Honorary Professorship for Dr. Taylor

Philip Taylor, director of doctoral studies in the Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions was recently made an honorary professor at Nanjing Normal University. Dr Taylor’s award was made after his keynote and masterclass presentations at the “Drama, Dream and Children” conference at NNU. This impressive honor builds on the program’s numerous other global links. “Take advantage of Ed Theatre’s international outreach and consider study abroad,” said Taylor, “it is life changing and career building.”

 

Life After NYU: Lucky Disaster

Last year, the blog featured a number of posts from alumni writing about their experiences after graduating from the Program in Educational Theatre. The series continues this year with a post from Megan Minutillo:

Megan Minutillo is an alumni of the Educational Theater program – (ETED M.A. 2009). In October, she will be producing and directing the fourth volume of Lucky Disaster, a concert series that she created.

Lucky Disaster Volume 4 features the music and lyrics of Ryan Scott Oliver, with original monologues inspired by the selected songs written by Anna Ty Bergman, Megan Minutillo, and The Write Teacher(s).

The concert features a cast of recent graduates and current musical theater/acting students – Kerri George, Kasie Gasparini, Melissa Rose Hirsch, Blake Joseph, Angelo McDonough, T.J. Newton, Olivia Polci, Taylor Sorice, and Stephanie Turci, with special guests Gabe Violett and Jessica Vosk!

The Lucky Disaster Concert Series is conceived, produced, and directed by Megan Minutillo, and Lucky Disaster Volume 4 will feature musical direction by Nat Zegree.

Stephanie Turci and Jacob Samuels singing \”Collide\” by Drew Overcash

Additional information about the concert can be obtained by visiting: http://tickets.thecuttingroomnyc.com/event/675061-lucky-disaster-volume-4-new-york/.

The School for Scandal

By Jason Boxer

It is a chilly February evening. The condensed rehearsal process for The School for Scandal is in full swing, and I am unshaven, tired, and behind on homework. With only a month to get this show up, I need to be managing my time wisely. I ought to hop on my bike and head home as rehearsal ends; there’s work to do.

But as I exit the historic Provincetown Playhouse, I decide to linger and talk with friends. Unknowingly, I have just set myself up to bear witness to the most memorable event that two years of collegiate life have thus far provided.

Our director – a Clinical Associate Professor of Educational Theatre – an educational veteran with a PhD, decades of experience, and numerous awards in her field – a woman who I had met only weeks before – approaches us.

“Did you know I can burp on command?” she asks.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Dr. Nancy Smithner burped a mighty burp, and I had found a new role model. I will never forget my time in Scandal, nor the dozens of friendships that were forged in moments like the one described above. Thanks for the burp, Nan. It was very impressive.

New Plays: The Visceral Spirit of Theatre

By Jason Boxer

Perhaps appropriately, I am in many ways an academic lover of theatre. The nuanced design of each Spolin game is an incredible feat to me – the meticulousness with which Aristotle explains story structure is as entertaining to me as any of the plays he influenced – and at the risk of brownnosing, I’ll admit that the history and overarching philosophy delineated in Theater for Change is a great read. (Incoming freshmen, bug David Montgomery to let you read more of that in Intro to Ed Theatre; it’s awesome and it’s a hell of a lot more exciting than Everyman).

Despite all this, I am happy to report that I was pushed out of this theoretical, theatre-nerd comfort zone when I was cast in John P. McEneny’s play Pollywog this past summer. Pollywog was the first of three plays produced for Ed Theatre’s annual New Plays for Young Audience series, and in it I was tasked with bringing to life a 14-ish year old kid named Francis. Punky, misunderstood, and confused, Francis is a supporting character whose biggest contribution to the play is his in-flux sexuality. There are rumors all over school that he is gay.

He eventually comes face to face with the primary spreader of this gossip – Tammy, McEneny’s main character – and the confrontation is a harsh, inelegant one. To put it as the character probably would, the scene hinges upon Francis being really pissed off.

