|The Freehold Forum E-Newsletter
Dear Freehold Community,
This month the newsletter is chock full of a wealth of articles, and updates on upcoming events. Check out the great contributions including:
* Brynna Jourden's thoughts on the collaborative nature of theatre
* Marya Sea Kaminski's "Ten Thoughts on Acting for Film"
* Cyrus Khambatta reflecting on his recent work entitled "The People's Project"
* Carolynne Wilcox's ongoing reporting of her ongoing Studio Series work
* Freehold News and Events including information on an upcoming Art Walk this Friday featuring the work of Annya Uslontseva and Yvonne Hodges and a reminder about our January 2009 Othello Production
Wishing you all prosperity and much happiness in the New Year!
Collaborative TheatreBy Brynna Jourden
Brynna Inez Jourden works locally as an actor/creator, stage combat
teacher and fight choreographer. She has trained in Meyerhold,
Grotowski and Lecoq pedagogies in Seattle and London. Recently she
toured as "Dot" with Nebunele Theatre's Medea Knows Best and
collaborated with Memory War Theater Project on work created under
compulsion. She is an Advanced Actor Combatant with The Society of
American Fight Directors and has studied with the British Academy of
Stage and Screen Combat. Brynna has received a MFA in Lecoq Based Actor
Created Physical Theatre from The London International School of
Performing Arts. She continues to pursue work exploring the actor as
devisor and original ensemble collaboration. Brynna also teaches at Freehold.
I moved to London in the fall of 2005 to attend the London International School of Performing Arts. Within the two year program, everything I knew about theatre was exploded and recreated. My fellow classmates were from Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Canada and China among many others. The time I spent studying in London helped me sculpt a personal sense of how I want to create theatre.
|Ten Thoughts On Acting For Film By Marya Sea Kaminski Marya Sea Kaminski has written, produced, and performed more than twenty solo performance pieces. Her original work has been seen at La Mama ETC and Performance Space 122 in New York City and in venues all over Seattle. She is a performer, director, and teacher, holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington and is a founding member of the Washington Ensemble Theatre. Marya Sea Kaminski was on The Stranger's 2006 and 2007 Genius Shortlist for Theatre and "Best Local Stage Actor in 2008" by The Seattle Weekly. Continued ...
Here are Marya's thoughts on acting for film based on her recent experience shooting "Dichotomy," (photo on the left and below) a feature-length independent film directed by Jay Purcell and due to premiere in the spring of 2009 from Funkbuddha Productions, www.myspace.com/dichotomymovie
1. If you can, wear comfortable shoes for a shoot. You might be standing in them for a long, long time.
2. Don't gorge yourself on craft services during the breaks. The sugar-high you get from a muffin on your ten-minute break will set you up to crash before you're half-way through the next part of the shoot. Drink lots of water. Eat breakfast. I am always surprised by how physically demanding a full day of shooting can be. Take care of your body.
3. Learn everyone's name. Everyone's - the production assistants, the hair stylist, the sound person, etc. The day will be more fun and everyone will do better work if you can feel like you're all in it together.
4. Say yes. If the director asks you to try something, say yes. If there's a sudden change in location or in your costume, say yes. If you get the opportunity to move off the script and improvise, say yes. Acting rule number one.
5. Ask the person running the camera what your frame is before you start shooting (i.e. Can you see my shoulders? My entire upper body? How far can I move to each side of me?). Essentially the frame is the size of your stage and the director will think you're savvy and useful if you can stay in frame.
FREEHOLD NEWS AND EVENTS
Belltown Art Walk
at Freehold this Friday,
January 9th, 6:00-8:00 pm
Didn't get a chance to check out our art walk
No worries ...
Here is a chance to see the work of two more incredibly talented artists, Annya Uslontseva and Yvonne Hodges from our Freehold community.
A sample of Annya's work is on the left and Yvonne's is on the right.
Come check out more of their work, hang out with other Freehold folks and art walk lovers and sip on a drink from our new bar.
For more information, on all the galleries participating, go to www.belltownartwalk.com
We hope to see you there!
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Freehold's Engaged Theatre Production of
OTHELLOJanuary 29, 30, 318:00 PM Ned Skinner Theatre at Raisbeck Performance Hall 2015 Boren Avenue FREE/Suggested Donation: $12
You will want to be sure and see Freehold's full production of OTHELLO with an amazing cast and crew (plus LIVE music) this coming January. Robin Lynn Smith, Freehold's Artistic Director, is directing the piece along with George Lewis serving as Movement Director and Choreographer.
