|The Freehold Forum E-Newsletter
Dear Freehold Community,
We are celebrating a fabulous March which included a very successful Faculty Showcase and Benefit (which you can read all about in this newsletter).
We are heading into April with a newly repainted Acting Studio and lobby area (it's so light and welcoming!) and a strong interest from students in our upcoming spring classes. We have so much to share with you this month and hope you enjoy our April enewsletter offerings including ...
* Faculty Spotlight: Kimberly White* Studio Corner: Jenness Klein
* Freehold Community: Amontaine Aurore
* Freehold Events: Carol Hall - news re: Belltown art walk
* Freehold News and Events plus faculty and alum showsHere's to all the promises of spring ... whatever that conjures up for you ...
(206) 323-7499 x14
Interview with Kimberly White
Freehold is privileged to have incredibly talented faculty members as part of its community. The faculty spotlight will give you the opportunity to get to know these amazing individuals a little bit more ... such as new Freehold Faculty member Kimberly White ...
Kimberly has taught voice & text for the past 15 years. She has been the Text/Voice Director with Seattle Shakespeare Company since 2003, where she has worked on over fifteen productions and directed for the Education program. She has also been a long time faculty member of Shakespeare & Company, based in Lenox, Mass. She served as Associate Director to Tina Packer at the 1999 Harvard/Radcliff production of Richard III. Kimberly has worked with Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Sun Valley Shakespeare Festival, & Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. She coached Gerard Schwartz on the "Musically Speaking" CD series, and recently served as script/voice coach for the award winning documentary, "The Corporal's Boots". Kimberly is a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher, & a member of VASTA. She received her BFA from California Institute of the Arts.
Kimberly, dould you describe your role as a voice/text director, and what are the qualities or abilities you love to see in your students, actors, performers?
As Voice/Text Director I see my job as doing whatever I can to illuminate the story in the clearest, deepest way possible with a focus on the voice. That means I'll work with an actor on everything from a voice issue-tight jaw for instance-to rhetoric, scansion, rhythm, imagery, and various ways to embody the text. At SSC we use the First Folio texts, so I always begin rehearsals with a session on exploring the clues that those texts give us. There is a broad range of experience in the actors that I work with-so to answer the second part of your question I'd say the abilities vary. Almost everyone though can use expanding the range to their voice. The average length of a sentence today is something like 7-10 words ... so what do you do with a 25 verse line sentence? How do you engage an audience, or yourself for that matter in the journey of the thought? You need a huge range of notes to embody & express the thoughts/emotions in these plays. That's something we are not used to doing. Nor are we used to revealing who we are as we speak. There's an opportunity that Shakespeare gives us-to be what we speak. That's very exciting to me. I love that language is physical. Visceral. Immediate. It's risky stuff!
The studio corner is place for you to read about the inspiring and exceptional work being done by our fantastic students. Here is a glimpse into one student's experience at Freehold ...
My Artist Way by Jenness Klein
As artists, we often hear the phrase, 'You've got to get out of the way of yourself.' What does this really mean? For the last ten years, I've worked in musical theatre as a performer and have observed this statement creep up every now and then. We all have experienced the feelings connected to it - feelings of something holding us back, of something preventing us from taking a risk. But who or what exactly is the 'you' getting in the way? And who or what is the yourself that can't fully be expressed but wants so much to? To explore this further in my own life I began the 12-week Artist's Way course at Freehold, team-taught by Kate Gavigan and Gin Hammond.
The course followed the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Through daily journal entries, weekly artistic dates and other activities, the students explored what things really made them come alive while exploring areas of their lives which might be blocking them creatively. We met once a week to talk about our discoveries, our doubts, our growth, and significant moments in the week. Kate and Gin were thoughtful guides to the discussions and created an environment which felt open, safe and fun. The class was not limited to actors. In my class we had actors, painters, writers, singers, teachers, caregivers. In a way, you've got to get out of the way of yourself was familiar to all of us in our various backgrounds. It was a phrase we all wanted to better understand and would have to find our own answers to. For me, my answers became clearer during a recent weekend callback.
|FREEHOLD NEWS AND EVENTS|
Belltown Art Walk - April 2nd
At Freehold - 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Freehold is thrilled to be a part of Belltown's Art Walk - the second Friday of the month. Come to Freehold Friday, April 10th and see the compelling art work of Carol Hall (Carol's painting One Breath is featured below).