He’s so mad he can’t get his words out. He can’t think. His dialogue – which could ideally be a delicate explanation of profound frustration – comes out bluntly and sloppily. McEneny placed him in the throes of a rabid, involuntary, and quintessentially teenage outburst.

The scene called for a wholly unacademic performer giving a wholly unacademic performance. The words of Spolin, Aristotle, and even our fearless leader David Montgomery weren’t going to help me this time.

I didn’t get it right until our second and final performance. I clenched my fists and felt them moisten with sweat. I spit my lines out antagonistically, genuinely hoping they would hurt Tammy. I began to feel dizzy and nearly out of control. For the first time in my life, I think I was really getting a taste of the living, visceral spirit of theatre, and I loved it. The audience did too.

My identity as a theatre practitioner was challenged by this experience. What kind of phony actor only gets excited about theory – I thought – and worse, what kind of phony teacher only gets excited about the on-paper potential of his field of study? I hope to be neither of those phonies, and New Plays for Young Audiences helped me realize that.

I’ll conclude by confessing that I’m uncertain of one thing and certain of another. The uncertain thing is if the words of Marceau and Lecoq will prove my next big theoretical inspiration. The certain thing is that Everyman is the most boring play ever, and I wish the incoming freshmen good luck in trudging through it.

Educational Theatre students perform in Think Pink, New Plays for Young Audiences 2014; Photo courtesy of Chianan Yen

From the Program Director

By: David Montgomery, PhD

As we prepare to embark on a new school year, I would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to new and returning students to the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU. For many students, the beginning of the school year is a time filled with excitement and anticipation as they prepare to reacquaint themselves with friends, develop new friendships, and enter the next phase of their educational journey.

Summer 2014 for the Program was one of our busiest yet—with courses, projects, international presentations, and performances. Students attending our London study abroad program, Drama and Youth led by Dr. Philip Taylor, took part in a variety of transformative experiences, including TYA programming at Rose Bruford College, site visits to Oily Cart, stimulating Drama in Education workshops and loads of theatre visits!

Our two annual projects on campus, New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) and Looking for Shakespeare, received critical acclaim. For its 17thseason, NPYA presented three new works at the historic Provincetown Playhouse: Pollywog written by John McEneny and directed by Annie Montgomery, Pink Think written by Eric Pfeffinger and directed by Nancy Smithner, and Welcome to Terezin written by Philip Glassborow and directed by Deirdre Lavrakas from the Kennedy Center. The culminating staged readings of each play showcased strong performances from our undergraduate and graduate student actors who worked with the playwrights, directors and dramaturg Cecily O’Neill to help develop the plays. NPYA also collaborated with NYC middle school students as they as they participated in drama workshops connected to the plays, created their own original TYA plays, and provided valuable feedback to the playwrights about their work.

The other major summer project at Washington Square was our young people’s ensemble, Looking for Shakespeare, which presented Twelfth Night. This show was wonderfully mounted and directed by Dr. Jonathan Jones, and produced by alum Robert Stevenson. Adding to this was our ‘Applied Theatre on the Square’ suite of courses, which included a course in Devised Theatre taught by Dr. Nancy Smither, Applied Theatre Praxis taught by Dr. Philip Taylor, and Methods and Materials of Research in Educational Theatre taught by Joe Savlatore. Dr. Amy Cordileone and I also taught courses in directing and drama across the curriculum.

Summer 2014 virtually came and went, but we are exciting for what lies ahead. The Program will continue to offer splendid courses in the three areas of concentrated study: drama education, applied theatre, and play production for artists and educators. Last year, we saw student-teaching transpire throughout NYC schools, teams of Educational Theatre students create applied theatre on a range of social justice issues; an acting troupe travel to schools with adaptations of Shakespeare; various theatre of the oppressed events showcased; directors’ scenes that were presented weekly; and the planning and hosting of an international conference on Teaching Artistry. All of this activity will carry on and grow as we move into 2014 /2015.

