Scholars and practitioners gather to talk about the virtues and vices of so-called “Original Practices” in contemporary Shakespeare and early modern performance. Hosted by Artistic Director, Jeremy Fiebig, writer and director, Monica Cross, and featuring special guests Scott Harman, Dennis Henry, Hadley Kamminga-Peck, and Katherine Mayberry.
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The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig, and edited by Ashanti Bennett, our Director of Engagement.
Jen Pommerenke and Julie Schaefer also assisted with this episode.
This project is supported by the Arts Council in part by contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.
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Welcome to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours
Where are we spend time? Well, by spending it together. Hello? Hello. Hello
Out there. Welcome to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours for glad to have you. My name is Jeremy Fiebig. I am the artistic director of Sweet Tea Shakespeare and I’m glad to be here. We’re having a conversation tonight about Original Practices what are they? They’re they are our virtues and vices, and we have a great group of folks here to talk about that with us tonight, and we’re gonna let them introduce themselves. We’ll begin with Monica. Cross go ahead.
Hello? I am Monica Cross. I am in Gainesville, Florida, and I recently directed the zoom production of Galatea four Sweet Tea Shakespeare. And with my background, Mary Baldwin, and discussed on this before, if you’ve seen other times that I brought on, I studied Original Practices alongside other approaches to Shakespeare and I’ve directed in Original Practices and hybrid, and some other things like that.
Great. Thank you. Hadley you’re up next.
Hi, I’m Hadley Kamminga Peck and the assistant professor of theater history in head of directing at Western Illinois university, I most recently was directing Richard the second, which got shut down, thanks to COVID-19 and became a digital archive of a process rather than a product. If anyone’s interested in looking with that turned out and you can to, I come from I, a lot of my training from Colorado and
The power of the Shakespeare festival, I served as a dramaturge for them for many years, including the five Original Practices shows and other persons on Shakespeare as well. And I directed Shakespeare and wrote my dissertation on the guy, you know,
Welcome. Thank you. Katherine you’re turn.
No, I’m Katherine Mayberry. I am coming to you from grand Haven, Michigan. I also did my training at Mary Baldwin university slash The American Shakespeare center for my graduate training. And I’m the executive director of the pigeon Creek Shakespeare company, which has a company that regularly employees Original Practices ideas and its production. And I also spent a lot of time acting, directing and teaching in a reconstructed early modern Playhouse called the Rose at the blue Lake fine arts camp.
Welcome. Scott your turn.
Okay, so I’m Scott Harman, I’m a currently a visiting assistant professor of theater at Aquinas college in grand Rapids, Michigan I’m also, except for the summer are usually a, a, a long time of summer, a faculty member at the interlock and Centre for the arts and the Michigan of training young actors. When their, for a couple decades. Now, the Monica kind of a training background. I’m finishing up my PhD at the university of Wisconsin, where I really focus on acting theory and pedagogy using models from the cognitive sciences. And I have a master’s in theater history from the university of Illinois.
I’ve spent a lot of time acting in Shakespeare directing it primarily with younger actors in a kind of a training environments, but acting more on the like small professional theatre area. So I liked the guy.
Thank you. Welcome. Dennis my friend. You’re up next.
Hello. My name is Dennis. Henry coming to you from Kokomo, Indiana, where I am a visiting lecturer of theater at Indiana university Kokomo. And in the last month I have joined the company whose you’re shakes out in Marion, Indiana as the artistic director, like experience with Original Practices goes to the back. About 20 years, I spent seven seasons or the American Shakespeare Centre as a, as the actor, a director, a touring company manager, educational director, and Oh, about everything else you could think of.
And then I’ve also directed with Katherine of pigeon Creek. And with Jeremy down in there, you guys are a 20, I was preparing the Director to Nobel Ken’s and when coed for sweetie, when a Cobra came to town. Yeah, that’s me.
Well, thank you all. Thanks for being here. I’m going to turn things over to Monica to guide our conversation going forward. I will a full, if you have questions for your listening, if you have questions or comments or things you’d like to hear more about as the conversation goes on, feel free to those wherever you are. I know we’re on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch. So you post any of those places and we will funnel those into the conversation. All right. Let’s get started. Thanks for being here.
Awesome. So, first off, what is Original Practices when we talk about it, what are we talking about? So in what, what would you say your definition of Original Practices in the latter? Yeah, I actually, I mean, I prepared some notes, so I’ll go through this and it, you know, I apologize about stepping on toes and the things that other people went on and to talk about. So first of all is great that you’re asking from my definition, because there is no one single definition.
There’s not like a canonized definition that every company that is doing this agrees upon. So I’m going to give you the brief explanation that I would give, like an audience member or a student who asked me to. So let’s talk a broad idea before we get into talking about it with Shakespeare Original Practices is the use of performance and or rehearsal conditions from the time period in which the play was written. And, you know, when I think about it, I think of the purpose being that, that allows us to discover things about the texts of the plays and the possibilities for performance that exists within that text.
