What I Talk About When I Talk About Theatre
To do this, we have been doing deep dives into the oceanic depths of character, space, rhythm, color, tension, suspension, breath, imagination, passions and the drama of nature, to name a few. About 95% of what happens at APT happens in movement, on our feet, working out how to create compelling theatre in an ensemble. To do this, we have been doing deep dives into the oceanic depths of character, space, rhythm, color, tension, suspension, breath, imagination, passions and the drama of nature, to name a few.
Though we have spent all year training our eye to really see what goes on in the world outside of our studios and training our instinct about how to reflect those observations of the world back inside the studios, we are, more importantly, creating a pathway so that this process can continue into the second year and on into the lives and artistic careers of the students. There is no end to observation and inquiry into our world in all its mysteries, encounters, secrets, wisdoms, contradictions and collections of people, usual and unusual, ordinary and extraordinary. The important thing is to stay curious and to learn how to really look.
But every Monday afternoon for 90 minutes we spend time reflecting on the work, making up the remaining 5% of what happens at APT. The first trimester, we had a series of encounters with artists from outside the world of theatre. We want to insure that the focus of the work at APT is always looking beyond the borders of theatre, resisting the temptation of looking inward for too long. We met a chef, an architect, a composer, a poet, a photographer, 2 sculptors, 2 mixed media artists and a magician. I told them that their talk would attempt to expand on the sentence: What I Talk About When I Talk About (Their Art Form)...Theatre is an art form that borrows so much from each of these other forms; it is vital for the contemporary theatre artist to know something about architecture, painting, magic, etc. Each encounter was special in its own way, our chance to wonder if the process of making a photographic portrait is akin to creating a character or if the process of thinking through a diner's experience during a 26-course tasting menu is similar to the process of thinking through an audience member's experience over the course of a 2-hour piece of theatre. This seminar set in motion a journey for the students toward understanding what is underneath the surface of these other art forms and what impulses these contemporary artists follow when composing an image, a piece of music or a poem from scratch.
It would be impossible to go on, in length, about each talk, so I've summarized each visit below in the following links. I hope you can take the time to click through each one, so as to understand the width and breadth of learning our students are receiving in the arts.
APT sits firmly as a theatre school. We train, day in and day out, to become better theatre-makers. We care about the very DNA of theatre: it happens in real time in real space. We must become expert at how to deploy time onstage and how to masterfully utilize theatre space much as a magician must know where the spectator's focus is at every moment or a poet must interrogate the sounds of words and the relation of sound and meaning. But through this seminar, the field of theatre expanded rather than contracted. Not only did these artists share their short-hand about their work, what it means to them, they presented us with new and more interesting ways of looking, listening, tasting and observing the world around us, enriching the work we will do in the theatre, whether our theatre has walls, a separation between the audience and the performer, words, a fixed start time, or entrances and exits.