Interview with Carol Hall
Were you involved in the arts as a child?
Yes, although I was quickly trounced from performing arts with my first venture in ballet in Kindergarten. I didn't realize we were learning a routine and, when the concert came, I just did my own thing skipping around on the stage while everyone else was doing the same thing. First time I ever heard the saying, "Honey, they weren't laughing at you, they were laughing with you." Does any kid ever really believe that?! I credit Mrs. Ralph in first grade with getting me into art. I was fascinated by her moustache ... and writing stories on the back porch on my mom's manual typewriter. Who needed spelling and words? It's all about the fun of pushing the keys, hearing the clatter, rewinding the ribbon and returning the carriage! Zing zing zing ding!
Freehold's Faculty Transcend and Shine
By Amontaine Aurore
As an artist that is working to deepen my theatrical roots and push the boundaries of my vision, I found much to feed and inspire me at Freehold's recent Faculty Showcase and Benefit at the Poncho Theater. Freehold's instructors exhibited finely-honed skills and great diversity of style in both the classics and original works.
The theme of transcendence weaved its way through the evening, beginning with an excerpt from Gin Hammond's self-penned solo piece, Returning the Bones, the true story of her aunt, a woman that transcended race, gender and the times to attend medical school in 1946. I was struck first by the intimacy of the story, and then by the astounding dexterity with which Gin slipped in and out of her multiple characters, keeping them clearly distinct by smooth shifts in voice and body language.
|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
. PLUS The Seattle Poetry Slam's 2009 Grand Slam will be happening on Sunday, April 26th at Neomo's, doors open at 6:30pm, show at 7:30 pm. $15 advance, $18 at the door. Advance tickets on sale now at: www.ticketswest.com
, select QFCs, Rudy's Barbershops, and Moe Bar. The Poetry Grand Slam is the culmination of a year of weekly competitions at Spitfire in Belltown. The night's winners will be awarded spots on the 2009 Seattle National Poetry Slam Team: the four poets that represent Seattle at the National Poetry Slam against 75 other teams from across the nation and Canada.
TheFilmSchool started its fifth year with a very successful auction on Oscar Night at Pravda Studios, raising over $100,000. John also directed for the third year the Make the Evening Matter show with Steve Tyrell at the Triple Door which raised over $100,000 for colon cancer. John continues to
serve on the board at The ACT Theatre which promises an exciting new season
starting this next month, and John's national cable show, Artists Toolbox,
which interviews artists such as actor Tom Skerritt, director Hal Prince,
architect Tom Kundig, musician Yo-Yo Ma, and writers Reeve Lindberg and
Isabelle Allende, airs starting in June.
Darragh Kennan and Amy Thone
are both in Tale of Two Cities
at Seattle Children's Theatre running March 19 - April 12. For more information, http://www.sct.org/
will be performing in Seven Jewish Children
by Caryl Churchill at New City Theatre in April 24 and 25 and May 1 and 2. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.Brian Yorkey's
play Next to Normal
will be making its Broadway Debut!
Congratulations Brian!! It will come to Broadway's Longacre Theatre, with an official Broadway opening scheduled for April 15. For more information, http://www.nytix.com/Blog/2009/02/next-to-normal-to-play-broadway.html
Freehold engages artists of all levels in training and experimentation so
that they may become more innovative and heartfelt in generating theatre that has a lasting impact
on the community we serve.
|Freehold Student and Alum News
Nancy Guppy is the host of "Art Zone", a dynamic weekly, half-hour local arts show that airs on Seattle Channel 21, as well as streams online: http://www.seattlechannel.org/artzone The Art Zone premieres new episodes every Thursday at 8:00 pm. They are currently in the process of putting together an email list of people that they'd like to be in touch with. As part of this list, you'll receive weekly "Art Zone" updates, including a special 'sneak peek' from each new episode, a weekly newsletter of program premieres on Seattle Channel, and an occasional email about special art features or documentaries on the station. To sign up for the list, send an email to: seattlechannelorg@Seattle.Gov.
