connections and the community. There is community work to start with, and only then you can touch the idea of, for instance, “Why do people laugh at us? What is our problem? And what could be funny about our problem? How could we use humor to address our oppression and marginalized situation?
Thinking about Black Americans or Native Americans or homeless people, there certainly are archetypes of comedy in their world, I’m sure there are, but there is so much pain before, that you can’t really start straight into it. It would be somehow unbearable.
A metaphor could be: if you have an accident, first thing you want to recover. If you are still bleeding, you first need to stop bleeding, and have a consistent dose of care and hugs and support and then you can go back and say, “What is the individual responsibility?” And then you can start understanding, “Oh that was silly of me; maybe I played a role in that accident or that disaster.” And process it at a deep level.
If we want to transform wounds, first we need to still be alive, and with a minimum amount of health and wellbeing in order to do the work.
So the structure would be: first you want to feel the group power and the group care, group identity, and empower it, and then you can touch the group comedy; what could be funny about the group, seen from the outside, for instance, and only later on can you address the individual clowns in the group.

How can the form of clowning that you teach become engaged in social action?
There is a continuum of levels in my experience.
The first level is people who want to train to be performance clowns. These are artists who are in love with this style, this genre, and their project is to make shows where the clown character tells stories. So they use that form of comedy to make people laugh in a way that is based on humanity and something about vulnerability and stupidity. Sometimes it is geared more towards children audiences with something like gags and really basic things that children adore. Or sometimes somebody goes towards more dramatic writing—the clown as a lone human being; a clown reflects on things perceived as difficult in life. And sometimes these shows can be very moving and touching and harsh.
Then there are artists who work on the clown with the commitment to bring her into society in an informal way. There are two big movements. One is the hospital clown--clowns that have training in things like psychology, relationships, process work, basic medical care, and other hospital work. Their purpose is to bring laughter into everyday life in the hospital, so they work specifically on routines based on hospitals environments, like rooms and doors and objects, and play a slapstick kind of routine with objects that are usually scary. Their clown is a doctor, often called Doctor Clown. Their work is to bring laughter, to be in character and to “de-germitize” the whole cycle of hospital life. It started in this country, in New York with the Big Apple Circus, at least twenty-five years ago, and now it’s all over the world. Some hospitals have touring acts. Another one is called Clown Without Borders. It comes from the vision of clown as sort of a peace corps. Clowns on missions in the world, particularly in areas where there is pain and suffering.
There’s another group that takes political action through clowns. It started in England with the Clandestine Insurgent Clown Army and they have spread Clown Brigades all over, including in the States. They are packs of clowns trained in nonviolence, and ready to go and face the police and officers, in all sorts of public event or protest. This is a big movement of clowns and activism coming out of theater.
Then there is another level, which is people who work on clown towards self- healing or self- development or therapy. In Italy they call this Clown-Terapia or Riso-Terapia which is like laughter therapy. So you use a clown technique to approach difficult things about your life, and to find where you can laugh about it. This can be either very simple or huge, specifically as a way to actually access deep wounds and transform them. As long as you can play with something you start detaching from it. So, for instance, if you feel a wound, a trauma, or something painful, the first step towards healing is being able to have a little distance from it and to put it into a metaphorical space, to represent it. And in the representation you can laugh at it or provoke laughter about it. That’s a huge healing tool. Usually the first step when we touch a deep emotional wound is wave of tears. But then, staying with them,. in the sacred space of the stage, we cross the river and we reach laughter. This is one of the most precious moment of my work, when I accompany people from tears to laughter. It’s profound an irreversible transformation. I’ve been working a lot with this, and it is a specific way of using clown towards healing. It is very intense individual work, and its also developing. You can use clown in combination with other psychological therapies and psychotherapy techniques. For instance, I use it a lot with Gestalt therapy and bodywork based on Bioenergetics. Within the clown frame there’s a very big opportunity for emotional release and a very profound healing, actually.
I think the most simple of all is just people wanting to laugh, and wanting to take themselves less seriously. Sometimes I do very short workshops and often when I ask “Why are you here?” many people say, “I want to take myself less seriously. I want to be able to laugh about myself.” I think everybody has that intuition that life is difficult, yes, but it doesn’t have to be dramatic. If there is a way to go through difficulties with humor, somehow things don’t change, but they also change completely. And this a clown where he still dies, but he dies laughing.
There is a Native American joke about it, between wolves and coyotes. And they say when it steps on a trap the wolf, which is a hero, I would say, will bite his paw off and run away without a leg and die. The coyote will stay there and laugh himself to death. (howls) And in fact it’s not laughing, it’s howling, it’s pain, but the coyote has a particular sound that sometimes really sounds like laughing. He’s very naughty, he steals things, and because of that he became an archetype and became sort of the clown of many Native American areas. So the coyote laughs himself to death and he doesn’t make any effort to solve the problem, but stays there and laughs. Its stupid, but in fact he dies less horribly than the wolf.
For me this is the essence because in the end we have to die—we will have problems; we will have difficulties. It’s normal, it’s about life; it’s conflict and misunderstandings, and some wounds are irreversible. Most people when they arrive at some sort of personal work realize that missed something in their childhood. We’ve all had fairly dysfunctional families--most people. And when they realize that you can say, “Oh shit, if I had a better father, a better mother.” That is the hero, the “Oh shit, my life is fucked because I didn’t get enough of that.” Then you can just be miserable for the rest of your life, and die sad and regretting. Or, and this is the clown way, you say “Okay, well that is what happened,” and assume it completely, eventually laugh about it, and all of a sudden you will be living much happier with the wounds that become scars and you can paint them. They never go away, but they turn into something else. There is a profound truth in this: on a psychological level wounds will not disappear, what could be will never be, scars remain. The hero will kill himself for this loss, the clown will dance with it. And this for me is a very big lesson from the clown—healing is not about taking the wound away, but transforming it. The clown dances with the wound. You can’t change your history, but you can transform it and make use of it. This is an alchemical process.