We tend to associate Original Practices with Shakespeare, but that’s actually not the only area in which people, our demand. There are some other theater practitioners who are working on it with Greek theater, for example. So Amy Cohen at Randolph college has done a lot of work with that. There is the hidden room theater company in Austin, Texas, which has been doing a lot of work with restoration staging. They did a production of named tapes. Adaptation of came here. Andy did a lot of investigation of acting techniques, gestural acting techniques that may have been used in the time period that that adaptation was originally written.
So it’s not just isolated to the Shakespeare arena on. We were talking about Shakespeare their been a couple of original Practices movements and the production of Shakespeare and early modern place. So in 1885, there was this Director named William Poole who founded the Elizabethan stage society. And they staged Shakespeare’s plays on a mostly bare stage with what at that time was a smaller cast than usual. So the actors were doubled into a number numerous roles, and they were thinking of it as sort of a reaction to these two huge scale giants, that productions that were happening in the, in the mid 18 hundreds.
So there was that, that Original Practices movement also in the sixties and seventies, you had people like John Russell Brown, who wrote this book called free Shakespeare and Brenda’s use the term Original Practices, but he’s advocating for things like short rehearsal processes and an ensemble of actors, the actors that works together frequently and a bare stage and universal way. And these things that we would recognize coming under the umbrella of Original Practices I’m the current Original Practices movement is also largely spurred by the construction of replicas or reconstructions of early modern playhouses.
So the, the globe in London, Shakespeare’s globe, or the black friars in Stanton, Virginia with the American Shakespeare center. And just too, to give you sort of timeline, the globe opened in 1997, the black fire is in 2001. They are now, our are several others of those, including the Rose where I sometimes work, which has at the blue Lake fine arts camp, which has existed since 2010. So when the production of Shakespeare’s plays and other early modern plays there a number of staging conditions that are encompassed by the term Original Practices.
So I’m just going to lay out some of them that are sort of the most common, and I’m sure other people will chime in with others as we continue talking. So thrust, staging, right. A, which might mean a reconstructed Playhouse, but it also could mean a modern thrust stage or the reconfiguration of some existing space into a thrust stage, universal lighting, which means the actor’s and the audience in the same light, direct audience. Contact the most obvious form of that is actors making eye contact and speaking directly to audiences on audience members, for example, in soliloquy.
But there are all kinds of forms of audience Contact both verbal and nonverbal, Cross gendered, or gender fluid casting in which an actor plays a character whose gender is different from their own doubling in which Natural plays more than one role in the same production, a live music and sound mostly bare stage, quick pace of performance with overlapping scene transitions. I’m a number of different rehearsal Practices which I think we’re going to get into a little bit later in our conversation.
Original pronunciation is something that you sometimes see where a company will tried to recreate to the actual accent from Shakespeare his time period condition’s of company structure, right? Is sometimes see. So ensembles of actors working together over time period. Sometimes the actors being involved in the administration and operational duties have a company, those kinds of things. So sub companies may pursue all of those are some might blend them in with Monica theatrical conventions. Some might have one show in a season that is an Original Practices show.
So different companies are more stringent or more flexible, but how they employ these things. And I’m
Likely would give you different kinds of purposes for doing them to, depending on who it to say, you’re talking to. So that’s my, my little intro explanation. I’m sure that people have had stuff to throw in. That was great. That was very comprehensive. Yeah. I think that the things to point out a couple of, of the things that you’ve said in there, something that I think is really important about thinking about Original Practices is the difference between staging conditions and rehearsal conditions.
So are we saving a play in a style that we think is original practices or are we are trying to mimic of, or selectively mimic types of, of rehearsal. Practices also with that, you’ll notice my shift from Original Practices to staging conditions, which is another thing that companies sometimes do, trying to get away from the words Original and reoccurring to an idea of like this particular person’s staging rehearsal conditions, that sort of thing.
So like the American Shakespeare of Centre talks about Shakespeare state and conditions I’m in, in their mission page of their website, talked about a lot of color. She’s a festival was this notion of like outside in Original Practices are inside out Original Practices so like, are we are trying to make it look like Shakespeare is connections look, which is very similar to like what Mark Rylance does the original, the third of the 12th night. And he did a couple years ago. We are just like, just go now, versus are we trying to, as you said, Monica we are trying to mimic all the conditions under which they operated in the hopes of arriving at something that perhaps we haven’t experienced before, because the process is different in getting their pronunciation.
Monica I just want to underline that, that the word Original is, is problematic for a lot of people because it, it, it doesn’t mean, well, it contains within it meanings that we don’t mean. So when we say Original, we’re, we’re saying like, I guess sort of authentic to the period in some way, but, but originally their, their actually the opposite of Original, some of them are in that they are like new ideas and that, in that sense, and so it’s, that term alone can be sort of problematic for some of us yeah.
That the care of it. And I liked when I used, when I had a, a company in San Diego for the file was Renaissance style staging,
Really describe of what we were trying to do at least. Awesome. Then would you like to talk maybe about the ASU actors Renaissance season and how that’s different maybe from the rest of, of therapy enemy also a, the Renaissance Renae and how that works different again, differently from everything else we’ve already decided?