John Leith, Lori Stein, Karl Keff and Sachie Mikawa will be performing in The Community Theatre's upcoming show "Wrecks, and other plays" by Neil Labute at Balagan Theatre April 9-26. For more information, http://www.thecommunitytheatre.org/
Monica Chilton will be performing in a new play at Open Circle Theatre called The Center of the Universe running April 24 - May 3rd. For more information, go to: www.octheater.com
Marcel David will be performing the role of Crooks in the following Seattle Public Theater production of Of Mice and Men at the Bathhouse at Greenlake from March 20 through April 12. For more information, http://www.seattlepublictheater.org/
Jenness Klein will be performing in Guys & Dolls with Seattle Musical Theatre running May 8 through May 24th. For more information, http://seattlemusicaltheatre.org/
Rosalyn Le is going to be in Sound Theatre Company's upcoming production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, which runs April 30th - May 17th at Stone Soup Theatre, Thursdays-Sundays. For more information: http://www.soundtheatre.company.org.
Tim Parr will be performing in Auntie Mame with the Driftwood Players, April 17th - May 20th. For more information, go to: http://www.driftwoodplayers.com/
Jenny Schmidt will be performming Puppet TV at the Historic University Theatre. Sunday nights at 7pm. April 26, May 3, & May 10.
Melissa Stenoien can be heard as Imogene Watkins, assistant to Professor Nigel Hammer, in the serial audio-drama called, "The Unspeakable and the Inhuman, episode 7: Lessons and Secrets". It's a serial audio-drama/ soap opera inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. For more information: http://www.neohoodoostudio.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/theunspeakableandtheinhuman
|Interview with Kimberly White
As far as qualities go-I try to bring an openness and flexibility in our collaboration that respects where they are, and that is what I hope from them as well. It's tricky with coaching a show-you have a finite period of time-usually 3-4 weeks-and you have a specific task, so it's very different from teaching. I find the biggest challenge as a voice/text director is discerning if it would be helpful to give a specific note or not, and then if the answer is yes when do I do it and how do I put it? To speak or not to speak! It's such a delicate process and dealing with the voice is intensely personal.
What drew you to Shakespeare's text?
I came to Shakespeare relatively late. I was in my early twenties and had just graduated from California Institute of the Arts. One of my teachers had recommended that I go back to Shakespeare & Company in Lenox for their month-long Intensive. Kristin Linklater, Master Voice Teacher and author of "Freeing the Natural Voice", was one of the founding members of that company and my teacher thought her work would be what I was looking for. She was absolutely right-and the surprise bonus was that I fell in love with Shakespeare's texts. Before I was involved with theater I had spent time drawing and had trained as a dancer. I had a distrust in language. The way I learned to approach Shakespeare was to first assume that there was no subtext and go from there. That was so foreign to me. This language resonates on any level you are able to hear/feel it.
Kimberly will be teaching Shakespeare: Speaking the Verse at Freehold this Spring Quarter starting April 8th. For more information, www.freeholdtheatre.org
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|My Artist Way by Jenness Klein|
It was for a musical. The role I felt very connected to. Three years ago I met my husband in Georgia playing this part and the thought of performing the roles in our hometown of Seattle was very special indeed. This first night of callbacks was singing. All the women were called on to the stage and, one by one, sang verses of the character's songs. I was very familiar with the music so one would think I would be confident with singing these songs. But just the opposite happened. I held back. It was as if I wouldn't take the stage, command this role and in all honesty, my performance was ... well, forgettable. I watched myself do this while this little voice inside was screaming 'What are you doing?"
That night I took some time to write about the experience in my journal. "I'm a professional, why would I do this? I know better than this. What got in the way?' This was a significant moment because we were about 9 weeks into the 'Artist's Way' course and up to this point I felt like I was making great creative progress. All of a sudden it seemed like I took a creative U-turn.
