Student and Alumni Updates

Jamie Lerner

Jamie Lerner (BS ‘15) was nominated by Professor Jess Barbagallo to be an Open Arts Research Fellow for a weekend-long workshop exploring questions and issues surrounding the arts.

 

 

 

 

Emily Schorr Lesnick's studentsEmily Schorr Lesnick (ETSS) facilitated workshops on Theatre for Inclusion with teachers from the US & India at edcamps in Ahmedabad and Mumbai while in India on an educators’ trip LINEGlobal. Participants engaged in drama work and discussed how to incorporate theatre into their classrooms. Additionally, Emily co-hosts a live variety show and accompanying podcast called The Soul Glo Project. Soul Glo features established comedic voices and up-and-comers in standup, sketch, improv, music and poetry. Previous guests include SNL writers and performers, Comedy Central performers, and high school students.

Amos MarguliesAmos Margulies (ETED ’11) is currently teaching 11th grade English at the Community School for Social Justice and extended a residency with The Moth for the third year running. He is also one of TDF’s Open Doors teachers. Their mentor is Alex Dinelaris, who this year won an Academy Award for his movie Birdman, and his new musical On Your Feet is coming to Broadway soon. Amos was recently published in the new Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Theater (June 2015), in which he co-wrote the addendum on teaching theater to ELLs.

 

 

Kristen Tregar

Kristen Tregar (EDTC ’14) will be starting the PhD program in Drama and Theatre at University of California, San Diego this coming fall. In addition, this has been the second year of successful collaboration with Jenny MacDonald, one of the tutors from the Dublin study abroad program. Their respective students in Ireland and the US have been collaborating on devised works. In the spring, the Irish and American students came to NYU for an afternoon workshop where they had the chance to meet Nan Smithner.

Site Specific Group Project: Impressions of The High Line

By Aliza Moran, EDTC Student

A devised show sets sail without quite knowing where it will land. For this reason it feels quite risky but it can produce surprises and respond to possibilities unrestricted by fixed narrative.

 

(Collective Statement of IOU Theatre)

Site specific work on the High Line

Absurd, naturalistic, funny, touching, and lyrical are words that best describe The High Line group devised site specific project, which was created during the Educational Theatre Devised Theatre class in the Summer of 2014.  I was challenged by the process of devising a piece of theatre that was fashioned by numerous writers, the explorations through movement, and the observations of the space. Throughout the start of the process I would ask myself questions such as:  How would a group of ten people create a work from scratch in three weeks? What would our piece be about? How could a performance travel through The High Line? The answers to those questions would come along through a creative process that had me wondering at every turn.

Upon the first day of class, I was unsure of what our group project would entail. I originally thought that we would pair with other classmates and create a piece that would be performed in the classroom setting. When I realized that it was the entire class creating a piece of site specific theatre, my thoughts were filled with questions and worries. How are all of these people going to be able to agree on anything?

Site specific work on the High LineI was nervous and excited when the suggestion of performing on The High Line was proposed.  I had never been apart of a site specific theatre piece. I did not know what to expect from the process or how the piece would be created.  It was not until the assigned readings of theory and technique did I understand the methodology for Devised Theatre, which is all about experimentation with ideas, images, and concepts. The process is creatively chaotic but will lead to editing, revision, and re-shaping.

Site specific work on the High LineThe writings that the group created brought about some unique challenges and insight about The High Line. The writings varied in style. For example, there were several works about children and parents interacting in the space, there was a young woman stalking a past lover, and a daughter relaying her dissatisfaction of traveling with her mother by the use of hash tags. Because of the different tones and subjects within the group writings, the question of cohesiveness came into play within the process. What would our work be about? Should we incorporate some fictional historical narratives or should we remain in the present day experiences of The High Line? Should we fuse the two and meld the past and the present to create one cohesive unit?

