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- Jerzy Grotowski

“In everything, without doubt, truth has the advantage over imitation.”
- Cicero

“The actor must constantly remember that he is on the stage for the sake of the public.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“One wishes to know something but the answer is in a form of being more aware – of being open to a richer level of experience.” 
- Peter Brook

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Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance - London’s International Drama School

Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theatre

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Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch - Edwardian Period Style Salon Workshop

Keegan Theatre

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Celebrates its 39th Anniversary

MetroStage Theatre

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Ontological-Hysteric Theatre

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Discovering Lunt & Fontanne

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Coatlicue Theater Company

London's Finborough Theatre

New Repertory Theatre in Boston

The Work of Yat Malmgren: Christopher Fettes’ New Book “A Peopled Labyrinth”

Terry Knickerbocker Studio in New York City

“One wishes to know something but the answer is in a form of being more aware – of being open to a richer level of experience.” 
- Peter Brook

Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art

“Cultivate an ever continuous power of observation. Above all things, see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.” – John Singer Sargent

“So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music is some living form will accompany and sustain it.” – Aaron Copland

“The poem, the song, the picture, is only water drawn from the well of the people, and it should be given back to them in a cup of beauty so that they may drink - and in drinking understand themselves.” – Federico García Lorca

“Art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light.” – Jerzy Grotowski

“Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others.” – Danny Thomas

“There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we've discovered in its pure state.” – John Coltrane

“Living consciously involves being genuine; it involves listening and  responding to others honestly and openly; it involves being in the moment.” – Sidney Poitier

“Art became the first teacher of nations.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

 

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch”
– Edwardian Period Style Salon

A “Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” is a Site Specific Period Style Performance – a direct extension of the extraordinary body of work created by my mentor and master teacher, Loyd Williamson, and was first inspired by his mentor, Anna Sokolow.

“The actors would begin to create the era in their own imagination and then place themselves in it. They might give themselves a name, age, and any other characteristics that emerged from their imaginations. The next step would be to set the actors into motion having them live out some simple fantasy event in that world with the other actors in the room. The purpose is to let the character’s physical behavior develop out of the people and surroundings that they were experiencing in this imaginary world This approach, I feel is one of the most important contributions that Anna Sokolow has given to the discipline of Movement for Actors” ~ Loyd Williamson.

After co-teaching Period Style at Actors Movement Studio for many years, and performing in several Period Salons with Loyd Williamson's expertise and love, as he would guide us into the world of the playwrights of the Elizabethan, Restoration/ Baroque and Late Victorian/Edwardian eras, I began my journey into teaching ‘Williamson Period Style Salons.’

Because of my undergraduate background in Painting and Art History, I felt that I had come home to a place where these two art forms could merge in the “physical dramaturgy” of Period Style.

My dream for this extraordinary legacy and body of work was to find a historic site-specific home for the Period Style Salon. Two years ago, I became a member of The Players, a club formed by Edwin Booth and housed in his extraordinary 1880’s mansion on Gramercy Park in New York City.

My first site specific Salon at The Players was ‘A Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – an Edwardian period style event with Atlantic Theater Company’s BFA students of the Tisch School of the Arts.

A collection of historic characters Waltzed and Grand Marched through The Players ballroom performing a procession of court bows with agrand promenade of Royal and Imperialintroductions. The characters in the Period Style Salon ranged from Royal and Imperial Majesties to the artist class, with historic legacies ranging from Nicholas Romanov to Oscar Wilde.

The audience members were able to partake in delightful moments of first-hand interaction with the characters as they entered from the second floor down an elegant Edwardian staircase to the ballroom from the Great Hall of The Players mansion.

The Etude is an improvisational, reenactment with a clear structure like a ballroom Dance Card with a succession of events, and occasional interaction directly with the audience.

At times the characters, in a formal tableau ‘portrait,’ would break the “fourth wall”, to directly address members of an invited audience who would peer into the world to witness, the characters talk about their lives, joys, sorrows, scandals, and hopeful dreams.

An Audience might encounter Sarah Bernhardt’s portrait-tableaux with other Grand Ball artists such as Oscar Wilde, Lilly Langtry, Henry Irving and or Ellen Terry, stepping toward the audience,breaking the “fourth wall,” with a flourishing fan gesture and full court bow, to address the audience with this opening quote:

Mark Twain once wrote, “there are five kinds of actresses, bad ones, fair ones, good ones, great ones, and then there is Sarah Bernhardt.”

The photographs in this essay are from an Edwardian Period Style Salon with thirty-two actors from Tom Todoroff’s Conservatory.

When creating a Salon the young actors transform into a collection of historic personages as; the celebrated Edwardian Actor Edwin Booth and his portrait painter John Singer Sargent, escorted by Lilly Langtry, Lady Brooke, Ellen Terry and Henry Irving – all of whom Sargent had painted a portrait of.

A rumor recorded in my diary,” Ellen Terry noted, “Henry Irving upon seeing his unflattering Sergeant portrait destroyed it.”

We witness a number of scandalous and historic romances of the Edwardian Era. Characters who hobnobbed in social circles as the "Marlborough Set" including the tragic love story of Nicholas Romanov and Alex of Hesse, Lady Randolph Churchill and Count Kinsky, Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, the unhappy Consuelo Vanderbilt and her consoling admirer Winston Churchill, The Prince of Wales and his Entourage of Mistresses ranging from aristocracy to artistry.

My gratitude goes to my mentor, Loyd Williamson, who gave me and other young teachers the tools and inspiration to teach this extraordinary body of work and to grow as a theater artist with his guidance.

“The Salon Project is a method for training actors in styles of movement in various eras of history. The guiding concept is that an actor learns the style of an era by living in the era that produced the style. The Salon Project is an opportunity for the actors to create for themselves a living experience of the epoch that they are studying. It is a resource exercise that is constructed out of what the actors themselves bring to the class. With extensive research in the liberal arts of the era: history, biography, political diplomacy, literature, religion, theater, art, music, dance, architecture, the art of fashion.” ~ Loyd Williamson

For info: Janice Orlandi, Artistic Director, Actors Movement Conservatory NYC,ams@actorsmovementstudio.com,actorschekhovstudio@gmail.com, 917-601-2783,www.actorsmovementstudio.com

 



"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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