It’s seems that in order to create social change, you have to heal, also.
Yes, it’s a necessity of these times. But remember: healing is not about erasing wounds, but painting scars. And you have to heal those who ask for healing—this is a shamanic perspective. It’s tragically important. You can’t and you have not to give healing to those who don’t ask for it. There is a shamanic proverb that says, “If somebody knocks at your door and asks for help, tell him to go away. If he comes back the second time to ask for your help, tell him to go away. If he comes back the third time and asks for your help, tell him to wait.” This is a shaman’s proverb. It means you have to commit to your healing, and you have to take individual responsibility in asking for it and investing in it; investing energy, time, and at this time of history, energy is expressed also by financial exchange. That is necessary in order to do a real healing.
If you want to heal people who don’t want to be healed because they need that story, you’re doing two things. One is that you’re basically lacking respect for their history and their self; and then
you’re wasting time and energy, which are precious. So you’re doing a bad service both to yourself as a healer, and to the person. It doesn’t mean to be mean to everybody. But if you have particular healing skills or abilities you have to be very careful in when you use them, and how to respect the other person’s right to not be healed because that is part of a his personal process. If you think about your own personal process, the you know, as everybody does, that sometimes we need to go until a certain level of an experience in order to hit the switching point into something else. If we encourage people to avoid going where they need to go, we are actually preventing people from getting real healing.
I come from a Catholic background where this idea of doing good things for the world was very powerful. The idea of a mission, also, was very powerful and it’s totally dysfunctional. So I grew up doing all sorts of social work that was completely inefficient and hurtful to everybody. Like volunteering to go and help people who were not at all asking for it, so we were simply manipulating these good people.    The homeless, they have a strong reason why they are there. The only option is to completely recognize them where they are. If they ask for something, listen to that, and if you can give something, great, but also ask something. Creating an exchange, creating participation., that is the only way that they can maybe find the taste of being reconnected.. They need to be disconnected. They are homeless; it’s a very important word that means “without home.” It means that home was unbearable; home was something horrible for them so they prefer to be home less. Most people feel like home is nice, its good thing, but everybody can also feel, if they’re really honest, some times when home was unbearable, some times when your family was unbearable, some times when your partner was unbearable, where intimacy was absolutely the worst thing in the world, and then you can understand why people are homeless and have a compassionate look and respect them.