Sure. I’ll start with the, with the Renaissance running. It’s quite a lot of those. <inaudible> been doing it for a decade before I got there and they got it from somebody they’ve worked with. And it, the idea is if I can get a really terrific a rehearsal techniques in which the first a day or so we made a half a record is just in the actors together or room without the director on the safety manager, a and when they did, and then the hand to that rehearsal period, it to be a four, six to eight hours, the cat said on the plane for the record.
Umm, and a lot of times the records is the first time that the record is this going to see any factors and the, there are similarities to Renaissance style saging in that, you know, they didn’t have Director that, let me make sure talk about here. The, the company pulled with costumes and the Cross, there’s not a, a, an outside designer sometimes a limited time.
A prompter is use a big difference from a, from actual Renaissance rehearsal technique is a car is still given to the, the whole, players’ not a cube to strips. And so it is accurate, but the opportunity to show the show, the director, my idea of the character in case they had a real strong preconceived idea of what it is. And I like it when I’m the director, because then I get to see that actors technique and we’re starting off way ahead.
That’s, you know, the typical, slight awkwardness of the beginning, the rehearsal process is also a wonderful tool for developing after a report, you get to know where so much quicker way and all of sudden you’re thrown into this pressure situation. So that’s, that’s the a Renaissance run around the actor’s run at the top of the American. Schaefer a Senator tape set to the next step. So although most a year, a hundred shades or a Senator does play with a record like in several titles, a for their early a year and a in which are no Director and it’s running a much more similar or a rehearsal techniques to, so things are in effect, there’s a prompter that is all the plate as a three or four days a and, and a different feeling than in the ones that have more traditional rehearsal periods are modern rehearsal with a director for a longer runs to have shorter runs and a more a frantic, a rehearsal process.
Awesome. Yeah. And I think that one of the interesting things about that is that it’s a process that is kind of always in flux. I was just looking at the American Schaefer centers website recently, and they had a section now about their process of like trying to add new information as Scholars writes new works. So building off of like the work of Tiffany Stearn and so forth and being like, ah, you know, This, there’s this note about letter writing and the period, and therefore like that influences how we use prompts in this production and those sorts of things, which I think is a part of the process that when we started talking about it, sometimes we, those of us who have been working on it for a long time, like take the given.
Uhm, and they think that that’s an important part of our process is constantly reading about what the newest ideas about this early modern rehearsal process is like, but Scott you had some things you wanted to say about Original end of the Original Practices as part of things. So come on to us,
Hey, Scott we’re having trouble with your audio. So I said, mine it’s mine. So I think for, at this point, have a conversation, I just wanna introduce a larger questions to make sure we’re asking it of any kind of safe practice that we’re doing or anything, especially with being called a movement or something like that is what is the purpose and what are the expected outcomes? Because I think we’re having a very different conversation. If this is an experiment, if its an experiment, then we needed to take a hard look at how’s the experiment designed, how is it being tested?
What’s going on there if its an assertion, trying to discover stuff at home, baked in meaning in to the texts that is an assertion that has some entailments that we really need to follow through on and see if they’re going at a place that is, that is productive and helpful for everyone. So I guess, and I know somewhere we’ve talked about it more as an experiment and trying to find new possibilities, but I want to make sure that question is part of the conversation because I have some
And I can get into later is some real concerns about the entailments of any of those points of view. I think that’s so important. Scott and I think when we start,
How about with this experiment? What is the purpose of this experiment? We introduced the concept of the audience and how does the audience interact with everything that we’re talking about with Original Practices Renaissance, staging, whatever you want to call it. And that’s where that’s where things start changing for me a lot.
Cool. So let’s talk about this in terms of actors and rehearsal room and process and what we bring in when we’re using some form of Original Practices whether its the weather we’re focused on, you know, the, the rehearsal process or, or the, the seeking of conditions and sort of the, what what’s useful for actors and maybe areas where Original Practices are a little bit more slippery.
Anyone wanna start us off?
Well, yeah. I don’t know if I’m answering anything. I think I’m just adding on to sort of the question. I think we also want to be really careful to introduce the idea that we cannot recreate an early modern audience, right? Like you sometimes unfortunately I like, I run into it like with press descriptions of what it is that my company is doing or you know, someone else like a venue will book us and then advertise what we’re doing as an authentic Shakespeare in experience or, you know, experience this as Shakespeare’s audience experience at it.
We can’t recreate it early modern audience, right? This is what theater these plays are, what theater was like to them, like for us to employ, for example, thrust, staging and universal lighting is a direct reaction to perceive them staging and the lights off in the audience and our audience has come in with those conventions sort of already in their heads. So, but I would be hard pressed to think of anyone I know who’s doing Original Practices, who’s arguing that they can recreate the early modern audiences experience.
Right. There may be those people out there. But I think sometimes, you know, late people do present it in that way. I certainly have run across that, like, you know, poor people asking me and radio interviews when I’m not promoting a show like, Oh, so you know, this is going to be like the Renaissance fair. We are going to feel just like, she’s just about as well,
There has its problems to, so I wanted to throw that into the mix. Cause it sounds like that that’s at least tangentially related to this question of a purpose when I would ask are we are like, when you brand this and that’s the kind of how I’ve talked about this before is a branding have a set of processes AZ. And I think it was whether it’s Original Renaissance, which are already, it’s a very loose and the Italian English, French right. Or authentic was one of the other words that’s come up.