Site specific work on the High LineAnother challenge in the process creating the piece was The High Line itself. We needed to effectively perform on a 1.45 mile elevated railway park that is surrounded by construction noise fitting our written pieces and new historical narratives fit into the space. We asked: What do we want our audience to gain from the work we created? How would we perform around so many patrons to The High Line – a multitude of tourists, business people and casual onlookers?

The role of director became important to the eventual flow of the piece. Dr. Smithner created a proposed outline of the pieces and suggested rewrites that created a more cohesive project. The inclusion of a few members of the group to brainstorm and edit the structure continued, but the only way to really understand where the different scenes and monologues would work was to physically return to The High Line. Returning to The High Line allowed the group to make adjustments and trouble shoot instances when certain locations would not be available due to noise or patrons lounging within the performance space.

Site specific work on the High LineThe day of performance was an exciting time because we had no real concrete idea about how the performance would be received. The actual performance on The High Line was subject to several challenges — construction noise, unexpected patrons being in performances spaces, and an interruption by the park police all created sense of adventure among the group.  I think that the use of music, movement, and text gave our audience members a varied and playful experience. We came together as an ensemble and worked together to problem solve and create a piece of devised theatre that was unique to that day and the collaborative. What I learned most through the group collaboration was that you must expect the unexpected and move forward. There will be times where the work will not make much sense, but if you stay true to your purpose and goal it will end in an adventure that you did not expect.

NYU Forum on Site-Specific Performance: April 23-26

For our 2015 annual forum, the Program in Educational Theatre is highlighting site-specific performance. Through interdisciplinary panels, performances, and workshops, the forum invites established art makers, emerging artists, and university students to critically engage with spaces on the NYU campus and the greater Washington Square area.

Site-specific explorations have long been embraced by applied theatre practitioners as they collaborate with participants to link performance and community literally on common ground; through participation in such multi-disciplinary encounters, students, community members, and artists may unlock new understanding of the stories imprinted in their surroundings. Moreover, through such collective re-imagining of space, site-specific work moves beyond traditional notions of art and audience, developing nuanced relationships between spectators and space, blurring lines between performers and patrons.

As site-specific performances continue to gain popularity in broader circles and across disciplines, how might we as artists and educators further utilize, build upon, and innovate form while re-examining space as opportunity? What are the implications for artists in community-engaged, educational, and non-traditional performative settings?

Forum Fees

  • NYU Student Registration: $20
  • Other Students Registration: $40
  • General Admission: $75
  • Daily Registration: $30
  • Note: Sunday’s events are free for all STUDENTS

REGISTER HERE

Guiding Questions:

How does space inform, change, and/or dictate conventions of a given performance?

To what extent does space determine audience?

How do we determine which spaces merit performative inquiry?

To what extent does technology inform site-specific performance work?

What can we offer the space as artists, and what can the space offer in return?

What are the educative implications of engaging in and/or developing site-specific artistic encounters?

How are these techniques already present and/or available in classrooms, theatres, and individual practices?

What opportunities exist for audience generation/development?

What connections can be made between artistic skills in traditional performance settings?

THEATRIX: Short Play Festival – THIS WEEKEND

“Theatrix…IN SPACE!”
An Exploration – How Space Affects Performance
 
A Festival of Original Short Plays
Featuring
A Nice Guy Doing Good Things by Jason Boxer
Back by Megan Ibarra
To the Seance by Katelyn Miller
The Sorry Play by Chelsea Hackett
 
Pless Blackbox Theater
82 Washington Square East
This event is open to the public. Tickets are FREE!
 
Tickets can be reserved in advance by clicking on the following links:
Tickets must be picked up 10 minutes prior to start time. Any tickets not retrieved 10 minutes prior to curtain will be distributed to walk up patrons, no exceptions. Tickets will be available for pick up one hour prior to each performance and can be obtained from the house management staff in the lobby of the Blackbox Theatre. The doors to the theatre will open at 15 minutes to curtain.
In the case of a full house, a waiting list will be developed at each performance. Incomplete ticket requests will not be honored.
 