What gives you hope?
First I would say that to be hopeless is blasphemous and self-indulgent. It means to give more priority to your personal self than to the fact that there are millions of amazing things happening all the time. I’m really sad about many things that are happening—like the wars and global injustice, the crisis of the environment, global warming, the way children are educated... all this makes me furious. Do I feel hopeless... No. I don’t really feel hopeless. I feel very sad, which is different. Sometimes I feel desperate; I might feel very angry, furious, like “Ughh !!!!”. But in fact, and this is a clown approach, everything is perfect exactly as it is...it’s not even perfect, it is. Reality is.
So if I get hopeless it is because I have an idea of how reality should be and I don’t give any respect to what’s happening. So on a spiritual level I am really going far away from having any sort of faith in the movement of the spirit, or whatever you want to call it; and on an individual level I am indulging in my own fear of transformation and my lack of courage. I’m putting myself before anything, which is also self-indulgent.
We should make a party every morning because somebody like Gandhi existed. We should wake up and say, “Wow Gandhi was walking on this planet. What a great planet we live in. What a beautiful humanity” If one person did something extraordinary, he celebrated the whole humanity. So if that happened, that is possible. We could all be like Gandhi, or at least try. And then somebody did something like Hitler; that also happened. But that is your personal choice, and you have to take personal responsibility, and decide which part you are. When we think of how horrible life is because of Hitler, we are doing what Hitler did. Choices are powerful. Hopelessness is lack of faith. And lack of faith is highly destructive.
But I think we need to go even further than hope: the clown manifests the beauty of humanity in the present moment. Life is beyond hope. It is. This is the clown way, the Tao of Clown: faith, and commitment, and faith and commitment and failing and falling and letting go, with pleasure...and this brings more faith...and commitment...over and over.
Intimate necessity.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The History of Clowns for Beginners by Joe Lee




First book down in the Dell'Arte series. This book is a graphic novel and reads like a movie...if that makes any sense. The book is quite literally a history book, but in comic book fashion. What is a better way to tell the story of clowns than through tongue-in-cheek pictures and quirky text? It begins by talking about Shamans and the function of theatre as a religious tool, tricksters, animal tricksters and then to the different clowns from around the world. And when I say around the world, I mean AROUND THE WHOLE WORLD. It touches on Native American clowns, Hope and Zuni clowns, Tibet, Chinese, Indian, American, European, Commedia, Greek, and Roman...just to name a few. It is really awesome that he touches on both Western and Non-Western influences. More often than not, we are only exposed to Western/European influences in our studies. It is SO NICE to get a more well rounded history....recognition that there is more out there than the white-male centered world.  Perhaps it is a reflection of the universality of the clown more so than the direction the author wanted to take. 

.....AND NOW...some notable quotes and facts from The History of Clowns for Beginners:

*The clown must go against order and find solutions in chaos. 
*The clown had no power other than his wit of sometimes lack thereof. 
*BALANCE-Need a goof off set the uptight moral order. 
* The trickster was definitely the fellow between the intermediary twixt ape and angel. He was a low unto himself a law he had great difficulty keeping. 
*Everything can be undone, the trickster would have it no other way. 
*Fool wanted to live a harmonic whole made up of equal parts of chaos-order-unafraid of what madness lurks in every every soul.
*Human Tricksters love to assume shapes convincing the heavens of their shining glory.
* Trickster is in every mind, every heart...an integral part of each and every character. 
*Folly: the only one who can delight both God and man. When she speaks, we listen and may, for a moment forget ourselves. 
*There are two kinds of clowns Natural Fool's and Artificial Fool's (those who could pass as normal and might only assume folly at the appropriate or inappropriate time.
*Ecclesiastes; 1:15 -  The number of fools is infinite - and you know you're in that number when the fools go rushing in crushing, that is, where angels fear to tread. 
*CLOWNS ARE AS NECESSARY TO THE THEATRE AS THE AUDIENCE -  INTEGRAL PART AS LONG AS IT HAS EXISTED...A LINK BETWEEN SACRED AND MUNDANE.
* "In the beginning was the fool..and in the end, as well" - Khelmer Khokem

That is it! Btw...........................for my senior project, I, along with two of my close friends are developing a clown show. More details to come as we develop it further. LOTS OF LOVE!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