Like aren’t we creating that impression and people, even if explicitly denying it and other places I kind of addressed that, is that okay,
Go ahead. Dennis I’ll come back to that as well.
Yeah. I think that the goal of that branding is, you know, I, you know, I teach a lot of intro to theater, to college students and they, the, the, the, the conception of theatre is that it there’s a subpoenas to it that, umm, that is always at this giant auditorium as 2000 seats and their flights down and there’s a fourth wall and that’s what they mostly think of as, as theatre. And you know, that’s, I think that happens a lot in the general public. And I think the goal of, of this branding and I would never use the word authentic, but I wouldn’t say Renaissance.
I wouldn’t say Original Practices I wouldn’t say Shakespeare staging conditions is to let them know that it’s something different than what you might be expecting from a typical theater that you either is a visible audience. And I ended up the rest, I can see each other and see the reactions and the act are talking directly to you, which just is what most people imagined as a typical theater for experience.
I’ll just say as a person who has, like, I think like Katherine at least among us who has to worry about like what it is you’re selling and making sure that people are buying the right thing and sort of setting up the expectations in the right way. I I’m on I’m on Scott seam on this one. It’s it’s really scary to say we’re doing for me, Elizabethan Renaissance, anything we’re in we’re Sweet Tea Shakespeare is in the state and that does the lost colony stuff.
So there’s a, there’s a, a real association with that. And actually we’re moving in the other direction. Like that’s the whole point of us, as Katherine said, we’re kind of reaction I’m I do have a question from Cassidy cache of that Shakespeare life I’d love to fold in. Cause I think, I think it fits with some of what we’re talking about. She actually has a couple of questions. So she says with Shakespeare’s plays being such a reflection of 16th century life, a what do you think we lose something of what Shakespeare intended when we changed the, to be more modern and she also asks, do you think we’re still performing, performing Shakespeare when we take the place out of the historical context or have we adapted Shakespeare into something new and replace it under different conditions.
So I’ll throw those in there in case you wish to address it. Thank you, Cassidy.
I have lots of feelings about those things, which I’ll just start off by saying we can never know what Shakespeare intended. And I think the, most of us agree on that, right? That’s something that we always have to teach our intro to theater students. You can’t ever say with a playwright intended a even if the play with the line and tries to tell you what he intended, he’ll change his mind the next day. We all know that. Right. And I, so, but I understand the impulse to want to understand more about what Shakespeare was hoping to accomplish.
I think the thing that I always come back to is, you know, we think of Shakespeare we think of puffy pants and double it is set in the hose and everything like that, which is contemporary address. So I think absolutely we are achieving it. A lot of what Shakespeare was doing. I said, going to play in a contemporary setting and putting them in everyday clothes that people recognize and the situations that are familiar to us in that sense, we are actually recreating the same relationship between the places and the audience that Shakespeare had with their audience. It’s that is my two sentence on that.
Yeah. I’ll jump in to that too. Just to point out for people who aren’t familiar with us, there’s actually a big debate in the, even within the Original Practices world of Shakespeare about Renaissance or early modern costuming versus our contemporary costuming and the argument on the one side, which is completely the one that I would take, which is exactly what you’re saying, right? The way it’s actually more, the experience that Shakespeare’s audience would of had, if you’re trying to achieve that in some way, for us to do contemporary costuming, because status is coded into our modern close, in a similar way to the way it was for them.
And they were also already doing recontextualization right. They were doing a Roman place, at least partially in Elizabeth and our data to be addressed. So yeah, I also think to go back to Cassie to questions, there’s a way in which I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how you want to define adaptation, but every production of any play in a sense is an adaptation because is one of the playwright, right?
Is that they let it go out into the world. And those words is take on me is the act of interpretation, right? The war, we are always engaged and that winning we’re doing theater. I don’t know if it’s more or less with Shakespeare because the language was in an earlier form of English. And so there are things, is there are words that have changed meaning right in it, we can’t help the fact that modern audience hears the words and things. But I think what we’re always engaged in that moving things away from whatever it was the playwright had and wrote them down.
I have another question from Saki, they say seems Opie is almost more for the art artists than the audience. Do we use OPI or authentic as a marketing tool or as an experience for artists? Or are you talking about, does that mean the term or the style? I would, I think both. Right. I think, I think both is it certainly Opie has been accused of being a marketing sort of gimmick, right?
That, that authenticity is like one of the ways you draw people in who are maybe into the Renaissance fair, you know, or more seeing things, you know, the way it was intended nostalgia or whatever that was. So I think it could be, I think it could be both the spirit and the label. Any thoughts there
That’s been one of the big challenges that I’ve had with him is that for artists, it’s a new experience, a new way of interacting with a text. This is a new way of producing, creating art. But for, for our audiences that leave the audiences I’ve experienced, it’s a novelty, its not something that is, and yes, there might be some enlightening factors, not the thing that they would come back and see again and again until the end of the beginning. And I think that’s reflected in, in the number of companies that are doing opiod, who can actually sustain I’m a full OBCs and in the ones that can, or the one to truly dedicated themselves too in a minute.
