Posted by Kristin Hall on 7/28/2017
Still trying to catch up with sharing my experiences from NYC. On the second workshop day I attended a workshop with two actor/directors from Fiasco Theatre Company. They approach rehearsals a little differently to the traditional routine. Their work is focused on re-discovering the text, and on ensemble.
Imagine about 60 drama teachers sitting on the floor of the black box theater in a circle. Yes, we all love circles (particularly when we are focusing on ensemble building) and, yes,Ms. Hall is far from the only drama teacher who sits on the floor!
We looked at a scene from Hamlet and a song from Into the Woods, reading each one as a whole group, in a variety of ways, to see what we discovered. I knew both of these extracts very well, but reading them together, breaking up the speech in different ways, led to me noticing new things about the mood and the tensions in the scenes. Of course, they were both extremely well written bits of text ... the Fiasco members did note that their techniques are designed to be used with masterfully written plays, for which the playwrights used language very artfully.
They explained that they don't cast their plays until a few weeks into rehearsals. Until that point they all play all the different parts, and it frees them to discover the unexpected.
Some of these techniques will definitely be appearing in LPS drama classes and show rehearsals this year. Never again will actors just sit quietly and listen through long sections of a read through in the first rehearsal! And maybe there will be a little Shakespeare coming in the next few years ...