Join us in exploring Shakespeare's OTHELLO - a story of love, jealousy, use and misuse of power, retribution, and forgiveness. Come with us on a journey where we can confront our greatest hopes and fears, our best and worst of actions and the extremities of what it means to be human.
Reggie Jackson as Iago (left)
Sylvester Kamara as Othello (right)
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Freehold's Winter Classes are
Now Open for Registration
Check out all of our new classes!
|The People's Projectby Cyrus Khambatta
Cyrus Khambatta is the Artistic Director for Phffft! Dance Theatre Company. His dance theater works have been presented in twelve US states, throughout Europe as well as in Russia and Latin America. Cyrus is a faculty member at Freehold. For more information, on Phffft! Dance Theatre Company, go to: www.phffft.org
The lives of ordinary people are extraordinary. Each and every day people engage in incremental heroics, tragedy, valiance and exhilaration. These are real life experiences that go largely unnoticed. In my most recent work, I am interested in elevating and bringing notice to these acts of human existence by peering into them with questions, turning the "eye" on my audience, not in live performance, but in a larger way. My most recent work, The People's Project, commissioned by Beyond the Threshold: Seattle International Dance Festival which closed November 16th at Broadway Performance Hall, asked members of the public to step forward who were willing to share their lives with me on camera. Three people stepped forward, Ashutosh, a wealthy entrepreneur; Kim, a recent divorcee and mother of two; Eric and Fawn (and their son), a couple bonded through their love of surfing; and for the forth, I decided to focus on one of the dancers, because the story of why they do what they do, is compelling - not the least because they are so dedicated to something that is itinerant, physically demanding and carries few financial rewards.
|FREEHOLD STUDIO SERIES Blog 2009
Pandora and The Box
By Carolynne Wilcox
Recently returned to Seattle from the east coast, Carolynne received her MFA in Theatre from Towson University. She has produced, performed, written and designed poster artwork throughout the east coast and in Seattle. Check out Carolynne's work in PANDORA AND THE BOX in Freehold's upcoming Studio Series which will be running at Freehold from February 6 through February 28. Photo below: Jake Perrine on left and Carolynne on right.
Despite the piece initially having been envisioned for only one actor (me), Zoe and I decided, due to the way I'd written the script (lots of rapid-fire dialogue), that we needed another actor to voice The Box.
Jake, our mentor and sound designer extraordinaire was finally able to join us in November, to not only talk over some ideas for the sound, but see what we'd done so far. He had been intrigued by the initial, one-person vision of the piece, and questioned our decision to use another actor. I told him it was a compromise between my actor and writer selves, and in the future, I'd try out the one-person version - it'd be easier and less complicated all around to bring in another actor. He said if we felt more comfortable doing this he'd support us, but suggested that the Studio Series, rather than some venue in the future, might be the place to try out the original idea because, "what better place to fail boldly?"
Continued . . .
|Freehold Faculty Performances
Every Wednesday night at Spitfire Grill in Belltown, The Seattle Poetry Slam hosts a spoken word extravaganza. 8 p.m.,
$5 cover, 21 & over IC required, go to www.seattlepoetryslam.org
Elizabeth Heffron has an upcoming workshop of her new play, Bonita, that's being presented through the UW New Play Workshop. The readings are this Friday, Jan. 9th at 7:30pm, and Saturday, Jan. 10, at 4:30pm, at the Ethnic Cultural Theatre, which is located at 3931 Brooklyn Avenue, in the U-District.
The reading is being directed by UW-MFA director Desdemona Chiang, and
the cast includes: Montana Von Fliss, Jane May, Shawn Telford, and
Shanga Parker. The event is FREE!