All pieces are being presented this weekend in the Pless Blackbox Theater and AGAIN the following weekend as site-specific works in the NYU Forum on Site-Specific Performance.
For more information on the Forum, and to register for that event, please go to the Forum Information Website.
(NOTE: performances presented during the Forum (Saturday, April 25) are not free, but are part of a larger full-day event)

Summer 2015 on the Square

Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to register for our exciting summer courses here at the Washington Square campus.

Acting: Character Study (MPAET-UE 1052/GE 2252)

An advanced exploration into the tools & techniques of creating character within the context of the world of the play. Through script analysis & attention to style, students will learn how to create the imaginary world in which the character lives. Scenes will be selected from both contemporary & classical genres.

Dramatic Activities in the Secondary Classroom (MPAET-UE 1068/GE 2031)

Theories & practices of educational drama & theatre as applied to the secondary classroom in such areas as learning processes, motivation, communication & classroom management. Attention given to the relationship of drama & theatre to speaking, thinking, writing, reading, history & other curricular subjects. An examination of improvisational techniques as well as play production. Student will use drama & theatre to address the human developmental processes that impact on the 7-12 student’s readiness to learn, such as culture, nutrition, personal safety & community. Laboratory experience required: 15 hours.

Physical Theatre Improvisation (MPAET-UE 1113/GE 2113)

Physical Theatre is the study of physical, vocal & improvisational exercises designed to free the creative imagination & develop performance skills. Through the layering of words, sound & movement, students will hone the essential ingredients & tools of the performer’s craft. Focus will be on vocal & movement techniques exploring atmosphere, imagery, gesture, isolation, abstraction, timing, rhythm, spatial awareness, character development, mime, body graphics, viewpoints, & the theories of Yakim, Delsarte & Laban. The creation of original material will also be studied.

Storytelling in the Classroom (MPAET-GE 2042)

This course will examine the ancient art of storytelling as a performance form (developing expressive tools, creativity, physical & vocal skills); as it has appeared throughout history (in mythology, folk tales, legends, fairy tales, fables); & as it can enhance curricular subject areas (math, science, social studies, literature, & history), relate to the New York State Learning Standards for Arts Education & the Standards for English & Language Arts. Oral history projects will also be explored through the telling of personal stories.

Theatre Practices: Problems in Play Production (MPAET-GE 2152)

Participate in the New Plays Series; attend rehearsals, meetings with the playwrights, directors and dramaturges and experience the procedures of bringing new scripts to life. Theories and methods of play development including script analysis, rehearsals and presentation of works-in-progress. Students in MPAET-GE 2152 work with visiting playwrights, directors, and dramaturgs, attend rehearsals, and participate in the step-by-step procedures of bringing new scripts to life. This practical course, designed for teachers, directors, playwrights and producers, gives particular attention to script selection, play analysis and rehearsal techniques.

Drama in Education I (MPAET-GE 2193)

Relationships of theories of dramatic art to general educational principles; present practices & potential of education drama at all levels of instruction. Uses of theatre & drama in education from the Greeks to present day. The history & philosophy of drama in education as they relate to a variety of classroom strategies, including the use of new technologies. The impact of human developmental processes, such as culture, personal safety, & nutrition on learning through theatre & drama. Individualizing instruction to prepare students with special needs for their highest levels of achievement.

Seminar in Applied Theatre Research (MPAET-GE 2400)

An advanced seminar which examines the key considerations which drive research activity in applied theatre. Students canvas the territory of applied theatre, the purposes of an applied theatre, & the challenges researchers face when designing, implementing & presenting their applied theatre studies. Students create their own applied theatre research project which can include a creative component.

Role Play 1: The Teacher in Role (MPAET-GE 2950)

The technique of stepping into the shoes of someone else is at the heart of educational drama. This course focuses on the use of role play as a strategy in the classroom & similar settings, & it explores how teachers may employ this complex convention. It will define those characteristics that are specific to educational role-play & will provide participants with opportunities to practice the techniques & skills required or its successful implementation. The course will focus primarily on the strategy of teach-in-role.