The next day I was talking to a relative. Our conversation revolved around ways we can achieve what we want in life. I mentioned how I thought it was good to say out loud what it is you want. Then she said something that really struck me. "If you ask for what you want, you might become greedy". Something just did not sit well with me on this, so I asked myself: Was there a personal relationship between wanting to be successful as a performer, and the concept of greed that I needed to take a closer look at? Yes! I discovered that in my stepping aside, not 'taking the stage' as one should at an audition/callback, I was feeding a self-sabotaging belief that by 'taking the stage' I might look like I want the part too badly and I might come across as being greedy, insincere, or non-giving. This tiny little notion I held in my head for so long was finally right there in front of me. In you've got to get out of the way of yourself, it turns out that the you getting in the way, was this little unhealthy belief. Now, for the other question, what or who is the yourself ? This became clearer during the second night of callbacks.
That second night was reading from the script. Now having understood what held me back I went in that night feeling much more confident and ready to face that little unhealthy belief should it arise. I felt freer, expressive and commanded the stage when it was my turn. It seemed easier to connect with those I read with, improvise, be imaginative and creative in the moment. Ah ha! Maybe the yourself might simply be called 'our creativity'- that part in us that wants to be expressed, that is always free, uninhibited, that knows how to play. Maybe you've got to get out of the way of yourself simply means: The little inhibiting notions we believe in must be recognized and dealt with so our creativity can flourish.
We all have our own reasons for holding back, for staying blocked. Maybe it's a fear of how we'll be perceived, of judgment, of looking foolish. Maybe it's a fear of actually succeeding in what we love to do, of now being responsible for our art. For whatever reason we do these things ... we do them. This class helped me to identify when I block myself, why I do it and gave me tools to work through these moments.
As the class comes to a close I find it a lovely coincidence that spring is emerging at this time. Like spring, these 12 weeks have been a period of growth and renewal. I look around the room and notice one student, a very elegant woman with dark hair who always wore clothing in cool blues and grays, now dawns a fire engine red coat and a sassy new haircut. Another student, who began class very frustrated with her singing voice has discovered a love for painting, another comments on how he 'notices' things more closely and is much more efficient with his time. Each person came into this with his/her own intention but all of us in some way were looking to unblock or unleash the part of us that wants to flourish as artists and as people.
By the way, I did end up with the part. It was for Guys & Dolls with Seattle Musical Theatre. It runs May 8-24 and I will be performing as Sgt. Sarah Brown opposite my husband as Sky Masterson.
For more information about Seattle Musical Theatre's upcoming production of Guys & Dolls, go to www.seattlemusicaltheatre.org
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|Interview with Carol Hall
have an extensive educational experience in the arts. What was the
best part and the most challenging part of your education?
Best part is definitely having a great studio, staying up all night
talking with other students-artists about our work and the meaning of
(fill in the blank), and being incredibly focused and not distracted by
every day life. Bill Roberts was the first male artist/professor who
encouraged me to push the limits of my expression, even if it ended up
in something disastrous. Let's face it, school for artists is
unbeatable EXCEPT FOR professors who, as one of them said, "I don't
give a shit about what you have to say, I only care about how it is
said." The focus on the product vs. the process took a lot of the
experimentation and spontaneity out of art school. I also hated gallery
whoring where students were subtly encouraged to make art that would
get into galleries. The money came first and the messages that made
money came mostly from males. It was hard to hear my own voice with
all of that going on.
What inspires you in your work as an artist?
Everything I look at, things I hear. No joke. It gets really distracting a lot of the time.
How would you describe your work?
It's about movement in concrete terms, in metaphysical terms, in
spiritual terms, in psychological terms. I think a lot about flow and
passage and blending and separating. Growth, endings, the moment. I
think that's why some of my work is political, some is symbolic, some
is more fantasy. It's about breaking through ... whatever and really
being present in the moment with the experience.
What have you learned from another artist lately?
