Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Points of Frustration - the gift of workshops

Creating a new work through an ensemble-based creative process begins with great excitement and moments of marvelous inspiration. Yet once we generate a substantial amount of new material, the task of shaping that material into a cohesive work often times becomes very hard and extremely frustrating, like being forced to bang your head against the wall.

Frustration in a healthy creative process has to do with admitting that we don't know. When, collectively, we feel like the path ends and no one knows the next step, all that inspirational fuel from the beginning of the process runs out and we all look around wondering what in god's name we are going to do next. What have we gotten ourselves into?

Not to be confused with argumentative frustration, which is fleeting and often arises in the heat of debate, workshop frustration comes when you have to deal with the fact that creating art means embracing failure.

But in those moments of frustration, we work. No idea is too stupid, no comment unimportant. No one knows from where the next moment of inspiration will come. So we throw out into the mix whatever comes to mind, and most often a single word, phrase, or idea galvanizes the entire ensemble. Everyone says "Yes!" and suddenly a whole new trajectory emerges.

Last night our creative team endured a long evening of frustration. We argued, we were silent, we wrote down anything we could think of. And then it came, that moment when a phrase brought together all our ideas and allowed us to shape the next step in our process.

Points of frustrations are gifts of the creative process. They keep us honest and focused on creating the strongest story and most specific work. They force us to find the next moment of inspiration, and like finishing a long hike or run, on the other side of the frustration is a sense of accomplishment that helps to fuel the next stage of the process.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Few Notes on How We Work

We've generated a ton of material over the past few weeks and are confidently moving into story creation.

How do we generate material?

Often, the actors are given a broad task: create the scene where two characters we've been exploring meet, create the scene where they share their first meal, create the scene when they get into their first argument, etc. The actors take a few minutes to plan and then share what they've made with the group. We all watch, take notes, and discuss after. See us crowding in the entrance of Drama Book Shop to watch Lizzy Poleski and Zach Lundin share a meal behind glass:

G and M share a meal from Home on Vimeo.

Sometimes, we pause these types of scenes to give specific adjustments. Hear Garrett Blair give adjustments to Jamie Bock as she plays someone with some serious OCD. (Apologies for the shaky camera.)

D in the Park from Home on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Video Documentation, Part I

A recording of a character and environment exploration scene, with Jessica O'Hara-Baker, Jamie Bock, and Michael Irish, from our first week of rehearsals.

Iterations 1 from Home on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And . . . we're off!

We've gotten through a great first week of rehearsals, playing with characters, creating environments, and improvising interactions and scenes. Media documentation to come!