On my way to work in the morning, I dream the dream of my ancestors and of my children’s children, I dream of a Theater for us all.
50 years ago the world celebrated Shakespeare’s 400th birthday. His plays were everywhere, theatres were packed, and Jan Kott’s collection of essays and theatre reviews published under the title, Shakespeare our Contemporary, was all the rage among actors and directors…
During the California gold rush of 1849, people came from all over the country hoping to strike it rich. Sometimes they paid large sums of money for maps that they believed would lead them to riches. They went into the mountains and started to dig, hoping to find that first glimmering of gold in the sand that nature sprinkled through the hills of California....
by HAROLD CLURMAN
We hear much talk nowadays about the theater of participation in which the audience and players fuse and become part of one another. The impulse which prompts propaganda for that sort of theatre is a healthy one. It harks back to the theatre’s origins. Its recurrence now as a battle cry of the younger generation has social meaning. But it should escape no one that the theatre is and always has been the product of such fusion. The theatre is inconceivable in any other terms.
How does an actor create a human soul from a playwright’s words? What does it take to plumb the depths of writer’s work, and allow it to breathe through you for a few hours before an audience?
You did not just watch theatre in ancient Greece. You did theatre. In an amphitheater, the entire community created plays to transform public values. In temples, people performed theatrical rituals to heal themselves physically and spiritually.
Transformation is a powerful achievement. It is part of the original impulse to become an actor. It is also a direct result of artistic inspiration.
In 2009, when I established the Larry Clark Actors Workshop at the University of Missouri, I sat down to chat with Dr. Larry Clark about his career. I wanted to include his brief biography on the webpage for the Workshop. Larry was a grand raconteur. About forty pages later, our wonderful chat became a forty-page interview that I published in the Journal of the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri.
There exists an invisible revolt, apparently painless yet infusing every hour of work, and this is what nourishes “technique.”
I’m a weaver, a weaver of tales. I can weave great adventures, terrible tragedies, tales of romance, seduction and passion. And all of my stories are true – if you want them to be.” Actor, director and playwright are not just what I do. They are who I am.
Where are the Eugene O’Neill’s, Lillian Hellman’s, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Millers, or for that matter, the August Wilson’s of today?
Recently, I asked myself why I chose theatre. It hit me that theatre has the same sense of hard work, storytelling, laughter, community, and purpose that developed me into who I am. These are such tangible things that theatre puts to use through the study and analysis that is involved in becoming a character, through the sharing of a physical space with the audience, through the presentation of a specific narrative that the audience is meant to emotionally relate to. I thought that I was moving away from my upbringing and into the world of art, but truthfully I found the lessons of my youth bound up in the world of the theatre. I appreciate that the elements of my childhood are lessons in how to achieve tangible results in life and in my work. That tangible work is part of the beauty of theatre.
From an early age I was smitten by storytellers and storytelling. Whether it’s intelligent conversation, singing, dancing, small screen, big screen, live theater, I enjoy it. Throughout the years, I’ve performed, written plays that have been produced (some that have not), directed, designed and hung lights, designed and built costumes, designed and created sound effects and music tapes for shows way before iTunes and CD’s.
“Emotions are functional states of the entire organism that involve simultaneously physiological (organic) processes and psychological (mental) processes.” from Susana Bloch’s book, The Alba of Emotions.
In the course of one’s life and career as a professional actor, writer, director, or as a producer you’re made aware of stories of real people who have done and experienced some extraordinary dramatic events in their lives. The artist factor in you comes into play and you feel very strongly and want to commit yourself to somehow memorializing these people and their lives into a play or a screenplay or a novel. There is nothing more satisfying than to dramatize the story of a hero and celebrate their life.
My thirty-year career as a dancer and a choreographer has the typical wild arc of an independent artist.
l. Moving or being moved. 2. moving parts of a mechanism (i.e. clock or watch}. 3a. Body of persons with a common object. 3b. Campaign undertaken by them. 4. Activities or whereabouts of a person or group. 5. Mus. principal subdivision of a longer musical work. 6. Bowel evacuation. 7. Progress.” – Oxford Dictionary, American Edition, 1995
A well-known American Indian truism of life states: “The Universe and Earth are circular and all things end in a circle.”
An essay we find so important we have been making it available since we first published it in 2001. A must read...
In 1963 President John F. Kennedy reminded us with these words:
“I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of our artists. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him…Art is not a form of propaganda, it is a form of truth…Art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgment.”...
I LIKE BEING A PLAYWRIGHT, which is fortunate, since that’s one of the few things that I can do with any competence. And it is nice to be able to pass your life doing that which you feel that you might be doing with some competence, and possibly, possibly even communicating with a few people. Because the function of the arts, is it not, absolute communication – to put us in greater contact with ourselves and with each other, to question our values, to question the status quo, to make us rethink that which we believe we believe. ...
On two evenings, November 8 and 9 of 1977, Jerzy Grotowski held a conference in Portland, Oregon on the Lewis and Clark campus. During those two evenings, a Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, he answered questions from the audience. The first session began at eight in the evening and ended at two in the morning. The second session began at eight but at midnight Grotowski began individual interviews with people who were interested in going to Poland that year for a longer paratheatrical event there. This record is of the conference prior to the interviews. ...
Every time I walk out onto the stage I surrender more and more of myself – trusting and swimming in the freedom of the moment with a deeper consciousness. I tap into the energies of my soul, knowing I’ve come to breathe with those in the audience. Quieting my mind I share with greater clarity and sincerity in the eternal moment. ..
Olympia Dukakis, Jill Navarre, Dijana Milošević, Hartmut Von Lieres, Selma Alisphasic, Tina Chen,
Dr. Niranjan Vanalli, Zainal Abd Latiff, Dragan Jovičić, Sachin Gupta, Odile Gakire Katese, Deborah Asiimwe
Hirshfeld Drawing of Julie Harris and Laurence Luckinbill reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld's exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries, NY.