The Freehold Forum Summer Quarter 2010
In This Issue
Freehold's Summer Tour by Sarah Harlett
Article by Jesse Putnam
Interview with George Lewis
Faculty News
Summer Class Line-up
Article Headline
Quick Links

Hello Freehold Community,

cloudsHope you are enjoying the sun that has been shining down on all of us the last few days!

We're excited by the prospect of summer as we've got some amazing fun summer plans including performing Freehold's Engaged Theatre tour of JULIUS CAESAR at Seward Park's amphitheater plus two other shows at the Broadway Performance Hall.  Read below on Sarah Harlett's perspective on why she loves to work on the Engaged Theatre Summer Tour.

Shakespeare must definitely be in the air as the bard is on Jesse Putnam's mind as well - check out his article which describes his newfound passion for Shakespeare PLUS we get an update from Buenos Aires from George Lewis.

Wishing you all a glorious summer and look forward to seeing you at JULIUS CAESAR!


Kate Gavigan
PR Manager
Freehold Theatre

TopJuliusCaesarFreehold's Engaged Theatre

Summer Tour

by Sarah Harlett

Sarah Harlett has been an active member of the Seattle Theater community for many years. Locally, Sarah has been seen at Seattle Children's Theater, Intiman, New City Theater, Seattle Shakespeare Company, The Empty Space and On the Boards.  Internationally, she performed at the Centre de Danse in Paris, France with the Megan Murphy Company, staying to create a new performance piece with European artists. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts and received additional training at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland and with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Oxford University. Sarah was a recipient of the Derek Jacobi Scholarship for her training at Oxford.

In 2005, Robin LynJuliusCaesarn Smith asked if I'd be interested in playing Hermione in Freehold's production of The Winter's Tale.  It turned out to be one of the most fulfilling theatrical experiences I have ever had.  An experience that became less about the chance to play this role and much more about the audience. 


The Winter's Tale tour brought us first to the Washington Correctional Center for Women in Purdy.  We made our way through a thorough security screening and set up our touring set in the yard between the guide dog training and the gym.   


I've never experienced audiences like those in Purdy and Monroe Correctional Facilities.   The women at Purdy responded so honestly to The Winter's Tale.  They gasped as the actor playing my husband threw me (with a fake pregnant belly) down to the ground, and were ready to beat the crap out of him afterward. 


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JesseTopWorking into Will

by Jesse Putnam


JessePutnamI've been getting to know a few kings lately. Richard and Henry and his boy Hal. Strangely, I'd been hiding from these characters for years and would've continued to - along with their cohort fairies, jesters, courtiers and queens - had not Freehold's own nobility suggested I meet their maker, a certain William Shakespeare.


You see, for years I had been familiarizing myself with the history, conditions and elements of Shakespeare's life, but conspicuously avoided something rather important: the content of his verse. Of course, I had read some of the plays and seen many performed, but most often my experience was one of hearing the musicality of the language, not understanding much of it. No doubt not the first to endure this ignorance, I resolved to end it by taking a Shakespeare class and started at the top: Amy Thone's class at Freehold.


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JuliusCaesar Save the Date for
Julius Caesar!

Freehold's Engaged Theatre Program Presents:

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Robin Lynn Smith

Wednesday, July 7 at 6:30 pm at Seward Park, Amphitheater
Saturday, July 10 at 8:00 pm at Broadway Performance Hall
Sunday, July 11 at 5:00 pm at Broadway Performance Hall

Tickets:  Pay What You Can

CAST:  Eva Abram, Kjerstine, Anderson, Shawn Belyea, Susanna Burney, Kevin Cavanah, Luisa Figueira de Paula Collova, Sarah Harlett, Trina Harris, Reginald Andre Jackson, Sylvetser Kamara, David Brown King, Kevin McKeon, Kirsten McCory, Lisa Norman, Kate Parker, Lori Evans, Hal Ryder with Butoh Dancers Vanessa Skantze, Jacob Squirrel, Lin Lucas and Musicians, Beth Fleenor and Whitney Lyman.