Marya Sea Kaminski will be opening The Road to Mecca at the Seattle Rep on 1/21 and it runs through 2/14. Marya will be playing the role of Elsa (directed by Leigh Silverman, written by Athol Fugard). For more information, go to www.seattlerep.org. Paul Mullin
will be writing for the first weekend of 14/48. For more information, on 14/48, go to: www.1448fest.com
Matt Smith has a role in "The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle", a film by David Russo which will be seen at the Sundance Film Festival. Annette Toutonghi
will be performing in Freehold's Engaged Theatre Production of Othello
scheduled for January 29, 30, 31 at 8:00 pm at the Raisebeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue. For more information, go to (206) 323-7499 or www.freeholdtheatre.org
THE SEATTLE TIMES 2008 FOOTLIGHT AWARDS
A number of Freehold faculty figured prominantly among many of the productions chosen for the Footlight Awards including Amy Thone and Elizabeth Heffron as well as Oddfellows Building (our old home) which along with Cafe De Paris and the Capitol Hill Arts Center got the "Thanks for the memories" award. To see the complete list of award winners, go to: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thearts/2008557718_footlights28.html
|FREEHOLD STUDENT AND ALUM SHOWS
Erwin Galan did a spokesperson role for a series of training videos for Labor Ready.
Mari Geasair will be performing with
Phillip Mitchell in Three Viewings here in Seattle with Cheshire Cat Theatre Company (Performances at Stone Soup)
from January 16th - February 7th. For more information, www.cheshirecattheatre.weebly.com. Because 2/3 of the cast are Miesner alumni, there is a special Miesner night on Saturday, January 25th - past, and present Freehold Miesner students can get in for $15.00 (tickets are $23.00 at the door.) and also get a free glass of wine! They can order on-line at www.cheshire-cat-theatre.com To get the discount, choose the Miesner Alumni option and enter "repeat" as the password.
Carol Maki will be performing her stand up comedy on January 16 and 17 at the
Rendezvous-Jewelbox Theater, 2322 2nd Ave in Belltown, $10 at the door.
Louise Penberthy is playing Lillian in I Hate Hamlet with Knutzen Family Theatre, opening January 23rd and running for two weekends. For more information, go to www.cityoffederalway.com. Louise is also playing Ouiser in Steel Magnolias with Auburn Regional Theatre, opening March 6th. More info, www.experience-art.org
Check out all the great Freehold talent at Freehold's upcoming
2009 STUDIO SERIES
February 6 through February 28, 2009
Friday and Saturday nights, 7:30 pm
Saturday matinee, 2:00 pm
Suggested Donation: $12
| Collaborative Theatre by Brynna Jourden (continued)
The type of training that I received at LISPA required me to approach
creating (and inevitably watching) theatre in a whole new way. I
learned to value the actor as devisor and the ensemble as a
collaborative group. In school we were given provocations to explore
all the possibilities of how to execute a given assignment. How do we
define the space clearly on stage? How do we establish the characters,
relationships, place and event within the first few moments - even
before using language? What level of energy is needed to hold the space
on stage? How do we keep a sense of play in each moment?
part of this exploration, we had Auto-cours for both years. In these
sessions there was no teacher or director. We were given a theme and a
randomly selected group of fellow students to work with for one week.
We had to create a piece to show to all staff and students the
following Monday. This was an extremely frustrating process at first,
but throughout the two years we learned how to best use the diversity
and skills of the group.
A question I was constantly
struggling with was how to lend myself to a process that involved the
unpredictable nature and often chaotic dynamic of a group? It was in a
class called Creative Process where we learned to examine the group
dynamic. We used exercises to explore the practice of creating theatre
as an ensemble. We explored our own tendencies when in the group and
how the dynamic can drastically change depending on who is involved. We
talked about how to discover the role that was most needed by each of
us in that group on that day. We examined ourselves in these various
roles. This was an eye-opening class for me - to imagine that not only
did the art we were creating take both precision and play, but the
process of working together required a whole other set of abilities.
have been back in Seattle for over a year now and feel I am slowly
finding my place. A big part of making this adjustment was involving
myself with local physical theatre companies. I have worked with
Nebunele Theatre and Memory War Theater Project as well as co-creating
a physical theatre duo: Up High! Productions. They have all been
exciting and challenging processes, and I have learned a great deal
with each project. Each director I have worked with has begun with a
strong idea, a rough draft, a mound of research and a jumping off
point for how to tell the story. The ensemble has been directly
involved in creating the world of the play, and using the physicalities
of the characters to define the story. Our input was encouraged and
used to create scenes and movement sequences. The whole was shaped by
the ensemble with final say and outside perspective coming from the
For me, this is a very exhilirating way to work. I
find it extraordinary to create a piece of theatre through
collaboration. To have a simple idea, and a place to begin with
limitless possibilities of how to tell the story. I believe benefit is
found in having multiple minds focused on one goal, each striving to
serve the ensemble, the story and to share something with the audience.Brynna will be teaching (along with Gin Hammond) VOICE AND BODY: CONNECTING TO TEXT at Freehold beginning January 15. For more information, go to www.freeholdtheatre.org or call us (206) 323-7499.