That lots of people making art are afraid but they keep on producing.
Afraid of making shit, afraid of running out of ideas and energy,
afraid of their work not mattering to anyone, afraid that what is such
a huge part of themselves is inconsequential to the rest of the world,
afraid of "selling out", afraid of not being "good" enough, afraid
people won't "get it" or take them seriously, afraid of giving up and
being miserable. That we all struggle with our fear and we just keep on
going. Because we have to.
Does your work in social work/psychology inform your work (or vice versa) as an artist and if so how?
Wow. Big question. Lee Krasner said something like "Our past is part
of our present is part of our future and one can't isolate or separate
any of the strands." It's all related, going
to work as a psychotherapist and watching the movement, flow and change
and then going home and working on a piece with the same energy
happening. Same process, different canvas ... Michelangelo's idea that the
marble held the form and the artist's job was to chip away at the
"other" until the form was released. Same thing in psychotherapy, same
thing in painting.
Do you have any role models as an artist?
My partner David who writes. I admire his confidence and patience. My
son Cameron who is a jazz musician. I listen to him improvise and hear
the beautiful balance between soul, emotion and theory. My daughter
Mackenzie who has music and art oozing out of her 24/7. Fritz Scholder
who defied labels and boxes and painted what mattered to him. Laura
Love because her music comes from her guts. Melissa Cochran the
quilter because her quilts piece together parts of life even though she
What one piece of advice would you give aspiring artists?
Find someway to feed yourself and buy art supplies until you don't have
to do that anymore. There's no shame in a day job as long as it is
part of your art and your self. Stay away from the product and immerse
yourself in the process. Just because an artist is making a lot of money doesn't mean they can hear their own voice clearly.
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|Freehold's Faculty Transcend and Shine
by Amontaine Aurore
At the other end of the spectrum and in the final night's performance was Marc Kenison, aka, Waxie Moon, and his hilarious take on the opening dance audition scene from A Chorus Line. Using his attitude, dance moves and shapely legs, he was a hoofer trying to transcend the throng of other dancers to get noticed. The removal of more and more articles of clothing while the recording exhorted, "I really need this job!" had the audience hysterical.
Between these two virtuosos, we were treated to excerpts from Shakespeare that felt particularly pertinent and accessible, daring and poignant original material, and passionate spoken word.
Minimal props and simple staging throughout the evening allowed the power of the performances and sheer beauty of the writing to take center stage. Such was the case with Darragh Kennan's monologue from Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. Edmund, a sick and tortured young man, ruminates on the transcendence of suffering and the fleeting identification with something larger than the petty concerns of the everyday world, something divine within. Darragh's heartfelt delivery and the poetry of O'Neill's words, unexpectedly jarred me into a reminder of that divine place within myself. And that ... is the magic ... of theater.
That Freehold's founders and instructors are also regularly working and acclaimed actors, writers and directors, is an attractive incentive for students wanting to make the leap from "this is my dream" to "working professional." For instance, my first class at Freehold was in Marya Kaminski's Solo Performance. It was my dream to write a show that I would take to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland that summer. I was aware of Marya's stunning work at the Seattle Rep in My Name is Rachel Corrie, and I was particularly intrigued by knowing that she had performed at the Fringe several times. My solo piece, Queen Rita's Blues Alley (photo at left), was begun in her class. And yes, I completed it and took it to the Fringe that summer, as well as to New York, and have also performed excerpts at On The Boards, and the Freehold Studio Series in February. The class prepared me to meet the goals and demands for something as challenging (and rewarding) as the Edinburgh Fringe, and gave me the confidence to continue with the evolution of the show.
Now, only one problem: After watching the performances, partaking of the eclectic offerings and getting good and inspired, I can't decide which class to take next. I want it all. I want to create ardent spoken word. To speak like Desdemona as if born to it. To stretch and deepen my characterizations, and tell stories which transcend place and time. Hmmmm ... where did I put my dart?
We at Freehold want to thank all those who attended Freehold's Faculty Showcase and Benefit. The event was a huge success due to your incredibly generous support!
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