But it is not something that everyone everywhere wants to go see done this way for some people, with someone in that and that’s enough and there’s a true die hard red care cans who are like, yes, this is amazing. So the only way to see Shakespeare and I love those people too
Theatre to me, it goes back to that problem that I get, you can’t recreate the Renaissance audience. So even if you find something between the actors, between the artist’s that is reminiscent of, or are informed by the history that actor audience relationship will never be anywhere close and that will not fully be affected by that. We’re not bringing them back at a time. I think
When I drive, I talk a lot about balancing the playing field for our actors and helping them to understand what an Elizabethan actor would have understood and its the same with the audience. I can’t educate to thousand people every night on what it was like as you were talking about earlier. Katherine but that’s just not something that we’re able to do. Yeah. That’s part of the
Whole at all. I, you know, I think that the things that are most important to me about for lack of better term Original Practices R is a visible audience, the thrust staging and the pace of the play and its to me, I couldn’t care less how Shakespeare actually put on his legs. But I think looking at knowing that he was writing for these conditions helps inform, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s the same way of knowing how plays on in the Victorian era were staged will inform you about what Oscar Wilde was going after.
Right? We can’t for sure in a way to 10, but we can learn from that. And I feel from when you focus on pace and thrusts and visible audience, that there is and entertainment experience that is, and that is different from, from lights out in the proceeding them and having a, you know, performed a hundreds of times by this condition that, and having observed as a assistant director, a tormentor, just getting to watch the audience a lot. I’m, it’s a different experience when you can see how the other people are reacting to what you’re doing right in the 20th century, started by a theater changing to try and emulate movies.
And I think the last, you know, 50 years or so theaters done a better job, done a better job of doing what theater can do uniquely and being a communal experience. And I think these staging conditions bring back that experience. And so I think what it offers it is modern communal entertainment, umm, not a trick to the past.
I would just add to that. Like one of the payoffs for me is, is, is related, but it’s, it’s collaboration. It, there are other ways into this there’s there’s ensemble work that happens everywhere. But one of the things that I’ve noticed about Opie work that’s that’s unique in its approach is the sort of this sort of anti hierarchical opportunities. It affords, which I think is, I mean for me, I am a director, the director is an invention.
That’s about 150 years old and, and maybe it’s time to look at some other options. So I sort of C that part as a, as a new practice, not necessarily, or a historical one, it happens to be, but I’m interested at four, four. I’m how it gets like, you know, but like we’ve, we’ve, we’ve watched the last few years of news about Henry entertainers to sit at the top at the top of hierarchies. And I think this offers us a way into that.
Just a way into, into reversing. Some of them,
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Sometimes I have found that the things that I wanted to bring from Original Practices into the rehearsal room actually creates some more of a hierarchy. So I think that there’s a difference between the Original Practices that gets done as like a one off environment and the Original Practices that is based in a community a or a company process.
And I think that that has, there’s a lot of interesting and fruitful things in those two different styles of approaching it. I fully agree with that. I think it absolutely makes a huge difference when you’re dealing with a company of people who are all trained in this style and are able to really invest in it versus people who are being asked to do it as something unusual for them. And that can create a lot of consternation and, and challenges when you do it that way.
Yeah. It’s like an insider ism, right? The, the, the, the, the marketing language to go back to that part of the discussion is about the universal experience. You have universal light and you’re trying to make actor’s and audience relatively equitable compare to other models and other ways of doing this. But if you’re not careful, you, you create the folks who have the insight information on how this works all the way down to the language and the I AM’s and the truckies and all the way up to the postures and the, the, the ways we treat entrances and exits and props and all of that kind of thing.
Yeah, I think that’s, I think, I think that’s that’s right. I think that’s right.
The other side of that to then like go full circle is that I think that when you have a company that is constantly working together and evolving their understanding of how they are operating in Original Practices, you have the opportunity for the actor’s to, to communicate a lot of the embedded stage directions, the things that are in Shakespeare that aren’t explicitly being said, or maybe aren’t being said in a way
That they would be fed into a modern audience and in a modern play that the actors can communicate to the audience through this shared vocabulary of Original Practices
I guess I still feel us sort of talking around the idea that there are things that are inherently baked into the play. And I think we can try to avoid saying authorial intent, but we’re saying authorial intent when we say that and that on that opens a law. So I would say it can of worms, but I don’t think they’ve made a can that page. Right. It’s sort of like there. And I talk about, we try to not say that everything’s is founded on one particular thing, but even if we don’t talk about it, it’s there because weather there’s a reason it’s in any form of this is original, authentic Renaissance, but people that, and there’ve been other like modern movements that are against a perceived safety.
And I have no fan of, at the scene, everything I do was in a thrift store alley or something like that. Right. But we’re not calling is the, you know, Jude and Molina and Joe chickens open a theatre. They did everything is a universal lighting and they were all on top of the audience in ways they probably didn’t want, so they are using some of these same things they tried to do to remove hierarchies and rehearsal and performance. So we’re, we’re explicitly not tying it to some of those like postwar backlashes to the right of the proceedings.