For a number of Educational Theatre students, they will be mentored in New York City schools, fulfilling their requirements for teaching certification. This field based work is central to developing professionals, as students plan, implement and evaluate their teaching in partnership with cooperating mentors. Likewise, our wide ranging applied theatre work in community sites, like our prison theatre initiative, will continue with the goal, as stated by Philip Taylor in his book[i], of ‘raising awareness about how we are situated in the world and what we as individuals and as communities might do to make the world a better place.’

Looking toward our exciting production calendar, I will be directing Little Shop of Horrors this fall, which will include a most fitting performance on Halloween. With Rachel Whorton as musical director, it promises to be a whole lot of fun. We invite you to audition for the musical that will be mounted in the Black Box Theatre.  Our Shakespeare to Go (STG) troupe will also be inviting you to audition, as adjunct instructor and alum Daryl Embry will direct a Shakespeare play (TBD) that will travel to various schools in New York City, providing a wonderful theatrical experience for young people.

Our annual storytelling events, produced and curated by Regina Ress, will feature renowned artists from around the globe telling their tales, and our Theatrix! project will keep on profiling new work by students, providing them with opportunities to develop their artistry. Last year was highly memorable as Theatrix brought new musicals to life, and this year promises to be equally stimulating. Theatrix provides a wonderful opportunity for collaboration and looking back, I have seen time and time again the ways in which the relationships developed through Theatrix! have turned into professional artistic relationships after graduation (see Student and Alumni Update on ‘Play/Date’ in this newsletter as an example). Also, our Writers’ Roundtable will maintain their exploration of the roles of structure and accountability in the creative processes of playwrights at various stages of their careers. Finally, superb artistic happenings will take place through the Uproar Theatre Corp and Lamplighters, two active Steinhardt clubs that were formed by Educational Theatre students. All this exciting activity reveals that there are many opportunities for students to get involved in projects outside of their course work.

A program as rich as ours is dependent on great teaching and teamwork.  I am grateful to my colleagues—Philip Taylor, Nan Smithner, Joe Salvatore, Amy Cordileone and Jonathan Jones—as well the exceptional adjunct faculty and our office administrator Rochelle Brown, for all their hard work, dedication and care.

Student and Alumni Updates

Current and Former Faculty and Students Sharon Counts (EDTA ’06), John Del Vecchio (EDTA ’05), Daryl Embry (BS ’05), Emily Kaczmarek (BS ’12), Blake McCarty (EDTC ’08) Jamie Roach (EDTC), Joe Salvatore and Sara Jo Wyllie (ETED ’09) have teamed up for Play/Date, an immersive and voyeuristic theatrical experience set throughout the four levels of Fat Baby, a nightclub and lounge on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. During the performance, the lines between reality and fiction are blurred, allowing guests to view and experience the “show” as it emerges in unlikely ways from unexpected directions.

Jenna Briedis (BS ’14) was hired at Empower Charter School of Crown Heights, Brooklyn as a 6th & 7th Grade ELA Teacher.

Durell Cooper (EDTC ’14) was appointed to the position of Program Manager in Educational and Community Partnerships at Lincoln Center Education. In this role, he will be responsible for leading the recruitment of new teaching artist, implementing professional development workshops, and managing the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Kenan Fellowships.”

Andrew M. Gaines (Doctoral Candidate) has been busy presenting at conferences this past spring, including  Ethical praxis: At intersection of teaching artistry and creative arts therapy. (NYU’s Forum on the Teaching Artist); The digital mirror: Video drama therapy (American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama), and this summer he will chair a symposium with David T. Montgomery, Juliana Saxton, and Ashley Forman entitled, Ethical praxis discourse: Theatre, education, therapy, and activism (American Alliance for Theatre and Education).

Christopher Goslin (EDTC ’10) is going into his second year as the Technical Director and Instructor of Theatre at Florida International University’s Theatre Department in Miami, FL. Previously, he was the Technical Director and Instructor at Miami Dade College in Miami, FL.