More Information:  Freehold's Engaged Theatre Summer Tour

GeorgeImageGeorgetopInterview with George Lewis

George Lewis  has been working in the field of movement theatre for over 30 years. His background includes extensive study in corporeal mime with Etienne Decroux in Paris, in the Biomechanics of Meyerhold with Russian master teacher Gennadi Bogdanov, and circus skills at the National Circus School in Paris.  He is one of the founding partners of Freehold and has been teaching acting and movement across the U.S. and Canada since 1978, and currently teaches as core faculty at Freehold.

George, you have been collaborating and directing artists in Argentina on several pieces.  What was the highlight of working with those artists and on their shows?

Well, for me the highlight is always the work in the studio, I have worked or am working on five different pieces since last year, all original clown pieces: two solos, a duo, a group piece, and my own piece. One about suicide, one about clown/Eros, one called Mal de Mar (Seasickness). You know, it's heaven and hell: at times it feels stuck and frustrating and boring and seems like it will never come to fruition. And then there are those rehearsals when everything comes together and it's funny and moving and lovely, and the universe makes sense. The actors are all friends and are all so funny and the process takes us to places that are truly stupid, which I love, and to levels of insanity where worlds collide and anything goes, and the only pitfall is everyday logic.

The pieces that have been performed have been well received, and one got a great review in the big newspaper here with my name mentioned on the first line, so I am rich and famous and have groupies and paparazzi following me everywhere, and that is always nice, but ultimately it is not why I do it.

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Faculty News

CTDoescherCT Doescher will be performing in Wooden O's Othello, July 8 - August 1.  More information: Othello


Robin Lynn Smith will be directing JULIUS CAESAR and Sarah Harlett and Hal Ryder will be performing in Julius Caesar as part of Freehold's Engaged Theatre Program.  Public Performances:  Wednesday, July 7, 6:30 pm, Saturday, July 10th at 8:00 pm and Sunday, July 11 at 5:00 pm.  More information: Freehold's Julius Caesar


Tim Hyland
will direct At the Feet of Doves for Liquid Morality - Opens May 28th, More Information: At the Feet of Doves and will be in Female of the Species at ACT opening June 18.  More information, Female of the Species

John Jacobsen
is stll shooting his tv show for PBS, The Artist Toolbox.  John just interviewed Chef Daniel Boulud (one of the few 4 star chefs in the
US) and Isabel and Ruben Toledo (she did Michelle Obama's dress for the inauguration and he is probably the greatest graphic designer in fashion working, does all Nordstrom's ads), and also filmed the legendary jazz pianist, Ramsey Lewis.  Isabelle Allende is next!  John also just got hired to direct and produce a new tv pilot called The Perfect Sweat for The Discovery Channel.  The FilmSchool just had its 2nd Annual Oscar Night Auction which grossed over $160,000.  John is also buying the rights to a Roald Dahl book and writing the script to make that into a movie.  More information on The Artist Toolbox: http://www.mogajacobsen.com/

Daemond Arrindell produces the Seattle Poetry Slam every Tuesday night at Rebar.  $5.00 tickets. 

George Clown

George Lewis
created 2 clown shows in Argentina this past year. One of them is a solo show with a woman named Victoria Almeida. It is a multimedia clown piece called "The last time I threw myself off a precipice", and tells the story of a clown contemplating suicide. It is performed every Friday night at Teatro Picolino in Palermo at 11:30 pm. There was a 4 star review in La Nacion, the "New York Times of Argentina."  George is going back into rehearsal with Nata Voltage (photo above) with a piece entitled "Mal de Mar" (Sea Sick), which is a kind of clown existential journey. They performed it for 2 months, and will do a more extended run opening in June. If you are going to be in Argentina, George offers comps for both shows!