POOP IN MY PANTS

For the past two weeks, I have been working on the Bradley University production of Ragtime. Our team was joined by Tommy Rapley of the HOUSE theatre this week. He worked with us on Pinocchio three years ago and it is an honor to work with him again. He is an: actor/choreographer/singer/dancer/MOVEMENT COACH/DIRECTOR, MOVEMENT DRAMATURG. AAAAAAAAH! YES! (my dream life IS POSSIBLE!)  He is one of the most down to earth, positive, funny, passionate people I know. He led several workshops on physical theatre and ensemble building (sound familiar?) in addition to choreographing the show. It has been so wonderful to be able to build a community with the wonderful and talented group of actors in our Ragtime ensemble. On many occasions we have been moved to tears during rehearsals. This show is filled with so much heart and touches on so many hard issues that we need to have a safe environment to fully explore and play in this world. It amazes me that in an exploration of physical theatre we have come so close to one another. LOVE IT!

Some words and thoughts of wisdom from Tommy: 

*We are giving gifts to the audience. When we reach one person in the audience, you have given the gift to everyone. 
* Our blows are softened and joys magnified by a strong ensemble. 
* The importance of moving past our successes and failures in a scene; to live in the moment.
* To be ok with failing, but hold ourselves to perfection. 
*Stay in the game. 

Just when I was getting homesick for Dell'Arte, the Universe put Tommy back in my life. The language, attitude and view on theatre and art he uses is similar to the pedagogy of DAI. I have a coffee date planned with him for when he comes back! I cannot wait to pick his brain. MORE SOON!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

dell'arte and BEYOND

Joan, Ronlin and I 
(note: Joan's shirt says: eat, sleep, poop)




This is my last blog as a Dell'Arte student...for now. HOWEVER...i am going to keep this blog going. We were given book lists from the school as well as Ronlin on the last day. I plan on reading as many as i can and then writing about it! I am also going to chronicle the journey (at least as much as I can) of an aspiring actor/poet/creator.

SO, now I am just going to write about the topics discussed at our last gathering. 
  • Take away the pressure of tryng to succeed.
  • Do not direct yourself, but BE it.
  • The theatre is all physical. It is all movement. 
  • When you live outside of your own habits, the more transformable you become. 
  • ACTION IS IN THE PLAY.
  • Enter the body of the character and be surprised by the play/intentions of the character. 
I am so grateful I have had the opportunity to study here. This is a magical place that completely and honestly transforms those who come here with an open mind. I know this is the place I belong. I WILL come back to study with these magnificent professors who's passion for the theatre is truly inspiring.

I miss every single one of my classmates. This experience was truly once in a lifetime. Every single person in the group was an integral part of shaping the workshop experience. I hope to work and create  with you all in the future.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

STAY

SO. After a change of scenery and a pep talk from Ronlin, we decided to completely start over. We seemed drawn to the idea of death and the dead still being an active participant in the person that is alive. We tried our piece where The killer had just killed his girlfriend and put her in the box. There is then a knock at the door. The visitors are past victims (sister, grandma and father). The girlfriend had invited them over and she creepily crawls out of the box. At the end of the story, the killer would end up committing suicide and then placed in the box. After he is put in the box, there would be a knock at the door, which would end up being him. This was a rough idea. It became very comical. We wanted to do a piece with weight to it, not cartoony.

We then discovered that three people can fit in the box. We played around with the idea of the three victims being three past women in his life. The man coming to his house would be a detective of sorts. The women would come out of the box and 'haunt' the killer until he confessed. Another extremely rough idea.

Our third idea was to have the killer bring home his date. As in most of Poe's stories, the killer hates one minute detail about a person which makes them want to kill them. We decided he was going to hate her haircut. He leaves the room to get something and the victims would come out of the box, but the thing that he didn't like would be cut off. So, for example: I was going to play a prostitute he had slept with, he used me for my body and didn't like my voice, so he cut out my tongue. I would only move and not talk. We found a thing for each one of our characters. We would also create the beat from our original piece (tapping fingers, crying, stomping foot etc.). While the killer was out of the room, the past we played with the idea of having the past victims drape themselves on the new girlfriend so only the killer could see them or having the girlfriend see and interact with them, but not the killer.

Needless to say, we were stuck. We had about 14 hours to come up with SOMETHING...and we were basically starting from scratch. We decided to take an hour break and come back with clear heads. 


We are trying to figure out new ways to use this box




After our break, it was all business. Jeff had a revelation during the break: no killer, but a girlfriend who is about to die. The people in the box are part of the man's family who had died. The box also represents his heart. Once someone is out of the box he can't remember them.