Christina Neubrand (EDTC ’06) After four years as the Arts Integration Specialist with Counseling in Schools, Christina recently became the Arts & Leadership Program Manager for The CityKids Foundation.

Donna Kelly Romero (EDTC ’06) received the “To Fill the World with Love” Award from Upper Darby Summer Stage, one of the nation’s oldest and most successful youth theater programs, for “living and teaching the Summer Stage Magic.”  Donna has taught acting and storytelling there since 2007. She currently teaches drama and runs the theater program at Friends Select, a Quaker K-12 school in Philadelphia, and serves as a mentor for the Greater Philadelphia Cappies.

John Shorter (EDTH ’93) is very excited to report that his prop rental business is continuing to grow. This January, he moved into his own warehouse space in Ronkonkoma, on Long Island. His company, Prop Rentals NY worked with over 100 schools across the country this school year on props for their shows. Recently, the company expanded to create themed props for weddings, parties and other events.

Sara Simons (Ph.D. ’13) was accepted to participate in an NEH Summer Seminar/Institute, Finding Mississippi in the National Civil Rights Narrative: Struggle, Institution Building, and Power at the Local Level where she will study the civil rights movement with other scholars from around the country.

 

Kids Receive a Story As an “Explosion”: A Discussion on Storytelling in TYA

By Arielle Sosland

A month ago, Lamplighters, the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Club at NYU had their annual professional development panel. This year’s panel focused on the significance and importance of storytelling in TYA. The panel consisted of six professionals, five panelists and one moderator, of all varying experiences including teaching artists, artistic directors, teachers, and professional storytellers. After the panelists enjoyed some food, tweeted about the panel and took selfies in the style of Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars, we were ready to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Shmidt-Chapman, adjunct Educational Theatre professor acted as moderator and led the conversation in a very dynamic way.

The panelists jumped into the discussion with fervor answering the question, what engages you in a story? James Miles, adjunct professor in Educational Theatre began the conversation articulating the importance of conflict in a story. As an actor, Miles explained he is often drawn toward comedy and comedy usually works best if there is a conflict at the center of the story. Lauren Jost, artistic director of Spellbound Theatre expressed a conflicting opinion explaining that in her work, creating theatre for the very young does not always need a conflict, but rather should be relatable to children and adult audiences. Spencer Lott, Artistic Manager with Trusty Sidekick Theater, enjoys fantasy that has “roots in reality, but is a little bit warped.” Carolyn Fagan, an Education Programs Manager at The New Victory Theater, likes to laugh. She prefers to listen to stories that make her laugh and occasionally surprise her! Lastly, Laura Simms, internationally acclaimed storyteller, writer and humanitarian, loves to watch a shift in the audience as a story is being presented or performed. With a flood of fascinating and differing opinions, our panel had begun.

Next, Shmidt-Chapman brought up the question of the difference in telling a story to young people versus to adults. Miles was the first to answer this question explaining that he finds great importance in making sure under represented populations are in his stories, aka women, minorities, etc. Lott pointed out the overused idea of creating TYA based upon “what we think that kids will want” rather than challenging kids and realizing that kids live in an adult world and therefore can experience theatre similarly. Simms brought up the criticality of finding what is meaningful for children versus adults and bridging the two. Fagan finalizes the answer to the question describing how kids receive a story as an “explosion.” Kids have a visceral reaction to theatre that is less seen in theatre for adult audiences.

Shmidt-Chapman subsequently brings up the topic of the difference between stories in a classroom and stories in a theatre. When presenting a story in a classroom, you immediately lose the aesthetic frame available in a theatre. Simms reminded us that when a story is told without theatrical or spectacular elements, children are able to “see through the focus of [their] own imagination.” Miles adds that in more intimate settings like classrooms, the young listeners are just as involved as the performers themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what is the future of storytelling, asks an eager audience member. Carolyn initiates the conversation with the importance of technology. She retorts that technology should be used to our advantage in telling stories to young people. She reminds us that social media is about telling your story about other people’s stories. Shmidt-Chapman brings in an anecdote about a teacher that had his class participate in Show & Tell by finding Youtube videos that they wanted to show and present to the class. This is using technology and today’s social media world to our advantage. Lott adds that young people desire interactivity and we need to interweave interactivity into our work in TYA.

