Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Education’ Category

Terminals

Mauricio Both, Jacqueline Coombs, and Yukiko Kato: a Few Founding Members of Monkey Tomorrow

Here in London I’ve come to the end of my second term of postgraduate study at Central School of Speech & Drama. It’s been a challenging term full of collaboration, experimentation, agitation, and documentation. And in a little under a week’s time I’ll be flying out of Heathrow to be reunited with my beloved New York City and Texas. But before I get into my return to the USA, let me tell you what I’ve been up to.

As part of my course, I became a founding member of an 11 person performance group. We called ourselves Monkey Tomorrow. For nine weeks we worked together, experimenting with company structure and theatrical conventions. Our aim was to tell old stories in new ways. This involved the use of lots of projection and giant sheets of paper. (See above for photographic evidence of  the epic nature of our paper.) My role in the group was member of the playwriting team (there were three of us) and editor of the script. And let me tell you something. I learned a lot.

I learned that collaboratively writing dialogue for a play can be excruciating! (Seriously, just run a google search looking for tips for collaboratively writing a play. There are none!) I also learned that although we may not always be aware of them, most artists have set working methods. And folding other people into those working methods can be a real challenge.

The members of Monkey Tomorrow represent no fewer than 8 separate nations. We speak no fewer than 7 different languages. And of course our artistic backgrounds are as diverse as we are. In our company we had to learn how to build bridges to span innumerable communication gaps. We were not always successful.

But I will say this: through our company we were able to create new worlds through explorations of text, movement, and technology. I think it’s accurate to say that none of will ever forget the time when we were known as Monkey Tomorrow, when we struggled to understand one another and the art that we long to create. We’re all hardworking, talented artists. Every member has my utmost respect. And as we move on to other projects, I am grateful to each and every cheeky monkey.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

So what’s next?

Well, as I mentioned before, I’ll be coming back to the United States. (For a visit! I’m not done with this program just yet.) I’ll be spending a few days in Texas visiting family and just over two weeks in New York City relaxing and renewing contacts. I’m looking forward to seeing some of my old and new collaborators back in the States! And let’s be real. I’m also looking forward to pizza, enchiladas, and Blue Bell Ice Cream.

There’s a lot on the horizon. Stay tuned for news about the Postgraduate Research Conference at Central School of Speech & Drama, the continued development of my writing workshop series, and work that will take me South of the Border. It’s an exciting world, y’all! I’m ready to see more of it.

Photo by Azure D. Osborne-Lee
Advertisements

Script Development & Writing Workshops: the Next Frontier

Hello, all! I freely and humbly admit that it has been entirely too long since I last posted an update. My apologies to all of you who have been waiting to hear from me. The good news is that a lot has happened since my last post. I’ve successfully completed the first term of my MA program here in London, and I’ve moved into a lovely little flat in Kilburn. For those of you who don’t know, Kilburn is home to The Tricycle Theater and is located only three tube stops away from my school, which means I can sleep a bit later in the mornings (always a good thing).

Since my arrival in London in October I’ve seen lots of shows, good and bad, and I’ve started working on some exciting new projects. What projects? Well, I’m glad you asked!

As many of you may know, I am an interdisciplinary artist and educator. What you may not know is that I’m also a workshop facilitator. That’s right! I’m currently leading a writing workshop series for my MA program. The participants of this series will be led in writing exercises and feedback sessions by myself and special guest artists. This series will culminate in a writer’s showcase in the early summer. I’m very excited about this endeavor, and I plan to start offering a workshop series outside of Central School of Speech & Drama in the spring, so be on the lookout for information on how to enroll!

Additionally, I’m now offering my services as a script development consultant for new work. Right now I’m consulting on two exciting productions on different sides of the globe. Yours could be next. If you’re interested in working with me, shoot me a message. I’m sure we can work something out.

As if that weren’t enough, I’m also serving as the Development Manager & Deputy Stage Manager for the British Premiere of Wajdi Mouawad’s SHORE, which will be directed by Anne Khazam and opens at Riverside Studios here in London in March.

All in all, it’s been quite a busy and productive winter for me. I hope it’s been good for you, too.

Photo by flickr user New York Public Library

Londontown

Hello, all! I’ll keep you in suspense no longer. I have arrived in London! My plane landed last Thursday and almost immediately I was thrown into the fray. Through the fog of jetlag, I somehow managed to get myself a new SIM card for my phone and get registered for school. I attended international student orientation, and this week I started classes! Well, uh, sort of. We don’t have classes as most people would imagine them in this course. Instead we’ve got clusters and lectures.

For those of you who don’t remember or weren’t subscribed when it was announced, I’ve just begun a Master of Arts program in Advanced Theatre Practice at Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London. There are 36 people in my program, which I believe officially makes us the largest postgraduate program at Central.

Overall things are going well here in London. I’m learning my way around the city (which occasionally includes getting very, very lost) and I’m going to be witnessing and taking part in some amazing theatre. So stay tuned! I’m considering creating an area of this website where you can go to read my reviews of the theatre I see here.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with a recommendation to go see Winter’s Bone if you can. It’s an American independent film that won some pretty major awards at Sundance Film Festival. I just saw it at The Phoenix Cinema this past Wednesday, and it was amazing, at once heartbreaking and beautiful.

That’s all for now! My love to all my friends, family, and colleagues on both sides of the pond.

London Bound

It’s official! I will be moving to London in the fall to study theatre. I very recently mailed my paperwork and deposit check to Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London in order to accept my place in their MA Advanced Theatre Practice program. This program is one designed for people who want to learn to create experimental collaborative theatre. In this program I’ll be able to strengthen my existing set of theatre-making skills and learn new ones, all while meeting lovely folks who want to do the same. It’s a one year full-time program that will culminate with me and a group of my peers putting up a show anywhere in the wide world we choose. I’ve already started meeting my future classmates via the internet. I’m feeling excited and nervous and impatient and amazed all at once. It’s sure to be an experience that I’ll never forget!

If you’re curious to know more about the program or the school, check out their website: http://www.cssd.ac.uk/content/ma-advanced-theatre-practice

If you’ve got any suggestions for me, be they for great places to eat, live, or play in London; people I need to meet while I’m there; or any leads on grants or scholarship opportunities, then please drop me a line or leave me a comment.

Photo by Flickr user Doug88888

Improv(e)ment

Next week I’ll be exploring a new form of dramatic improvisation in an Interactive Performance Workshop led by Jeff Wirth and produced by Shea Elmore of Ignited States Production Company. In this workshop I’ll be learning to perform in a StoryBox, an interactive performance stage in which the performers and inter-actors cooperatively become creators of stories. The workshop will last four days and will culminate in a closed StoryBox-style performance on day five. I’m excited to add some new tools to my improvisational toolbox (toolbox supplied in large part by the good folks at ComedySportz Houston), and to meet new people who are passionate about creating new work.

Check out what Ignited States is all about at their website: http://www.ignitedstates.com/mission.html.

Haven’t ever experienced ComedySportz? Remedy it: http://www.comedysportz.com