Friday, July 10, 2015

Behind the Scenes at the Opera House: Bridgman|Packer Dance

Bridgman|Packer Dance is coming back to Stonington next week - July 16-19 - and they're bringing two fantastic productions with them. We asked them to talk a little about their new work...

We are excited to be returning to Opera House Arts, bringing Remembering What Never Happened and Truck, two works that we have created since we were at the Opera House in 2013. It is particularly exciting that Opera House Arts is a co-commissioner of Remembering What Never Happened through a National Performance Network Creation Fund Award. We so appreciate the support!

These two works are an expansion of our work integrating live performance and video technology. Remembering What Never Happened looks at the intersection of memory and imagination, at how our memories transform over time. In a departure from past work, our use of video on stage moves from photo realism to a more surreal palette. We interact with video projections of our images that morph and explode into digital re-interpretations of the human body, while scenes shot on location in the Mojave Desert transform into strange and unreal landscapes. Memory becomes a constantly shifting territory as we delve into the changeable nature of time, form, perception, and identity.

Our work Truck is also about transformation, this time of an environment. The work is designed to be performed in a 17 foot box truck, which evolves from an ordinary and utilitarian vehicle  into a re-imagined space. Altered use of a space has always interested us. We lived for years in a loft in NYC that used to be a factory, and we currently rehearse in a studio created in a barn. We are excited that performing in a truck also brings performance to unexpected locations. Truck can be performed anywhere that a truck can be parked. Besides being part of our evening performances at the Opera House, Truck will be presented at several other sites during the week that we are in Stonington. Look for us!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Flying Through Stonington

We are so intensely excited to welcome Kevin the Seagull to Stonington for his starring role in Chekhov's The Seagull. Happily, he seems just as over-the-moon to be joining us. He's begun exploring Stonington, so if you see him around be sure to say hi!

In the mean time, he's documenting his journey on Twitter and Instagram. Even if you don't have accounts with those sites, you can check out what he's up to. If you want to ensure that you get to see him in person (in bird?), making his exciting OHA debut, get your tickets to The Seagull today. Seating is limited and performances are already selling out!

Throwback Thursday

DSCF0696_2Q2: Habitat Seagulls danced up a storm at the Settlement Quarry in 2009. 
Next week we’re bringing back the best of both the dance and gull worlds… Bridgman|Packer Dance is returning after their successful 2013 production of Voyeur with TRUCK and Remembering What Never HappenedPlus The Seagull by Anton Chekhov will be at breathtaking Ames Farm. Get your tickets for these two spectacular productions today!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Everything You Need Is Already Around You

Per Janson has returned to Deer Isle for not only this year's Island Arts Camp, but also OHA's new Actor's Boot Camp for students 15-22 - a program born from informal gatherings between Per and the OHA interns last year. We asked Per about that process and what this summer holds. Here's what he had to say...

Last summer, while rehearsing and performing at the Opera House, I had the good fortune to work with interns Marvin Merritt, Callie Jacks, and Emma Grace Keenan on the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.  In our half-hour and then one-hour rehearsal sessions, we were frequently joined by other interns and members of the acting company for rehearsals and wide-ranging discussions about theatre and life.  They did beautiful work and asked great questions, and I found the experience immensely rewarding. 

This summer, OHA has kindly invited me to lead a more structured, intensive workshop that will include a larger number of students.  The Actors’ Boot Camp is modeled on a similar program that all incoming MFA theatre students take part in at Brown University/Trinity Rep, in which faculty members from various disciplines lead workshops with incoming students, and each of the workshop leaders suggests an “element” for students to incorporate in a collaborative, devised theatre piece later that day. 

I believe I am the only student to have gone through boot camp twice at Brown/Trinity, as I first came in as a PhD student and then transferred into the MFA program.  Both times, I found it daunting, exhilarating, humbling, fun, and simply one of the best experiences of my life.  During both of those weeks, I felt I was learning more quickly than I had in years.  I took part in workshops in physical theatre, acting, movement, playwriting, voice, directing, masks, Chekhov, and more.  My recently acquainted colleagues in the acting, directing, playwriting and PhD programs and I took elements such as "an impossible place," "a great fall," "a moment of wonder," and "a confession" and turned them into quickly-generated collaborative theatre pieces, using only what we had at hand.  Sometimes what we created didn't cohere.  Sometimes it astonished all present.  It was challenging, coming up against our own and each other's limitations and strengths, and hopes and fears, and truly inspiring to see what my colleagues were capable of creating out of thin air.

I am eager to share what I trust will be a similarly challenging and rewarding experience with students this summer, and we have an exciting lineup of workshops in store.  Our work will operate from the premise that everything you need is already around you--just listen, observe, collaborate, and create!  Get ready to surprise yourself, and be surprised by others.

Join us at OHA's Annual Public Meeting to see the culmination of Per and the Boot Campers' hard work, plus tomorrow night on the 2nd floor of Stonington Town Hall at 6 pm for an open rehearsal of The Glass Menagerie directed by Per.