Today we'll be embarking on our journey together to mount one of the greatest musicals ever produced, based on one of the greatest books ever written. What we're about to do is one of the most ambitious and exciting projects I've worked on in my 15+ years of directing and producing educational theatre.
One of the first tasks we have ahead of us is getting to know each other as both individuals within a production and as an ensemble. Because of this, I asked our producer, Mr. Grossman, back in the early planning stages of this show if I could have one-to-two full rehearsals to work with you all on movement, physical presence, and a sense of ensemble. Tomorrow is the first of two rehearsals where we'll be taking the time to explore some of the most fundamental elements of acting & performance, so I wanted to take some time to prepare you all for what lies ahead for both rehearsals.
A note before we proceed:
None of what I'm about to say is "secret info" or some elaborate method I concocted through theatrical alchemy. The method is called "Viewpoints" and was developed by a woman named Anne Bogart. There is a fantastic book you can research called, "The Viewpoints Book," as well as YouTube videos, blogs, vlogs, and countless online resources dedicated to what we'll be working with. I encourage all of you to, "read ahead" and familiarize yourselves with Viewpoints as much as you'd like.
None of what we'll be doing is the method to use when acting, and those of you who act know this. There are countless methods actors use to prepare for a role, study, and perform. Some are obviously better than others, but none are 100% guranteed to work with every actor. What we do as actors and directors is try the methods we feel are best suited to situations, stories, or people. When one method doesn't work, we try another one! Since this is educational theatre, the objective is for you to learn as much as you can about the process and craft of acting!
What is Viewpoints?
Taking the definition straight from the book:
"Viewpoints is a philosophy translated into a technique for training performers, building ensembles, and creating movement for the stage." We work with nine Physical Viewpoints. They are:
Within Viewpoints, there is also Composition. We use Composition to create new work, selecting & arranging components of theatrical language into a cohesive work of art for the stage. We also use Composition to engage with other art forms, such as dance, visual art, sculpture, or music as well as engage each other as collaborators and essential participants in the creative process.
How do I prepare for each workshop?
Let's start practically here and address our attire for each workshop and rehearsal:
Be sure to bring a full bottle of water as well as a snack with some protein or a simple sugar, in case you need an energy boost. (Fruit or granola is lighter & will last a bit longer over energy drinks, coffee, or chocolate.)
In a more mental or emotional sense, I encourage all of you to arrive as open-minded as you possibly can. Each workshop is going to ask you to take risks both physically and mentally as well as place an enormous amount of trust in one another. Do what you need to do prior to rehearsal to be able to enter the space ready to explore, create, and collaborate!
I'm looking forward to seeing you all today and working with you tomorrow!