Oct Workshop: Day of Works-in-Progress Showing

What an action packed Sunday it turned out to be for our final Workshop day! The afternoon began in the Mainstage space with a quick French lesson from Kristin as Mari and Caitlin tried their hand at Robert’s rewrites for the French Art Film scene in the Management storyline. Choosing between a scene entirely in French (with projected subtitles) or the original English, we decided that given our limited rehearsal time today it would be best to present the scene in English with their best French accents. We'll try out the subtitles idea in a future incarnation. A full run of Robert’s track revealed some interesting surprises, particularly in how the shift of genre from scene to scene really elevates Brenda’s struggle for control. We selected the “game show” Scene One, and the “french art film” Scene Five to present in the evening.

We also heard the premiere of several more songs from Chris’ Owners track by Xander, our composer, including “Hold Please”, “Tender, Inc”, “Something’s Always Coming”, “Blood, Rum, and Freedom”, and “Gotcha”. Much attention was paid to teasing out certain lyrics rhythmically so that character motivation and key plot points would be clear.

Moving downstairs to the DOT, we began the final tech process for both Robert and Chris’ tracks. We ran Robert’s scenes, and then prepped for a read through of Chris’ entire script of all six scenes, with the first and last containing the new songs to be sung. With Kristin adding some final finishing touches, our scenes needed an audience!

And an audience we certainly had – friends and colleagues from several HARP projects joined us in the evening. Sharing the stage with selections from Genet Porno and The Pigeoning, our work for the week was met with great interest. Our feedback discussions at the end proved especially fruitful as other artists began a dialogue with Kristin, David, Robert, and Chris. We were excited to also be joined by Trade Practices writers Qui Nguyen and Erin Courtney, who were able to come to the presentation to see what had been accompanied this week. It was exciting to see how some of the character developments from the summer influenced the trajectory of the characters this go around, and how each writer chose to work with these parameters in creative ways. Who knew that Polly’s missing eye was due to a secret rivalry with Andrew?

It is becoming clear that some dramaturgical and logistical questions may need to be explored in some depth in January. How important is it that an audience member empathizes or identifies with these characters? How compelling is a story when it is only experienced in fragments or pieces? Should story lines compete capitalistically for audience attention using as much spectacle as they can, or will these stories have a better chance in the market if they diversify away from each other? We find ourselves with art mirroring life that mirrors art again. Looking forward to our next round of developments as part of Culturemart. Stay tuned!

– Suzanne


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