When we further explored this brand new story, we realized that it touched on what we really loved about the Tell-Tale Heart: the fact that the heartbeat he hears is actually his own. So the remnants of Beat was the box and the fact that someone was in it. We played around with various combinations of people in the box, but settled on: younger sister, father, and high school sweetheart. We cranked out this new story in less than three hours. It was amazing. It was as if the stars aligned and everything just worked out. The resulting piece had it's comedic moments but was pretty sentimental. We achieved our goal. We played around with the idea of calling it Almost, Almost Maine because the feel of it is so similar to that of Almost, Maine. We decided to call it Stay. I am incredibly proud of the piece and am totally in love with everyone in the group. When things got hairy, we knew when to take a break or have a check in to make sure we were all being taken care of.

Stay was pretty well received when we presented it. Everyone seemed pretty surprised by our complete change of story. The story was simple and the problem was very clear, which the professors liked about it.  PHEW! This just proved what Ronlin said was true: Only when the artist is fed up or desparatley seeking divine help, inspiration will come.


STAY


BEAT


Our first full run of Beat. This run was late at night after several hours of rehearsing the piece. It is extremely rough, but it was so alive in us that night, we were actually scaring ourselves. This run was the first time we put someone in the box. The scream at the end is totally sincere. It is the only time we screamed for the ending. We were legitimately terrified.

Before we even showed it to our class, we were told we could not have it staged like we had it. We needed to create the pressurized environment with our bodies, not with clever placement of the audience and black flats. (Duh! I think to myself now. OF COURSE that is how it should be! I don't need anything other than my body.) After we presented and received our feedback, my group sat down and created a to do list of things we needed to work on in the next two day. This included:figuring out why the friends are coming & their relationship to the killer, spacing, establishing the character of the killer and the victim, to make sure each moment led into the next, figuring out an action for the friends to do when they are in the room, and trying a minimum to maximum speech for the killer. 

The next day, we had the whole day to work on our pieces. Ronlin, Joan and various other teachers were floating around from group to group. After our ritual check in (we huddle in a bear hug and talk about how we are feeling (cheesy, but extremely effective in maintaining a positive group dynamic)), we worked through our entire list. We restaged it and found new moments and some clearer characters. After presenting it again, it was still received poorly. The critique started off with "What is it you think I saw?", I knew it was going to be a rough critique. Tomorrow was our showing and we had barely anything that worked. Our confidence we had just two nights ago when we recorded our piece was gone. We decided to change location. We went outside. Ronlin came out and talked to us a little more and gave us a pep talk. We knew he wanted us to succeed, and if we did ANYTHING other than Beat he would be happy.


This is one of the first runs of Beat. The camera doesn't capture the whole space so there maybe parts where someone goes off camera. I also cut off the beginning because most of it the camera didn't pick up. We had the killer begin by methodically putting on his coat, picking up the victim's sweater, smelling it, throwing it into the box. carefully covering the box with a table cloth, phone rings, he goes to answer the phone (which is down the hallway), beat starts, he disregards the phone and checks out the box, when he opens it the beat stops, phone rings again...i think that should be where the video picks up.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where/What in the world is Blue Lake?

Just for a frame of reference, here is where Blue Lake is on a map. 



Here is a tour of Blue Lake! Enjoy!





Sunday, July 24, 2011

DAYS TWENTY-TWO, TWENTY-THREE, AND TWENTY-FOUR




Where have the last three days gone?!? This week has completely FLOWN by! I have a lot to cover, so let's get started!

This week's Daily Practice was all about the Ensemble and how the ensemble warms up. We began in 1st circle and just moved our bodies. We worked our way up to noticing others around us, then responding to them. As we walked around the space, together we had to find the rhythm of our walking. This became a 1,2,3 with the emphasis on the 1. The emphasis then shifted to the 2. We were instructed to move our entire body in anyway we wanted, fast or slow, to play with stillness, but to maintain the 1,2,3. It was pretty moving to hear and feel everyone in the space moving to the same rhythm. Breath and voice were also utilized. 

