Shakespeare’s Globe

This post originally appeared on a blog for our 2018 Study Abroad Program in London.

By Brooke Snow

Today was an incredibly fulfilling and thought provoking day of growth. It’s days like today where I find myself thinking about how lucky I am to be a graduate student at NYU. This morning, we had a two hour workshop with Cecily O’Neill. I’ve worked with Cecily before, but this time was easily the most engaged I’ve ever felt with process drama. Our entire drama revolved around displaced people looking for their family in a time of a national tragedy. This drama felt particularly relevant due to what is currently happening at the Mexican-American border. I’ve done things similar to process dramas in the past, but never fully led one. I’d certainly be interested to conduct a drama about a current social issue. Process dramas definitely foster create empathy, and I found this particular one to be rather compelling.

The second half of our day is something I’ll never forget. We got to do a workshop at the Globe! We went to the Globe’s Sackler Studios and worked with actor-educator Tas Emiabata. Tas was full of passion and excitement. He was incredibly eager to teach us and really thrived off the energy in the room. If I’m a fraction as good and engaging of a teacher as Tas, I would be pleased. I felt like I learned so much just by watching him teach. Tas taught us a lot of incredible techniques on how to teach students the basics of Shakespeare. I really enjoyed the four archetypes. I think that that exercise is a wonderful way to teach all ages about the text and characters. I can just picture my elementary school kids running around our space as the trickster character. I also enjoyed how simple iambic pentameter became after Tas explained the Haka.  I’ve always had difficulty worked with iambic pentameter, and I feel now feel completely confident to teach it to my students.

After our wonderful workshop, we saw the Globe’s production of The Winter’s Tale, a play I had never seen or read before. I found the story quite interesting and unlike any other Shakespeare play I’ve encountered. The acting was strong, and I appreciated many of the directing choices. I’ve been on a tour of the Globe before, but I’ve never seen a show there. I’m glad I got to check that off of my bucket list! Overall, today was incredible, and I am so thrilled that this experience is giving me all of these wonderful tools I can take home.

The stage view at the Globe TheatreThe NYU students and Professor David Montgomery


More information about the Study Abroad programs can be accessed on the NYU Steinhardt Global Programs Website.

40 Conventions and Counting

This post originally appeared on a blog for our 2018 Study Abroad Program in London.

By Carey Urban

Today we continued the work Dr. William Barlow began with us on July 12. Last Thursday, he introduced us to several evocative images and a song, and we began playing with conventions designed to scaffold toward the devising of an original piece of drama. Dr. Barlow’s motto is that if we as educators don’t help young people deal with difficult situations and emotions, who will? “I don’t see the point in doing work that’s not relevant,” he says. “Walk into the challenging emotion; not away from it,” with the safety of dramatic distance! Collectively, the group decided to focus on a story about a divorce between the parents of a boy we named Toby.

A Day in the Life chart for the character Toby showing events during a typical day in his life

We re-convened in smaller groups that had been established in the previous workshop to work in depth with conventions such as Tableau, Timeline, Teacher-in-Role, A Day In the Life, Collective Character, Hot Seating, Shape-Shifting, Telephone Conversations, Cross-Cutting, Altar Ego, Circular Drama and many more- over 40 in all! By day’s end, each group had devised 7-10 minutes of original material and everyone got to show off their acting chops to the group, including Dr. Barlow as Toby as Teacher-in-Role in a delightfully inclusive round of Circular Drama.

List of some of the 40 strategies used today including: theory building, caption, the ripple, thought tracking, circle of life, first impression, the ice berg, objects of the character, group structure, montage, space between, timeline, overheard conversations, good/bad angel, walls have ears, small group play, alter ego, teacher in role, a day in the life, shape shift, and collective character

It was an ideal workshop for our last day before our curriculum assignments are due, as it was packed with varied and combined uses of conventions and procedures we can now use to enrich and vary our lesson plans. Sadly, though, it was our last day of class with Dr. Barlow and we have to wish him happy trails tomorrow 😦 We’re in the home stretch now: Today was Day 14 of an overall 19-day program.