Amy Thone
will be performing in Wooden O's production of Much Ado About Nothing with her husband Hans Altwies.  Performances will be from July 8 - August 1.  More information, Much Ado About Nothing



Thank you to all of our Auction donors, those who volunteered and those who attended Freehold's La Fête Magnifique at
Tom Douglas' Palace Ballroom.

It was a great success and
we very much appreciate your support!

See you next year!
Student/Alum News

Eva Abram, Kjerstine Anderson, Shawn Belyea, Susanna Burney, Kevin Cavanah, Luisa Figueira de Paula Collova, Trina Harris, Reginald Andre Jackson, Sylvester Kamara, David Brown King, Kevin McKeon, Kirsten McCory, Lisa Norman, Kate Parker, and Lori Evans will all be performing in Freehold's Engaged Theatre Production of Julius Caesar this summer.  Public Performances:  Wednesday, July 7, 6:30 pm, Saturday, July 10th at 8:00 pm and Sunday, July 11 at 5:00 pm.  More information: Freehold's Julius Caesar

FourPlay is a slate of four short plays selected, directed and produced by a small team of local writers and directors in association with Eclectic Theatre Company.  The team includes several Freehold alumni and students including: Jeff Woodbridge, Louise Penberthy, Rebecca Goldberg (directors), Tom Spangenberg, Moll Frothingham, Jenn Hamblin, Eva Abram (actors) and Jesse Putnam (producer).  The mission of FourPlay is to provide an avenue for new Seattle playwrights to see their work onstage.  Shows run the second and third weekends of June at 8 pm at Odd Duck Studio.  The show on Friday the 18th of June will be a benefit for Freehold Theatre in support of our writing programs.  More information here: http://fourplayseattle.weebly.com/index.html

Cathleen O'Malley completed her MFA in physical theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA).  Performed in London, Budapest & Silkeborg, Denmark with grotesque comedy troupe, Relax Your Face.  Have returned to the US to work in Bethlehem, PA with Touchstone Theatre ensemble, a Lecoq-based experimental theatre company there. 

Louise Penberthy's short play The Cougar in the Coffee House is in Little Red Studio's Erotic Shorts festival in June.  In The Cougar in the Coffee House, http://www.littleredstudioseattle.com/
a middle-aged, recently divorced Claire gets an astonishing proposition from a young man of her acquaintance. 


Here are our SIZZLING Summer Classes:

Step I: Intro to Acting with George Lewis
Step I:  Intro to Acting with Sarah Harlett
Step II: Acting with Text with Sarah Harlett
Step III: Basic Scene Study with Marya Sea Kaminski
Acting for the Camera with John Jacobsen
Advanced Clown with George Lewis
Alexander Technique Intensive:  For the Actor's Toolbox with Cathy Madden
Movement Intensive with George Lewis
New Play Lab with Dickey Nesenger
Playwriting I with Paul Mullin
Crafting the 10 Minute Playwith John Longenbaugh
Shakespeare Intensive with Amy Thone
Solo Performance and Presentation with Marya Sea Kaminski

Voice and Voice Over with Gin Hammond

TO REGISTER:  http://www.freeholdtheatre.org/studio
or (206) 323-7499

We look forward to hearing from you!

JuliusContinuedFreehold's Engaged Theatre Summer Tour

by Sarah Harlett

Continued ...

At the Monroe Correctional Facility for Men, they even found new humor for us.  After one character asked "Where is the thief?", one man in the audience raised his hand and said "That's me."  But both audiences were so quiet during Hermione's trial scene, as she plead her innocence and asked the gods for justice.   Their investment in the story we were sharing with them was palpable.