We then moved onto a Chekov exercise called legato-stegato (sp?)...meaning slow and fast. We were to as an ensemble, throw our energy with our bodies to the right, left, up, down, forward, backward, repeat. The legato was a slow throw and a slow retract where the stegato was a fast throw and a fast retract. We did each twice through. By the end of the exercise I could really feel a rush of energy fly past me as those around me were throwing it. It was really powerful and cool. I admit, I didn't know if I would be able to get into it, but I just let my mind be open and I really did feel it. It was so amazing.

This week is all about our devised piece. We still have Daily Practice in the morning, but all the other time is dedicated to creating and rehearsing our piece. And we use every minute of it!  Our new project's theme is: Arrivals and Departures (via the Lecoq pedagogy, this is a melodrama theme). Our work is to be a told in 5 minutes. The core of our "play making" at Dell'Arte rests on Character, Situation, Circumstance. Carlo stated in his article that HOW is a character. We are to explore rhythm, pace-timing, interruption, goals etc. We are to take nothing for granted, not even how the foot rests on the ground. Basically, we have our work cut out for us this week. Ronlin said that we are to be a chemistry lab, to mix things up and see if they blow up. To investigate. He also said that they were going to try to confuse us a lot so we would come to know our own point of view. (I am in love with that...after he said this, the past three weeks totally clicked)

We were given three hours to come up with a proposal. My group brainstormed for the majority of the time.

 MY CRAZY AWESOME GROUP


Our ideas included: 
Something from Poe, something from kafka, and ordinary guy having a convo with death, something with a train station, a local man from Blue Lake's story (next time you see me, ask me about this...it is truly amazing!), or stuff that could happen in a real five minute time span i.e. finding something that was lost, losing something, finding a lost child.

We then broke down each thing and picked out the essence of each one to see what about them we were drawn to. We realized we liked the darker and more tragic stories. We revisited our original idea of Poe. We read a number of his short stories: Berenice, Facts and the Case of M. Valdemar, The Imp of the Perverse, The Old Portrait, The Tell-Tale Heart. We discovered that in each of his stories, there were Poe's archetypes: Obsessive male, Authority figure who passed judgement, female victim, servent, investigator/reporter/doctor,  and the conscience. We decided to do our version of The Tell-Tale Heart titled Beat.

THE TELL-TALE HEART

During the proposal, Ronlin and Joan said they were going to try to confuse us so we would come to know our point of view. And confuse us they did. Here are some words of advice they gave to our our group as well as some others:

* How one can reflect on the myth and have the present be the central focus. (the majority of the groups were planning on doing adaptations of myths or short stories)
* Frame piece as an arrival or departure or one leading to another.
*Move scope to focus on specific.
*Be sure NOT to represent story, but SHOW action.
*What is the significant arrival or departure.
*Work forward from the most essential
*BOOK TO READ: Chaos Theory
*OPERA TO WATCH: Nixon in China
*be specific NOT Explicit. The more specific we are the more outcomes can be implied or suggested.
*We can create myths of our own time in how we give concrete forms varieties.
*If you move into the core of the piece, it unfolds into infinity. Write as if going into a sphere.
*If you get taken by embellishments, it becomes mush and you lose the essential.
*Specificity is not to go toward realism/naturalism, but authenticity.
* To choose is not to abandon, but how to move from one place to the next.
*It is a bumpy road to irony.
* Character-Situation-Circumstance, in that order
*Don't discount the use of nothing.


ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOTE: TODAY WAS MY BIRTHDAY! My Dell'Arte family made it the BEST birthday i have ever had. Despite the long and frustrating day we had in working on our devised pieces and the cold rainy day, they threw a lovely party for me! My group went to a couple grocery stores to get ice cream and cookies. We all met at one of my classmates apartments and had an ice cream social. Everyone came. It was a great fun hanging out with EVERYONE outside of class. But, of course, where there is a large amounts of sugar and music, there is a DANCE PARTY! We ended the night watching Ronlin's favorite movies, one that he constantly alludes to: The Matrix. For my birthday gift, i received a new journal that everyone had written in. I am so incredibly grateful for having met this amazing group of people. Who knew that a mere three weeks ago, we had not known that each other even existed, and now i feel closer to them than most people. My heart explodes with love whenever I think about you guys!

 you all make my heart do flips of joy!