We’re tying that back to this other thing. And I think no matter how we talk around it, there’s still this kernel of authorial in a sense that is kind of problematic or the more we dig at it.
And then in that same vein Scott I think we have to look at where, where the players aren’t coming from, right half of these players are coming from the folio, but the folio was produced seven years after Shakespeare is death. And in some cases it’s 20 years after these players were produced. Schaefer was not the ones do the final editing on it. Often. Wasn’t the one to do the editing on the copies that from, that created the first folio. Right. So, so absolutely you’re absolutely right when we’re talking about that, This authorial God-like voice. There’s actually a lot of voices mixed up into that, into the original texts that we use to help us understand capitalization, word, choice, line, length, spelling, all of these choices that are supposedly so instrumental and understanding, as you say, authorial intent.
I have a question here and, and I’m not forgive me.
And I don’t think I’ve got it fully shaped, but like, I actually on a, like, when I think about these things, I’m not saying about the author at all. I am thinking, I, I think I’m thinking about expertise, which is like, sure, if I want to fly a rocket ship, there are some things I need to know or would be helpful to no. So I’m the actor, I’m the director. How much information am I do I have at my disposal when I’m operating this thing?
And some of this stuff, I think that we’re talking about its not authorial, but it is the, I mean the word Original, that’s the problem, I get that. But like it is, it is like part of the body of the way that these things were made when they were made understanding how the car or the rocket ship has put together is valuable information. And it’s so I don’t know if that’s helpful, but that’s where, where I’m coming from.
I think it is dangerous for all the reasons we’ve talked about to sort of stake a claim in like on the Shakespeare priest. And I understand the intent, right? Like that’s the problem, but I do think there’s, there’s something that’s not it that is still helpful. Do you know what I mean?
Absolutely. And I fully agree that it’s useful information, right? It’s absolutely great information for any rehearsal process based on chaser to have, and just like sit in this last year. Right. You can use it or you can not, I I’m just skeptical of, of, of it being the only thing. And I, I see what Scott’s coming from in saying that when we call it something like Original, there is an inherent hierarchy to that word that suggests if its the Original it’s better, right?
The eye, I hear the word differently again, Original Practices cause in my mind my favorite term, you know, I don’t, maybe there is an Original Practices movement going on, but I’m not a part of any movements in my life. So I just a find that, you know, the last three, the last 400 years of, of, of the technological advancement in theater practice is what has been added on top of the text. So if you’re saying where’s the baseline, where do you start from?
I don’t start from proceeding I’m in the audience and in the dark because that’s now, and you can’t know everything about when an author was thinking about, but Shakespeare was not writing about writing for lights down. He couldn’t write, we didn’t have that technology. He was specifically writing for us because the company was involved in building a couple of theaters and they built breasts. So I wanna start from a baseline. I think it makes more sense to think about, Hey, what was, what was going on in theater when this piece was being rewritten and I’ve seen many good plays of Shakespeare done a work in a while.
I was sending in the dark and I seen quite a few bad Original Practices plays to. So I mean, either approach him work, it, it makes more sense to me, regardless of the word is it’s original or a Renaissance though, to start from a baseline of what was going on in theater when this play was written.
I think that there’s maybe something useful in a situating Original Practices outside of Shakespeare for a moment. And I don’t know if anyone can jump in on, on this, but I’m thinking about when we are working with Original Practices where are we getting the ideas that we are saying are the Practices either of staging conditions or rehearsal conditions I threw out Tiffany started earlier, but I know that there are others.
When I think the case of, of trying to do some version of Original Practices with the Greeks is actually a really good example of the problem with, with the leaks you need to make. I think to construct something like this, I am taking a theater history course right now. And the thing I have to say every 10 minutes, it is we think, right. We have such a paucity of sources of what was going on in the golden age of Athens that I think you have to, you have to make some really massive leaps to say that you found anything that resembles to the period.
And we had less of that problem in the English Renaissance and the Italian Renaissance and et cetera, we have less of that problem, but it doesn’t go away. There’s still, it requires a lot of supposition and inference that I is, it is tough to just kind of move past. So without really commenting on,
I think there’s going to be simple and that is maybe a Q scripts. Right. But we have extant roles. Right. So, and that’s where we have derived the concept of cue scripts from, but I know that I create flashcards for my own, you know, memorization and you know, I have these just like stacks with a rubber band and put them into my back pocket and I go, Mmm. And so one of the sort of counter arguments to that particular moment, like that particular, the idea is, well, do we know that the actors were given access to the whole script or do, could that possibly be an actor’s copying down with their own lines, a memorization?
And so that I think is, is definitely part of the process is, is that slippery moment of these are things that We, these are the, this is the evidence that we have The these are the moments that indicate, you know, someone’s personal diary entry or this extant a copy of some manuscripts.
Umm, and then like four me, a lot of this comes from Scholars then making scholarly arguments one way or the other saying, and therefore we think this and using that as the foundation of my practice, as opposed to then taking it and saying, well then that’s clearly how Shakespeare did it. Right.