In the 2009 Othello tour, we were given the opportunity to perform in the Maximum Security Unit.  A new location for the tour.  Once we arrived in that unit, it was a struggle not to be nervous as men serving sentences in Maximum Security arrived.  These men were so silent during the performance it was eerie.  I certainly didn't know how they would respond to Othello strangling his wife, Desdemona.  Yet, afterward, they asked incredibly poignant questions about the play and offered amazing insight into our characters.  The kind of questions and comments actors only hope will come out of a post-play discussion. 


All of these audiences were relating so honestly to what we were portraying.  That surprising openness made me feel more responsibility as an actor.  To tell this story honestly and to be present onstage every moment, because this story was for them.


SarahNow, I have begun rehearsal for this summer's Julius Caesar tour.  I've been thinking, if the original actors were storytellers around a fire, then we actors need to remember our craft is the sharing of a story that needs to be told.  Now.  Here.  To this particular audience.  Our judgments about our audience, our ideas about what they will like and won't, our judgments about ourselves and each other, just hinder us.  As Robin has said, this is about "honoring the humans that we all are". 

Public Performances of Julius Caesar:

Wednesday, July 7, 6:30 pm at Seward Park Amphitheater,

5898 Lake Washington Blvd. S.

Saturday, July 10 at 8:00 pm at Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway

Sunday, July 11 at 5:00 pm at Broadway Performance Hall

Tickets:  Pay What You Can

Questions: (206) 323-7499 x14 or kate@freeholdtheatre.org

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JessecontinuedWorking with Will by Jesse Putnam

Continued ...

One of the things I value most about Freehold is thus: the instructors are expert at feeding complex and challenging material to the most frightened minds with minimal violence. In classic Freehold form, Amy started us off with what may be The Bard's most challenging verse to speak. She had each of us select a sonnet and dive into it - learn the language, experience the sounds, look up those strange yet perfect words. Essentially, get to know the poet's voice through (perhaps) his purest verse.


After leafing through my book of Shakespeare's sonnets to find one that struck me, I chose Sonnet 46.


Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war
How to divide the conquest of thy sight;
Mine eye my heart thy picture's sight would bar,
My heart mine eye the freedom of that right.
My heart doth plead that thou in him dost lie --
A closet never pierced with crystal eyes --
But the defendant doth that plea deny
And says in him thy fair appearance lies.
To 'cide this title is impaneled
A quest of thoughts, all tenants to the heart,
And by their verdict is determined
The clear eye's moiety and the dear heart's part:

  As thus; mine eye's due is thy outward part,

  And my heart's right thy inward love of heart.


I wasn't sure why this sonnet caught my attention, but as I studied it, recited it and played with it through performance, I found it landed quite neatly in my heart. Or is it my eye? That is the question it raised for me: which part of my human experience do I credit to for discovering things dear to me, and which do I trust to see the true value of things? The noble but temporal eye, or the sometimes mythic yet dependable heart. That Shakespeare meant to offer this as a broad philosophical dilemma, without a specific target that set off the war between heart and eye, is something scholars may not agree with. But it felt remarkably precise to me - a question I had considered many times, albeit more gracefully posed in this sonnet than in my thoughts.


Having tasted this beautiful language and eager for more, Amy gave each of us a soliloquy to work on. With these we were each coached, as we had been with the sonnets; working ourselves into a relationship with the verse, the characters and the stories. Through the work on my soliloquy I found a joy in the writing that all but replaced the intimidation I once felt. I was given a speech from Henry V - the part at the beginning of the play when Henry responds to the insult of tennis balls given by the Dauphin. As I worked on it I fell in love with all elements of the scene: the language, the character and his needs, the story, even my comrades within the scene (especially Exeter). All elements seemed to fall together in a harmony that I can't recall every experiencing from text before. Ah, so this is what they meant when they told me about Shakespeare: divinely challenging, richly engaging, elegantly constructed. Yea, perfection.


After the soliloquy work I worked on a scene with my classmate Yasmin, who inhabited a perfect Anne for my Richard to woo. That, too, was as rewarding, rich and enjoyable as the soliloquy. (That's another things I value about Freehold: scene partners who are as committed and interested in the work as I am.)