DAY TWENTY-THREE

Today began with Daily Practice, as usual. Today was all about feeling each other's energy within the group. We walked around the space. As instructed, we had to find someone else's back with our back. We then had to massage each other's back by just moving around. Then we had to leave with purpose. Next, we had to connect arms with someone by just following their energy. Then we had to leave with purpose, then a lingering leave. Finally we had to find a hand. We would leave the hand and then return. Leave and return. Joan planted the question: what makes you not want to leave? With that in mind we repeated the exercise. Our last exercise was walking. We walked in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd circle. We would mix and match the circles with stops and goes. For example: we would walk in 1st, stop in 3rd, walk in 2nd, stop in 1st. etc. We observed one another and paid special attention to the energy shift when the circle would change. 

Because this week is dedicated to our devised project, Nicholette talked to us about her thesis which was about working in an ensemble to create a devised work. The time frame her group had was 8 weeks, 6 for rehearsals, 2 for performances. They began by all reading the story they were centering their piece on (Flannery O'Conner's Good Country People). They all brought in images, props and costume pieces to rehearsals. These lived in the space they worked in everyday. This helped them because they were constantly living in the world of their piece. They wanted to explore Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty and the violence he suggests: making bold strikes into the space and what emerges from it. They also wanted to see how expansion is found through strict restrictions, how to find the comedy of it. And finally, dynamic relationships-transcentance between all aspects. 

What if theatre is really alive? What is the responsibility of the theatre makers to take care of it? How do we keep it breathing, but know it has a life of it's own?

They began their month with three weeks of uncensored play.They video taped everything. They also tried every proposal other group members had. In the third week, they brought in the audience into rehearsals. The audience was able to give them feedback and suggestions. In the fourth week, they documented everything from their video footage. From this they had over 60 characters which they shaved down to 4 for their final piece. They also wrote down key themes and lines that came out of the three weeks.

"It's not what you care about, it's about what the piece needs". She stressed that we have to understand that there is a thing out there that we have to channels, it speaks through us...we just have to channel it. The character exists outside of all of us. All together we have to find the character, the mind has to click out to allow the character to come through.  In working with a group, she believes that no one should have to compromise, but have to know when to stop to deal with a problem and when it can be dealt with later. Also that you have to continuously deal check your ego so you know when it is coming through and how to let it go to serve the work. 

This talk was so inspirational for this week. It was just what we needed to be able to keep going forward with our piece.

My group continued to work on our piece. We began every rehearsal with a check in. We would all stand in a circle with our arms around each other and just say how we were feeling, any concerns we had, stuff weighing on our minds etc. We ended it with a group hug. It was really amazing how this pretty cheesy ritual really helped to ground us and got us through some sticky moments. It is definitely a ritual I am going to carry on with me. 

Here are some of the key points we came up with for our piece: 
* The killer killed their victim so he/she could totally control them, but in death the heartbeat is controlling the killer. 
* We wanted to zero in on the passage to the killer's breaking point.
*The Beat is controlling him.
* The friends come out of concern because their phone calls have gone unanswered. 
* The dialogue they have is minimal: We called, You didn't asnwer, Are you ok? (For example). These will be in 3/3 while the beat is in 4/4. The killer moves and responds with the beat. Finally the dialogue moves to the killer's mind and  is just "Are you ok?"



We staged the piece so the hallway could be playing space. We also set up flats so the space was totally enclosed and the audience would be close to the playing space. We liked that they were close because the killer feels the world closing in on him and the audience would get the same feel. We also wanted them to walk down the hallway into his "house" and before the piece started, the killer would already be in action. We rehearsed late into the night. We took turns watching the piece and doing the 'Beat". By the end of the night, we were all paranoid. We were jumping at every little sound. We all nearly screamed when we heard another group walking toward the room  and upon entering turned on the lights. Our piece felt totally alive and it was scaring us. We filmed the last run of our piece which is still EXTREMELY ROUGH. We were still playing with things and not completely worked or set in stone. This run was also the first time we set someone in the box. This run was the first and only time we screamed. It was a totally authentic scream because seeing a body in there was TERRIFYING!

Please see next blog for the full process of our piece: Beat.

DAY TWENTY-FOUR

Today was our critique day. After only a day of prep, we had to show our rough drafts to the class and teachers. Here are some notes given to the other groups as well as us.