I think somewhere in there, two, this is where some of our ex some of our knowledge actually comes from experience, right. That at some point we start working with these materials and we start working under these conditions and we discover things and yes, we don’t have evidence from 1608 that says, ah, yesterday I rehearsed in this manner and it was perfect. But, but there’s some, there’s a logical conclusions that can be drawn from that. Absolutely. And sorta to go back to The we know less about the Greek theater.
Yes, totally. And that’s, and that’s something that I’ve I know very little about, but I got to see what of any koans Original Practices Greek tragedies, a seven against Bebes. It was probably about eight years ago now. And the thing that was fascinating about it was that the masks, which she has thought a lot to work on how she thinks a mask should be put together and the student’s make them.
And they’re was a huge difference between like how the audience could hear a dialogue just based on like where an actor turn their head. And as an audience member, that was like a huge moment of realization of like, Oh, based on this, I now kind of have a picture of what I think a, a replay would have maybe looked like and, and how speaking might be different when you’re using this type of mask versus if you’re not.
And I think that there’s a lot of exciting moments like
That, that get to happen in Shakespeare thinking conditions in any theatre, looking at the historical process of putting it on now
And well, and you’re, you’re pointing too, the, the, the sort of, so Jeremy Lopez argument about Original Practices and the sort of theory behind it, which is that it’s primarily a teaching enterprise that it’s it’s meant like I would, I would, the question I would have for you Monica based on your experience with, with the Greek Original Practices thing is, do you love that because you’re a theater kid and to a theater history classes and always sort of wondered, and if you are, I don’t know, the soccer kid off the street, do you have that same appreciation or is it just like weird?
You know what I mean? Like, is it just watching people play world of Warcraft? And, and that’s the, that’s the question I have about some of some of this. So I, I don’t know. I don’t know you can answer, but I don’t know what the, the answer is. Right.
And, and, and that kind of goes back to my comment earlier about how for a lot of people Original Practices is a novelty. They see it once and go, okay, I’ve experienced it is that’s not. And then for, you know, as you just send for the theater diehards it’s, we learn more every time and its fascinating and it’s amazing it. And so it feels to me like specialized knowledge, like unless you’re indoctrinated into the world of Original Practices you don’t get to participate. Yes. The, I w I would say the difference for me that I observe and audience members doesn’t have to do with that knowledge.
And it means partly because, you know, our company performs this way all the time, right? So it’s not like there’s one show in the season. That’s the original Practices show people who come to see us know our regular audience members, that’s how we’re going to perform. And when new audience members come and become return, audience numbers is because they love what they experienced. I don’t think its because they go, Oh aha, they’re using Original Practices the big division I would see it has to do with that direct audience contact.
And that would be true in, you know, modern immersive shows too, which is there’s some people who, who don’t want that as part of their entertainment experience. Right. And some people who absolutely want that, like that makes them feel included and part of a community and some people, you know, for whom it feels uncomfortable. We actually have some, a regular audience members who loved the place who loves seeing performances, who will call the box office and say, will you put X number of rows back because I love to see other people get that interaction, but I don’t want to people by the way,
Something in the furthest darkest spot, if possible,
And its really interesting, like they like to see someone else’s to become the audience’s representative and receive that interaction, but they don’t like it themselves. But that division and the audience, you know, I, I don’t necessarily think has to do with the only people who enjoy it are people who are enjoying it in an academic way to think about it. Maybe has to do with how we approach Original Practices and, and what, you know, piggy and accusing.
Right. I, I don’t know that I don’t have a top of that. If anyone else has a thought for that, I’ll come back.
Well, we definitely have to pick and choose. Right. And that’s for a good reason, you know, talked about the being harder to hear are turning away in a Greek play is because of the mask. So that would maybe not want to employ that a particular stage and condition. I think we’re the ones in the pit or the one that in hand is the audience experiment because is not about authenticity about how, what is it the best way to be fighting way to do with this particular play?
You know, you’re not going to have a people paying in the dishes or a prostitute in a crowd, right. In theory, in your Original Practices Shakespeare. But that would be, that would be more authentic, but we don’t do that. That’s not adding anything already. That’s a good experience. Well, for most of us anyway, so you get, you pick the things that our most exciting. And so I’m just wondering if the, the objections come more for are semantical, but the way people don’t like the word Original or authentic or even they think Renaissance is a little different.
So I, is it just a semantical argument that we haven’t found the right way to describe the intent behind her? Original Practices I would say yes, but I wouldn’t say just semantical. I think it has real functional outcomes. I have no objection to doing it in the, for us to having a universal lighting, but I think the impulse behind the branding, it is any of these things. It, it carries with it in inevitable, a sense of we’re doing it. Right. I’m just noticing early on though.
They might have been Katherine out in my notes, talk about some companies are more stringent versus flexible. That sets up a hierarchy of, are we doing it right or wrong? You know? And if you are picking and choosing than at what point does it cease being a part of this, this body of work, right. I just think that any version naming it as something that ties back to something that’s baked into the script itself, I don’t think you can get away from the really intense problems that that raises.