As we wrapped up with this idea of interactivity, Lamplighters members eager to learn more, got a chance to continue the conversation with our panelists over brunch afterwards. It was thrilling to hear professionals in the field of TYA and storytelling talk about their stances on a fairly narrow topic and I could tell it really excited the group of students about the future of this field.

I want to thank our panelists Carolyn Fagan, Lauren Jost, Spencer Lott, James Miles, and Laura Simms along with our moderator Jonathan Shmidt-Chapman for being so gracious with their time and ideas at this panel! On behalf of Lamplighters, we thank you and look forward to another great panel next year.

Keys to Post-graduation Success

By Jennifer Socas, PhD

I was apprehensive when I was first asked to write about how I was able to obtain my current job, however Dr. Taylor felt this would be helpful to students and give them hope in this grueling job market. If my story is helpful and gives people hope, I am overjoyed.  I feel truly fortunate to have recently secured a full-time position in the Theatre and Speech Department at City College (CUNY) and realize I am one of the lucky ones. Each year, doctoral graduates across the nation embark on their journey to find a job within academia. Many of my talented colleagues are still searching, a few have chosen non-academic jobs, and some have also been very lucky to receive fantastic full-time positions within the academy.

Over the years, I have always focused on cultivating the skills and knowledge I needed to create my own niche. During my job search, I thought about what made me unique and valuable and how my particular expertise would fit into a department. I already knew I wanted to focus on international applied theatre work, and I concentrated my practical work and research on that area. I published on applied theatre work, presented at conferences, and built an international applied theatre organization from the ground up, securing an impressive core team and working with them to expand our programming to East Africa and India. I also knew I wanted to be in a theatre department at a university, so I sought out opportunities to teach theatre, teaching theatre history and acting courses, as well as directing for Pace University. While honing my curriculum vitae and interviewing for positions, I highlighted the depth and breadth of my teaching experience with students from a variety of backgrounds, both nationally and internationally.

Another key to my success was taking advantage of all of the opportunities offered at NYU and using them to enhance my skills in theatre, advising, and administrative work. While at NYU, I took advantage of many of the study abroad options, including studying with legendary theatre practitioner, Augusto Boal in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. I also studied mask and physical theatre in Puerto Rico and Applied Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. I assistant taught numerous courses with our distinguished faculty – Advanced Directing and New Student Seminar with Dr. Nan Smithner, and Dissertation Proposal Seminar with Dr. Philip Taylor. When Dr. Pedro Noguera in Teaching and Learning asked if I would be willing to teach Inquiries III with him, I eagerly agreed.  I made sure that I took copious notes and reflected on each experience so it would enhance my practice and inform my work as an educator and theatre artist. When writing from my classes seemed like it could be published, I sought opportunities to have that work published. Finally, I volunteered for as much administrative work as I could make time for – assisting on programs and prospective student advisement as a Graduate Assistant in the Program in Educational Theatre, mentoring and observing students in Theatre Education at Manhattanville College, and working as the Coordinator for Doctoral Studies in Music and Performing Arts.