Creating Theatre with Young People (MPAET-GE 2980)

This course is designed for students who would like to develop knowledge & skills in planning & leading theatre workshops with young people. The course explores the theory & practice of creating theatre with young people from a youth-centered perspective, offers practice in designing workshops, & culminates with an in-course opportunity to initiate practical work with young people.

Directing Youth Theatre: Looking for Shakespeare (MPAET-GE 2982)

This four-week graduate course is an invaluable experience working with a youth acting ensemble, providing the chance to delve into Shakespeare’s language and hone coaching/directing skills. Students will also work with an assistant director, stage manager, designers, and youth ensemble on a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

 

Summer 2015 Educational Theatre Course Roster

Alumni Updates

Alum Christina Kosyla (MA ’11) has been hard at work assisting her second grade drama classes with their audio recording debuts! Her 28 second graders at Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ, have been working on crafting clear enunciation, appropriate projection, and unique character voices. In October, her students produced two Halloween Radio Shows, capturing sound effects and working on creating a spooky environment. In late fall, Audible recording talent Virginia Bosch spoke with the girls about professional recording. As their culminating project, each class worked with a partner to record books by Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss, constructing unique voices to distinguish between characters. These fourteen titles were given to the kindergarten class to serve as a part of the media library for years to come. Christina is proud of her students and thrilled to share with them all she gained while at NYU!

Check out a few of the final products at the Stuart School website

Open Culture in the Asian Century

This summer, the 8th International Drama in Education Research Institute will convene in Singapore. International leaders, scholars, and students will meet for workshops, panels, paper presentations, and fellowship to re-imagine drama education.

Students participating in GET’s program in Zanzibar perform a scene they wrote about arranged marriage

Students participating in GET’s program in Zanzibar perform a scene they wrote about arranged marriage

One of the panels will feature three scholars from the Program in Educational Theatre: Professor Philip Taylor, doctoral candidate Soohyun Ma, and recent doctoral graduate Jennifer Holmes Socas.

The Theatre for Critical Social Change Panel: Hotspots and Healthy Futures will feature panelists from various global zones who will converse on how research enables the case for citizens’ health and well being in times of struggle. Where has the field excelled in making the case for theatre as a vital critical agent? What further scholarship is required? IDIERI creator, Philip Taylor, meets with artist-educators from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

Philip Taylor, (panel chair and IDIERI creator) is very well known to the applied theatre and drama education communities. Author of many influential texts, he teaches at NYU and is delighted to be in Singapore.

Jennifer Holmes, BA (Vassar College), MA (NYU), PhD (NYU) is Assistant Professor at City College of New York in the Theatre and Speech Department. She is the founder and director of Global Empowerment Theatre (GET).

Dr. Holmes working with a GET participant in Zanzibar

Dr. Holmes working with a GET participant in Zanzibar

Soohyun Ma, a Drama Therapist, lectures in Dongduk Women’s University in Korea. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Unveil the Invisible: Addressing Stigma Faced by Unwed Mothers in Korea through an Ethnodrama.”

Registration for IDIERI 8 is still open. Visit the IDIERI website for further details.

A Sense of Gratitude in Real Time

By Elena Stephenson

When I reflect on my directorial contributions for In Real Time, I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude. I feel gratitude for the experience, gratitude for the depth of learning, and gratitude for being able to work with a talented design team and ensemble. This experience was new for me because it was my first time serving as a director for a new play in development.

Table read at first rehearsal.

Table read at first rehearsal.

This past summer I was able to take Problems in Play Production with professor and playwright, Joe Salvatore. During that class, I was able to track the role of a director in the new play development process. That learning got to come full circle once I was able to put it to practice, by working alongside Joe as a director for one of his plays.