Collectively I bet we’ve easily seen over 100 plays in that brief time. I for one am already getting melancholy about the experience coming to a close. But we still have a busy program this week and at least one more night out at the theatre together to look forward to. As I write this, I know many of us are burning the midnight oil typing away at our curriculum assignments. Good luck everyone, and don’t stay up to late!


More information about the Study Abroad programs can be accessed on the NYU Steinhardt Global Programs Website.

Look Back at LFS

Here are a few additional photos from Looking for Shakespeare 2016’s production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Nan Smithner.

Ensemble members Ivan Birchall and Adi Sragovich

Ensemble members Ivan Birchall and Adi Sragovich

The Looking for Shakespeare 2016 ensemble

The Looking for Shakespeare 2016 ensemble

At Look Back at Looking for Shakespeare 2013

By Robert Reid Goodson

As an educator, we are taught that we must reflect upon our work. Some scholars suggest that this process should be immediate, while others suggest we marinate on the work, then reflect. It wasn’t until recently with my prep work for Steel Magnolias that I began to reflect upon the 2013 Looking for Shakespeare Production of As You Like It. Yes, it’s been quite a few months since those June rehearsals and a lot has changed for all of us since then. But, for me, this reflection is necessary as I move forward in my own work as Managing Director for the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts in Tifton, Georgia.

June 26, 2013, I along with seven other graduate students began the journey of Looking for Shakespeare accompanied by 23 students. Like sailors on a ship, our captain was the talented and revered Dr. Nan Smithner. As the days unfolded, actors cast, scheduled set, and rehearsals commenced, the words on the pages, yet again, began to dance into life. Our production was set between 1968 – 1972, in a very distinct moment in time when love and harmony were an unstoppable force.

Dr. Nan Smithner advises the cast of As You Like It

Dr. Nan Smithner advises the cast of As You Like It

Each day, exercises helped to build the confidence level of the cast. Not each day was perfect, and during some rehearsals tension was high, but through the grad students leadership, that journey persevered. We were blessed with original music, created by our own Natalie Mack, to embellish the portrayed story. Music rehearsals, scene work, fight choreography, dance choreography, costume fittings, staging, and run-throughs consumed our days for four weeks. But in the end, we did it. Our group created and breathed life into a run of As You Like It.

 

 

Music rehearsal.

Throughout the process, friendships and rapport were established with the students. Hopes, goals and dreams were shared and memories were made in the Black Box. A very unique and diverse group of individuals came together for an unforgettable weekend run. Though it has been several months since this event happened, I rejoice in the fact that I was part of the magic of NYU.  Were there things that I would have changed? Sure. But, isn’t that the point of reflection; to look back, examine, marinate and take note of the experience to enhance our educator tool box? I can say that I am a better artist because of the people I worked with. The students, reconfirmed, that I will first and foremost be an educator in any job I perform. For, they are the true reason; I am in the theatre arts profession. To my colleagues, thank you for sharing your talents with the students and with me. I certainly have some new tools to add to my bag of tricks. To Nan, where would our program be without you? You made the experience unforgettable and are always leading by example a high standard for theatre educators.

As You Like It in performance

As You Like It in performance

Many months have passed. But as I look back, I smile and treasure those short four weeks. We found Shakespeare and I have no doubt that this year’s summer production will find him too.  Like Rosalind said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players: they have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts”.  Which part will you play today as you reflect and continue upon your theatrical journey?

Looking for Shakespeare 2014

Looking for Shakespeare 2014

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Each summer since 1999, a group of 15-25 young people from the New York City community participate in Looking for Shakespeare. High school students work with a director and graduate students from NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre to shape an original production of Shakespeare. The program was expanded to include students from across the country in 2009.

This summer, the 2014 production will be Twelfth Night staged as a musical vaudeville. Interested young people can apply at the LFS website and interested graduate students should register for MPAET:GE 2982 Directing Youth Theatre with Prof. Jonathan Jones