see Up High! Productions in Hammer Head, a part of NOT ALL CLOWNS ARE BOZOS at Theatre Off Jackson, January 15, 16 & 17, 2009. See
http://www.eartothegroundtheatre.org for more information and to
purchase tickets. Keep an eye out for Nebunele Theatre's upcoming collaborative project in the Spring! Check us out at: www.nebunele.com
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|Ten Thoughts on Acting for Film
by Marya Sea Kaminski (continued)
6. That said, I highly recommend NOT looking at the footage once you've
wrapped a scene. At least in my experience, I never look anything like
I think I do and then the image (that I immediately deem as
dissatisfying) haunts me for hours after I've gone home.
7. Practice keeping track of the way you move and handle props through
a scene. Did you pick up the book with your right hand or your left
hand? Did you turn towards or away from the camera when you walked
away? Consistency is important so that all of the takes can be edited
together and if you get in the habit of keeping track of these details
in your first few takes, then you can really focus on impulse as the
shoot goes on.
8. Act with your belly. Not with your face. I have worked as a stage
actor for so long that sometimes I have the lazy habit of letting my
work get big and animated. At times, this can look RIDICULOUS on camera
and I constantly have to remind myself to act with my entire body even
if it's a close-up. Since this shoot was for a feature-length film, I
had the opportunity to work in the character for a number of days in a
row and tried to practice this as much as I could. There's still a
little dread in me for when the film comes out, though. I think I still
have a lot to learn when it comes to size and subtlety with the camera.
9. Stay professional. Sometimes on long shoots, we would have to fight
the tendency to get punchy. Especially if your scene partner is trying
to work: stay with them, stay with the scene.
10. Have fun. Have serious, serious fun. Part of the magic of working
with digital film is that you can take as many takes as your heart
desires. After you've got a few solid takes of a moment, free yourself
up to play and experiment. A good director will celebrate a happy
Interested in learning more about Acting for the Camera? Check out Freehold's Directing and Acting for the Camera class taught by John Jacobsen (co-founder with Tom Skerritt of thefilmschool) scheduled for January 8 - March 5. For more information, go to: www.freeholdtheatre.org
|The People's Project by Cyrus Khambatta (continued)
Each participant came into the studio one by one to tell their
stories and respond to my penetrating questions, which I let fly as
they occurred to me. Perhaps the most difficult and intriguing was Kim,
the divorcee. She told me many painful details that her children had
not yet heard about the recent divorce and would be learning for the
first time in attending the performance. At one point the children even
came peeking around the corner with their grandmother curious to
listen, but Kim, gently asked them to retire so she could finish. Kim
was adamant that this be revealed, seemingly driven by her zeal to tear
away her former self and taunted by the desire to take an active role
in her own healing, she repeated numerous times, "this is hard, but
it's good." She shared the shame, loneliness, despair and exasperation
that she had and was still experiencing. Perhaps most compelling was
Kim's initial interest in the project. She contacted me through our
website after reading the call. The reason that she gave as to her
desire to participate was that before being divorced herself, she
viewed divorced people as "failed," that they just gave up too easily.
She said she previously had disdain for them - and now I am one of
them," she confessed, "and I want to let anyone else in my situation
know, it is O.K. You will make it through. There are others," she
The interview was difficult for me as well, because
Kim, having a degree in creative writing and currently a marketing
director, was very articulate about her emotional suffering. However, I
could tell, she was simultaneously careful not to deride her ex-husband
with disparaging remarks, so her children could still "have a father,"
as she put it. The combination of caution and palpable urgency of
expressing herself, was heart-wrenching to observe. I could sense her
multifarious emotions cascading down upon her, as she struggled to
ferret through her feelings and issue forth responsible yet clear and
concise words. I was touched by the extremes she went to in being
protective of her children. At one point in the interview, tears welled
up in my eyes. Her story had particular resonance for me. Our mother
from nearly the same age, after an acrimonious divorce that left her
devastated, raised my sister and me. It was almost as if I was staring
into my past and viewing the whole experience from a new perspective. I
felt a certain bond with Kim in her struggles.