Mentorship is an extremely important part of the doctoral process. I feel very lucky to have had great mentors during my time at NYU. As my mentor and Chair of my dissertation, Dr. Philip Taylor was a constant source of support and encouragement. He often found opportunities for me to enhance my understanding of applied theatre, such as suggesting I join the program in Brazil with Augusto Boal. He always gave meticulous feedback on my work and research as a scholar in applied theatre, and even serves on the board of my organization, Global Empowerment Theatre. He encouraged my publication efforts, and he is including a chapter from my dissertation in his upcoming book. Dr. Taylor always believed in my success and that I would find the perfect job for my skills and passions. His unwavering belief in me made the process less daunting and gave me the confidence I needed when I went in for my interviews. I was lucky to have wonderful faculty members supporting my work throughout NYU. Dr. Nan Smithner’s expertise in physical theatre and directing, her deep knowledge of feminist theory, and her detailed feedback on my work helped shape my teaching practice and my dissertation. Dr. Pedro Noguera’s insights into public education and education in East Africa were invaluable, as were his recommendations for next steps in publishing and support of my teaching practice both at NYU and elsewhere.

I know I have been very lucky to receive so many wonderful opportunities, but I also was persistent in seeking out those people and experiences that would enrich my practice and studies. Once again, I hope in some small way this may help one of you to better navigate your way through this fantastic, challenging, and exciting journey to a career you love!

Post-Show Discussions: Structure and Strategies

By Teresa A. Fisher, PhD

This post originally appeared on the TYA/USA Blog on September 13, 2013

Lately, I’ve been questioning my assumption that post-show discussions (PSD) are vital to new play development. So I recently surveyed and interviewed theatre professionals about them. The results revealed a wealth of information about structure and facilitation in the use and understanding of PSDs.

When I am facilitating a PSD, I use the curtain speech to invite the audience to stay for it. I assure them we will not ask them to be critics, but merely offer their reactions. After the reading, I repeat my invitation while handing out feedback forms. After 2-4 minutes (any longer and they leave), I invite folks down to the front of the house. I review the ground rules. I tell them I have questions I can ask, but I want to make sure their voices are heard, as I utilize an open structure. I inform them the playwright has the right not to answer a question and I may even stop him from answering a question. I then ask a question of the playwright (sometimes one to the director and/or actors, if appropriate) to help the audience understand the development process as well as to role model question asking. Then, I open to audience questions. When needed, I jump in to clarify or reframe a question. When our time is up or I sense the playwright or audience is tired, I stop the discussion, even if there are hands still up. I inform folks they can ask me more questions before they leave or email them to me.

In creating the structure of any PSD, once the foundational structure is determined, the facilitator has to weigh a number of factors before modifying that structure. This includes knowing the playwright, facilitator, audience demographics, and the script itself. For example, is the playwright a novice who has no experience in receiving audience feedback or a veteran who is seasoned in doing so?

In determining structure, perhaps the biggest challenge is rethinking the ubiquitous discussion format. In TYA, we are often dealing with a wide audience variety including theatre professionals, families, and youth. Thus a discussion-focused structure may not allow all those voices to be heard. As one survey respondent noted, “Adolescents are generally reluctant to start to give feedback–they look for direction before diving in.  Very young audiences and the college-age-and-up crowd generally jump right into it.” Theatre professionals, especially artistic directors and producers, may focus too much on what they would do with the play, turning the reading and discussion into an audition.

How can we modify the traditional discussion format? The following are a sampling of strategies being used.

  • Pair and Share: Educator and director Robert Colby has audience members respond to questions about the theme or content of the play with a partner before sharing with the larger group. This strategy lets a playwright hear the audiences’ reactions as well as gives less-outspoken audience members a chance to be heard.
  • Role Play/Hotseating: Colby also employs this strategy to facilitate interaction between the audience and the actors in role as their characters from the play.
  • Use observations of the audience: For example, “I noticed when (character) left abruptly in the second scene, almost everyone leaned forward. What were you reacting to in that moment?” This models the type of response sought and helps remind audience members of their visceral reactions to the reading.
  • Plant a question during the curtain speech: embedding a question into the audience’s minds that relates to the theme or another aspect of the play helps focus their attention during the reading.
  • Embed the discussion within the play: For example, if a playwright is uncertain if the story is progressing the way she thinks it should, having the characters speak directly to the audience and solicit where they think the story will or should go next, can help the playwright see if the story is working as envisioned.