Through this exploration of Shakespeare, I learned a few key things that helped me stay with it in the rough spots: 1) I had every reason to have felt intimidated about learning Shakespeare. As Amy says, "this stuff's hard!" 2) The language is even more beautiful once understood as when it is simply heard as music. 3) There are clearly lifetimes to be spent exploring this material and all one really need do is make a start... and keep starting.


This last point has been most helpful for me. I see now that I had kept myself away from this material out of fear of not understanding it. What Amy and this class has helped me do is allow it to work on me without the pressure of getting it, or, perhaps the artist's most corrosive thought, desiring to master it. For me, the realization that this process of understanding Shakespeare's work is to be enjoyed throughout - even at the very beginning, when the obstacles seem so great - has become a liberating principle; one that I trust, along with the power of the material, will fuel my interest in Shakespeare's plays for a lifetime. And allow me to meet a few more kings.


Amy Thone will be teaching two Shakespeare Intensives this Summer at Freehold.  For more information on these classes:, call us at (206) 323-7499 or go to:  http://freeholdtheatre.org/studio/catalog/149

Jesse Putnam is the producer of the upcoming event called FourPlay at Odd Duck Studio. FourPlay is a slate of four short plays selected, directed and produced by a small team of local writers and directors in association with Eclectic Theatre Company.  The team includes several Freehold alumni and students including: Jeff Woodbridge, Louise Penberthy, Rebecca Goldberg (directors), Tom Spangenberg, Moll Frothingham, Jenn Hamblin, Eva Abram (actors) and Jesse Putnam (producer).  The mission of FourPlay is to provide an avenue for new Seattle playwrights to see their work onstage.  Shows run the second and third weekends of June at 8 pm at Odd Duck Studio.  The show on Friday the 18th of June will be a benefit for Freehold Theatre in support of our writing programs.  More information here:http://fourplayseattle.weebly.com/index.html

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GeorgeContinuedInterview with George Lewis
Continued ...


You've also been teaching movement classes in Argentina. What are the particular challenges and/or benefits of working with the students there? (photo above of George teaching in Buenos Aires)

I'm teaching in Spanish. Hoo boy. My Spanish is better each year, but it is still a challenge, For a long time I could not rely on humor as a teaching tool: I was just not able to be verbally funny. So I had to teach from another place, and that has brought me to a deeper understanding of what this dramatic movement is about, and how it connects to a more Stanislavskian approach to acting.

 It has also forced me to listen more deeply to students' questions. All the speaking is slower, and with more economy of words, so it keeps the discussion from becoming too heady. Something happens with slowness- some space after the question is asked and before a response comes out...some time for consideration. Occasionally I can't find the right word, and some students will jump in with their guesses which is at times hysterical - things out of left field.

Culturally, I don't find a lot of difference in the way they work. Class seems to always start 15 minutes late, but everything is late here. Their commitment level is quite high.

God there's a lot of theatre here. I've seen a lot of great pieces. The challenges of language have been interesting here too. All the values of Freehold: connection, listening, moment to moment truthfulness, clarity and specificity of action - when they are there, I understand so much. It's like the level of theatre that has to exist underneath the text. And it becomes so clear when the directing is imposed on the play, and when it brings out deeper meaning. I saw one piece where the imagery was astonishing but totally disconnected from the life of the play, where the actors did amazing and physically beautiful things, but in the service of nothing. And I saw another piece with four guys in conflict with ever-shifting alliances with the simplest of staging that knocked my socks off.