Kim and the other
participants all came in at the beginning of the process, when the
dances were yet created. I took much of the inspiration for the works
from the gestures, behaviors and words of the participants. They all
came in again mid way through the process and again at the end and each
time-shared their thoughts on camera. At the final viewing, Kim nearly
cried, Ashutosh didn't know what to make of it (although he said he
liked the movement), Fawn, of Fawn and Eric also cried, even when I
stopped the dancers in the middle because they faltered at the
beginning and needed restarting. I could feel this sense of gratitude
that anyone was taking the time to listen and base a dance work
inspired by their lives. It was a case in which the process of creating
the work was definitely as interesting as the product, and I felt the
audiences of the final works needed to be able to peer into the process
as well. As a result, I incorporated the video interviews made
throughout the process as short snippets placed at the beginning of
each work. They gave context to each of the dances that permitted a
sense of deeper meaning and connection with each of the resulting works
and their corresponding participant, while the dance gave more time for
reflection and elevated the everyday experience into a more broad and
universal struggle of human kind.
The enthralling nature of the process of The People's Project has
compelled me to investigate this questioning methodology further in my
work. For my next work, which I have provisionally titled, Interview
with the American Dream (I just started working with the performers a
couple weeks ago), I have decided to call one person in each of the 50
states of the United States and ask them "what do you think of the
American dream?" I will let you know how it goes - or of course you can
come see and hear the results at the next edition of the festival in
Cyrus will be teaching Physical Theatre at Freehold
(along with Jake Perrine) beginning Feb. 11. In this class, Cyrus will be focusing on The
Viewpoints, which he studied at New York University with the creator
of the technique, Mary Overlie (For those familiar with her, Anne
Bogart began her work with the Viewpoints through Mary at NYU as
well). For more information, www.freeholdtheatre.org or call Freehold
at (206) 323-7499.
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|Pandora and the Box by Carolynne Wilcox (continued)
Zoe and I found ourselves agreeing - and we set to work on an
experiment: see if my dialogue could be easily morphed for one person
somehow - or how could I be both Pandora and the Box, physically?
Jake (at left with Zoe Wright Bell)
orchestrated a couple of physical improvisations for me, taking me
through a series of times and scenarios as Pandora and the various
personalities within the box respectively. After this, we worked a
small section of the script physically.
At first, it felt kind
of silly - me standing there, talking as Pandora, then quickly
squatting and looking up at Pandora as the thing in the Box. But the
more we pressed on, and the more suggestions he gave, the more
plausible it seemed.
Afterwards, I went home and re-worked the
script, looking for places where I could order the text differently.
Zoe and I rehearsed a couple times with this new script, with the
decision that we would definitely go forward as a one-person piece.
joined us again the following Friday, this time with some sound
equipment, and we worked similarly to the way we had with him
previously - with the addition of sound technology. Unfortunately, we
had some technical issues, so we didn't get to do too much with that
until the very end.
Around this point, Zoe started feeling like
she was in unfamiliar territory. We had initially been working in a
very naturalistic way, one I think we were both very comfortable with,
given both our backgrounds in American method acting. I, however, had
just had three years of an MFA in experimental theatre, and that is
completely the language Jake speaks.
To turn the story back
into a one-person piece required a radical departure from naturalism.
This is, after all, a story of gods and titans fighting one another and
releasing evils unto humanity; we're not really concerned with what
Pandora had for breakfast.
The nice thing is, throughout this
process, Zoe and I have had a great line of communication, and I didn't
want her to feel uncomfortable with the experiment, so I sent her a
bunch of links to stuff I'd accessed in grad school, and we had a
little film fest of things I thought might exemplify more what I was
trying to do than, say, Death of a Salesman.
following week, we rehearsed again, and Jake joined us on Friday with -
YAY! - some sound. And I think that really helped to get the idea
across - seeing Zoe's reaction to one of the creepy choral voices
coming out the speaker was priceless! I knew for sure we were on the
right path in our decision at that point.
So here we are, one
month and still many more rehearsals to go. I've revised the script yet
again and am trying to learn how to be two separate characters with a
hands-free mic on and a long cord trailing out behind me. My
transitions from character to character feel horribly clunky, and it's
a challenge to memorize not only my own words, but a whole bunch of
dialogue where I'm supposed to supply my own cues. One month left.
We'll see how it works out!
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