Window Cast (L to R): Kirstin Kammermeyer, Megan Ibarra, and Kyla Blocker

Window Cast (L to R): Kirstin Kammermeyer, Megan Ibarra, and Kyla Blocker

I immediately connected with “How do You Say ‘Window’ in Italian?”, catching the Three Sisters Chekhov reference in the title. The play appealed to me because of the strong sibling dynamic and the way that the sisters resembled Olga, Masha, and Irina. It was impossible not to connect to this play on a personal level because of my husband’s work as a nurse, specifically caring for those that suffer from dementia.

Window Cast with director Elena Stephenson (L to R): Kirstin Kammermeyer, Stephenson, Megan Ibarra, and Kyla Blocker

Window Cast with director Elena Stephenson (L to R): Kirstin Kammermeyer, Stephenson, Megan Ibarra, and Kyla Blocker

What I loved most about all these plays is though they were very different, they all held a common thread of exploring human connection and capturing a moment “in real time.”

Photo © Chianan Yen

Photo © Chianan Yen

Directing M Squared

By Nick Robertson

When Joe Salvatore posted the Student Directing notice for In Real Time, I jumped at the opportunity.  I’d taken three directing classes in the department (with Nan Smithner and Amy Cordileone, all of which I highly recommend) and was eager to put the concrete skills I’d learned into real-world practice.  I applied to direct M Squared, a mysterious little play about a semi-schlub of a guy, Chad, whose sedate life is totally disrupted when Marilyn Monroe crashes into his kitchen one night.  As I began my application, I realized skills alone were not going to be enough to successfully direct this show.  The play spoke to me in a very personal way and I would need to acknowledge that, lean into it, and be able to share it with other people in order to do the story justice.  Deep down, what I connected to was this person who’d built a safe and static life, denying himself of some very deep-seated desires (passion! excitement! beauty! glamor!) until his subconscious literally had to wake him up to the possibility of a more integrated and joyous existence.  Talk about a classic equation for comedy!  What followed were three and a half months of continually jumping into the void of vulnerability, sharing a private part of myself through this play, first with Joe, then my cast, then the designers, then finally with the audience.  I found that at each step of the journey, people not only accepted what I shared with them, but supported and appropriated it so that by opening night, all of us were telling the same story from our own very personal points of view.  It was a really magical collaborative experience throughout, and one I hope to replicate in all my other theatrical work.

Photo © Chianan Yen

Photo © Chianan Yen

Program in Educational Theatre Welcomes Students to the New EdD Program

This year, the Program in Educational Theatre will welcome our first students into the new EdD Program. The second of our esteemed new students is Michael Yurchak.

Michael YurchakA teacher once told me that to experience the sensation of being thrilled is to embrace the space where fear and excitement meet. I am thrilled! Thrilled to be embarking on a new journey at NYU and to be returning to the department of Educational Theater after 11 years in the field. I am also truly honored to be invited back to be part of this community. I live in Los Angeles and will be commuting virtually as well as joining study groups and intensive semesters whenever possible. As a teacher, I am particularly influenced by the work I do as an associate instructor of Fitzmaurice Voicework, focused on the release of breath and body tension in order to discover and express with authentic voice. I try to incorporate the principles of this practice into my work as a teaching artist, in an effort to help facilitate the empowerment of students as they seek to make themselves heard. I also perform regularly as a voice artist and actor and (most importantly) I’m a dad to two amazing little creatures (Luca 9 and Sascha 6) who want desperately to see New York City! I hope to focus my doctoral work on the design and implementation of meaningful teaching artist programs within the context of urban nonprofit arts organizations. As equal parts artist, educator, and administrator, I work full time across many facets of the field, and I hope to learn more about ways to add leadership and value to the various organizations I represent. Since I started my career after getting my masters in 2004, I have consistently found connection with and inspiration from fellow NYU alums as mentors, colleagues, and friends all over the country. There is no other program I know of with as far reaching impact, and it is with the most sincere gratitude that I join you!