Small theatre - called "Off" here - is often performed one night a week, and if the piece is successful, can run forever. The small houses work "cooperatively" which means a 60/40 or 70/30 split at the door, the larger part going to the actors. Usually that includes box office support. So you don't have to rent a theatre to do a show, and can be performing a few pieces at the same time. A lot of it starts after 11 PM, and then you go out for dinner afterwards, and that is considered normal. One friend whose show was not doing well at 7:30 pm changed to an 11:30 pm slot and sold out every performance. It's a very interesting model. (photo below of students in George's master class in Buenos Aires)


What have you uncovered or rediscovered in your own work as a performer that stands out for you over the past few months?

Well, I'm working exclusively in clown here. Have taken 4 different classes - there is so much great clown activity that I am sucking up as much as I can. It is as hard for me as it is for my students there at Freehold, and I'm sure they would enjoy seeing me suffer, both in class and in rehearsal. The clown is either present or he is not, and it is seen and felt immediately, and any imposition by the actor on the clown is seen as exactly that, and is never funny. I have found out so much about myself and about my patterns, and have become ferocious about not letting myself off the hook and not letting myself do what is easy and familiar to me. I have been working in the studio three times a week with Marina Barbera who is a good friend and an amazing clown who is working on a solo piece. She will watch me work and direct me/give feedback one session, and I will watch her the next. Lots of exploring- neither of us came in with an idea, although we each had an image as a point of departure. We're videotaping everything. We were in the workshop in Toronto together last year, and so have a common vocabulary. She is working in English, which is hard for her, and my clown is working in Spanish. Again, something more simple and truthful comes through, with mistakes in the choice of words or phrasing that is sometimes hilarious and sometimes poetic. It is also challenging for me because I am both discovering who this clown is at the same time I am exploring material ... discovering his voice and physicality and personal tendencies through his way of responding to different situations.

The work we did in Toronto involved an approach to clown through the creation of six masks, corresponding to the 6 directions. We then 'danced' each mask in the state of experience and the state of innocence, We never spoke of 'character' in this sense, but rather of the masks or different aspects that I suppose one could say makes up character. It is fascinating to experience how these masks seem to be emerging on their own. Of course that means looking at parts of George in his own life that I don't particularly want to look at, but which in some exploded form give the clown more wonderful and exciting dimensions. It's funny, too, although that is not really the goal. But it is so interesting to be going through hell and seeing her - my audience - cracking up.

This is your second year of splitting your year half here and half in Argentina.  What are you noticing about the process of doing so?

It is not easy. I really hit the ground running this year- feel like I have a community, friends, people to work with, and some followers for my teaching. Last year it felt like it took 2 months to get going, and then when I returned to the US, another 2 months to get up to speed there. I hope that will not be the case this time.

I have experienced there and here the challenge of finishing work before leaving. Working in an open ended exploratory way is great, but the actors- and I- don't like to have to drop the project for 6 months. That has happened there as well as here. Again, this year I am hoping that is changing.

'Next year when I come back'- I have forged some connections I'd like to explore. I'd like to see more of the country- travel a bit. More teaching here, and hopefully some co-teaching situations. Go back into rehearsal with the group piece, and put it back in the theatre. Work more with other performers. Direct a play - an absurdist piece- that we'll have to translate ourselves, a piece I've long wanted to work on. Fall in love and have hundreds of babies.

You'll be teaching a movement class and an advanced clown class at Freehold this summer.  In preparing for the advanced clown class, what are you looking forward to addressing with your students?

Deepening the work, enlarging the sense of possibility. Finding the way to take a strong decision and follow through with it. Working with more connection with the audience and with the partner. Allowing everything to be part of the work. Working with different stimuli - color and music, notably. Having fun in the midst of the uncomfortable, the boring, the unknown. Becoming ferocious in all of this.

The more I work with this and with the movement work, the more I can see the amazing potential that each holds for the actor. They feed the dramatic imagination, the sense of possibility, the willingness to commit, to give deeply and generously of oneself, and most importantly, to work from a place of deep enjoyment. Play.

George Lewis will  be back from Buenos Aires this summer and teaching Movement Intensive, Advanced Clown and Intro to Acting at Freehold.

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