In addition to altering the structure, there are alternatives to the PSD entirely. Those include informal gatherings, online or social media feedback, casual conversations, focus groups, and connecting the playwright to a classroom of target youth who see a rehearsal and/or reading and offer their observations in their classroom or separate from other audience members.

This was just a sampling of the information gathered during my research. But one question that comes even from this brief sharing is “Should we throw out post-show discussions?” In some cases, that might be appropriate. But I believe that would be akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. With a concerted effort to shore up and expand how we structure these discussions, with more training of facilitators, and clarity on the purpose of these discussions, I believe they can be successful in helping playwrights or, alternatively, be used to successfully cultivate stronger audiences.

David Montgomery and playwright Ramon Esquivel listening to an audience member’s question during the talkback for “Nasty”

Teresa A. Fisher, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Bronx Community College.  Teresa’s research interests include post-show discussions, citizenship, English language learning, body image, and theatre for health. In addition to teaching and research, she produces New Plays for Young Audiences and Looking for Shakespeare at New York University and is an Artistic Associate with the New Visions/New Voices Play Festival at the Kennedy Center. Contact her at teresa.fisher@bcc.cuny.edu

Teresa A. Fisher, TYA/USA member and Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Bronx Community College, CUNY, has released a new book: Post-Show Discussions in New Play Development (Palgrave Pivot, January 2014).

Study Abroad Puerto Rico – The Ultimate Share

By Marco Santarelli

According to Deborah Hunt, “mankind is a mistake on this earth, but it is only what we create that redeems us.” This was truly inspiring for all of the students who have worked so hard over the course of this trip to enhance their skills in creating something so incredible. Today, the two groups, masks and physical theatre, departed to begin their final rehearsals before the evening performances. Beginning at 10:00am, the physical theatre group took their usual walk to the studio.  We continued to refine and strengthened our pieces in preparation for this final “share.” The amount of sweat and tears acquired before lunch could fill our hotel’s unusable swimming pool.  It was absolutely amazing to watch this group of talented performers continue to strengthen their craft and perfect such a beautiful work of art. Our only mission was to prove ourselves in this art form, which few of us have experienced before this Puerto Rican adventure. It was an honor to share the field of battle with this group.

It was finally time for the masks and physical theatre groups to share their work and reflect on this amazing experience.

As we left the studio to watch the performance that was to be taking place in the courtyard of the Bellas Artes building, we were met by a masked figure with a bell waiting to guide us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once seeing the group of masked figured scattered around the square, I instantly recognized the performers’ dedication and intensity they brought to the piece. We knew we were in for a great show, though strangers enjoying an afternoon coffee had no idea what they were about to experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was clear wearing layer upon layers of black fabric and a mask in 90-degree heat was no easy task, but each performer took on the challenge with ease and created a fantastic show for everyone, including random spectators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was then time to return to the studio for the physical theatre group’s final performance. The two weeks we spent creating, devising, collaborating, altering, and adapting all of these pieces finally proved itself to be a terrific gift for all of us on the stage. Like the mask group, we all created something that was uniquely ours, and we were extremely grateful to share it with such fantastic artists. Throughout this performance, each actor highlighted his or her original work and built an ensemble piece with tremendous support and assistance from our director and warrior in training Javier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both performances were tremendously successful, and it was finally time to leave the stage and take in our final moments as performers in Puerto Rico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But that’s not to say we didn’t celebrate afterwards. The program put together a fantastic party in the studio with terrific food and dessert. Being surrounded by music, dancing, and great friends, it was the perfect way to end an incredible day performing an art form that we have all enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To view additional images from Marco’s blog post, visit:

http://nyuedtheatre.tumblr.com/post/73864255504/the-ultimate-share-january-18th-marco

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For additional information about the our study abroad programs, visit:

http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/edtheatre/programs/summer/abroad

http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/study_abroad/programs/Theatre_Practices