*Good farce is extremely clear. The simplest thing is the best. Make desire simple and breathe more. 
*Different between archetype (which is good) and caricatures (which is bad) is the mannerism you produce. Take time to define desires of archetype, felshed out with genuine physical truth. It becomes caricature when it rests on the mannerism. 
*Intentional changes-shifts in tempo and space.
*Can tolerate weirdness if there are clear characters.
*Life is a series of interruptions. Character is how people respond to interruptions. 
*The default of playing children is that we use "play" as a way of not engaging in story. Decide what the opjective is. Select who you are what what your job in the progression of the story is. 

Later that evening Ronlin had a final colloquium with us. Here are some notes from that:

*Work comes out of a person. Development of one to know oneself.
*Physical self discovery in process of engaging others. 
*RESPONSIBILITY OF POET: HOW YOU SPEAK. YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO FIND YOUR OWN TECHNIQUE.
*BOOK: Out of Martha's House
*We need courage to be vulnerable. To step out onto the stage into the mouth of a wolf. 
*Work demands you must do more than see -> feel and do -> taste.
*Physical contact through all the senses.
*Work of the poet is one that you ahve to listen for-work , expecting to play and be engaged. 
*Be consistant in your determination.
* The effort you put in is not for a particular piece, but for the experience. 
*BOOK: The Naturel way to draw
*BOOK: The Art Spirit
*Invent technique to fit your need. 
* Use raw material each time to twist into shape. 
*Rather than using a stock of techniques, each time, create a new technique to fit your need...just like a snake doesn't crawl into another snake's skin. 
*VERY FEW PEOPLE THINK WHAT THEY THINK THEY THINK. 
*Find the technique that fits my compelling. FROM THE CENTER OF MY OWN JOY. 
* Be as strong as possible in the making-out of it comes art. 
*BOOK: Flannery O'Conner's: Nature and tha aim of fiction. 
*Naturalism: detail because it is natural, not because it is the world we are in. 
*Art: Truthfullness of the essential. It is essential because it creates movement. 
*DYNAMIC TRUTHFULNESS
*Simple images accumulate importance. 
*Only when artist is fed up or desperately seeking divine help, will inspiration come. 
* With inspiration, ditch everything and take a leap. 
*Sublimation: Inspiration, the step that is missing, mystery, spirit of man
*Fiction: reader has a sense that it is unfolding around him. Is presented rather than reported. You are the piece. 
*Demonstrate something that you cannot be done in any other way
*The more you look at an object the more you see within it. 
*BOOK: Mystery and manners. Nature of Fiction in Writing. 

The colloquium finished. We all were pretty inspired, as per usual when we finish up our talks with Ronlin. He then said to meet back in an hour to watch one of his favorite movies: Kung Fu Hustle. A movie which contains very clear story telling, and very clear characters, including commedia, clowns and clear and specific archetypes. We all came back and he had brought beer, soda and was busy popping a ton of popcorn. It was incredibly heart warming. I love how the professors here are willing to be up til close to midnight watching a movie and providing beverages and snacks for their students. The level of love and care they give to their students is amazing. I know this is the place I need to be. 






Monday, July 18, 2011

DAY TWENTY-ONE



So today was Annie and Mary Day in Blue Lake. Here is a brief summary on the history of the day:



Stories differ as to how the Arcata and Mad River Railroad got its feminine nickname. Popular common lore is that the Arcata to Korbel line was named Annie and Mary Railroad in honor of clerks working at each end of the line. However, in a 1969 research paper on the relatively short line, author David Clark noted that the nickname could have easily arisen from Annie and Mary Vintera, nieces of one of the Korbel Brothers, owners of the timber company at the east end of the rail line.

Here is more information: MORE INFORMATION!

Dell'Arte was asked to march in the parade. The theme was "On the Railroad". I went as an Asian worker. Together we just looked crazy. Here are pictures!







There are many more that i PROMISE I will upload once i get them.

A couple of us then spent the rest of the time on the beach. It was very cold, but it was fun nonetheless!


 Anna and Grace were brave and jumped in the water.

 We were too cold.








And THEN! We went to get some milkshakes. This contraption is super neat. You pick your milkshake flavor and put the cup in this machine, pick your thickness and voila! It mixes it for you! 




That is all for today! If you want to hear a funny story about an intruder ask me next time I see you!

One week left! :@(