The Freehold Forum E-Newsletter
     JANUARY 2009
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In This Issue
Brynna Jourden
Marya Sea Kaminski
Cyrus Khambatta
Carolynne Wilcox
Freehold Faculty Performances
Freehold Student and Alum Shows
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!

 
Best,

Kate

Kate Gavigan
PR Manager
Freehold Theatre
kate@freeholdtheatre.org
brynnatopcollaborCollaborative Theatre
By 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.

Continued ...

MishabacktotopTen Thoughts On Acting For Film
By Marya Sea Kaminski

actorsMarya 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. 

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.

Continued ...
 FREEHOLD NEWS AND EVENTS

Belltown Art Walk
at Freehold this Friday,
January 9th, 6:00-8:00 pm
FREE

Didn't get a chance to check out our art walk
last month?
No worries ...

actors
Here is a chance to see the work of two more incredibly talented artists, Annya UslontsevYvonnepica 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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actorsFreehold's Engaged Theatre Production of
OTHELLO

January 29, 30, 31
8:00 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 OTHELL
O - 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.

actors
Reggie Jackson as Iago (left)
Sylvester Kamara as Othello (right)


For more information, www.freeholdtheatre.org
or
call us at (206) 323-7499

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 
Freehold's Winter Classes are
Now Open for Registration

Check out all of our new classes!
www.freeholdtheatre.org
(206) 323-7499

CyruspicTopCyrusThe People's Project
by 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.

Continued ...

CarolynnetopFREEHOLD 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.

actors
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

Daemond Arrindell. 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

Collabanchor 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?

As a 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.

I 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 director.

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.

Come 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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MaryatopofpageTen Thoughts on Acting for Film
by Marya Sea Kaminski (continued)


marypic2 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 accident.

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
CyruscontinuedThe 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 trailed off.

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 June, 2009.

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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WilcoxcontinuedPandora 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?

carolynnethree
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.

Jake 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.

The 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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