I would just, I want to build a little bit off of something Scott has said and some language he’s used, which is sort of right and wrong. I do think that there is a moral component to Original practice that we haven’t talked about and that, and, and I think Katherine actually hit on it really early, which is like, this is a reaction to the procedure thing. There is there’s, there’s a kind of language and a kind of intent that can appear when we’re talking about OPI and not just Opie, but, but since we’re on the topic tonight that sort of justice oriented, like the, the practitioner wants to pee to bring justice to a process that is maybe ignorant and their minds closed off and their minds hierarchical and their minds.
And therefore we do need to restore the author’s voice because the author has been written off in some way, or we do need to restore the, the voice of the original creators and the original conditions because those have been lost in some way, or we do need to restore the position of the text because the position of the adapter has sort of taken over in, in sort of recent production history, the, the, the, the justice of interaction for an audience that has been cut off and put in the dark.
I think all of those things. And actually when we talk about doubling, when we talk about gender cross, gender casting, things like that, those are all justice moves. I think in the way they’re mostly described by, by relatively healthy practitioners. Otherwise, you know, I think there it’s is a reaction to the thing that’s come before us in theater history, which is sort of a Natural move. But I also think it’s, that gets a lot of that righteousness behind it.
And I don’t think it’s all bad righteousness by the way I, but, but it is a sort of like restoring se the audience’s equity and in the piece, you know, the last 80 years they had a sit in the dark and shut up and now they’re empowered that kind of thing. Do you know what I mean? And I wonder if I wonder, first of all, if anybody else has noticed that and the second of all, if it, if it shakes loose, any of the stuff about the sort of, we’re just doing this to teach, or we’re just doing this for a marketing or branding purpose,
We have to be careful though, because Shakespeare, didn’t wasn’t gender fluid casting and it wasn’t Cross gender casting. It was patriarchy. Like we don’t have to be careful. I think of saying that this is what was going on. And I think we have to be careful to like, are we, are we restoring Shakespeare or are we continuing to build this image of the Bard that has been used and a lot of bad ways of metal and say, I just had a wonderful article and how we’re around about this elevation right.
Of a bar Daltrey is in many sense a colonialist project. And so I, I worry that, are we finding the author’s voice or are we creating the author that we need him to be?
Yeah. I mean, I think there are, there are many of these things just to take the cross gender casting as a, as an example, we’re w what we really have done is to making modern interpretation of it. And as Jeremy is saying a sort of justice oriented interpretation of it, right? So all male casting in the name of patriarchy is one thing, but it does have cross-gender casting baked into it. And actually there was huge amount of criticism at the time period, a about the cross gender casting as if, you know, casting boys as women would make them gender fluid in some way.
So I think there’s a, there’s a build upon that to take it out of the patriarchy by saying, well, we will cast male, female nonbinary actors as something under than their own gender, which allows us to explore gender fluidity and modern questions of gender. I mean, I think every time we take one of these, Practices, there’s no way we can help, but make a modern interpretation of it. Right. Tend to me that’s one of the really interesting things is because we can’t recreate an early modern audience.
We can’t recreate early modern, psychological constructs within ourselves as performers. We can take these concepts and acknowledge that we’re making a modern interpretation of them, and also say, what does that show us about the place? It might not show us the same things about the plays that they knew at that time. It might show us new things about the plays. One of my favorite moments back to Scott’s comment or to Dennis has a comment earlier about is the goal is always to produce these plays and the most exciting way possible for this current moment.
And so if we’re approaching it from that philosophical standpoint, then absolutely it’s a great tool. And that’s where its, its I see what you’re talking about. Scott and Dennis about the semantic summit, right? That it’s, if the philosophy behind it as to open up these tools, to engage with our audience and in a different way and offer up new opportunities to understand the text, I’m all on board with that. But it’s when we start it’s when we start labeling it as something hierarchical or giving it some kind of power that it doesn’t
Necessarily have, that it becomes
Problematic or a sort of a bludgeon to them,
And she runs to one of my favorite moments of the use of modern cross-gender passings in an early modern play is a, there was a production. I think it was look about you that the ASE did during the Director of soreness on the season. And Ellison, Glenda is playing a, a messenger that has to like has this box with a missing in it and gets way lade and kind of poisoned and wakes up.
And the box has been stolen and is screaming, Oh my box, my box, while like rolling across the stage, grabbing her stomach. And it was amazing really that did not exist in this 16th, a tree play, but it has some moments that are similar to, if I were a woman, I would kiss as many of us had beers that pleased me, like it has that, that quality to it.
And I love, I love moments like that in when working with she fears, staging conditions and being able to, to throw in those recognitions to, okay, this is the, there’s a difference between the body of the actor and the body of the character. That is not the same difference that Shakespeare wrote for butt is a difference that we can create dissonance with in a way that is analogous to the dissonance of Shakespeare was creating with his, his dialogue.
Okay. Yeah. And I really, I don’t see where the claims of, of better are mostly people I know who do primarily Original Practices Shakespeare I don’t hear them to writing modern productions that are, that are well done. It just needs to be a preference as a way into a, into the text, as a, using it as a technique to open up the open up the clay.
And you know, I, I have seen occasional pretentious presentations and in the black friars conference that may a, a go too far and they are declarations, but on a, on the whole, I, I don’t see where a, the practitioners of this style of theater ever claim superiority it. And I think it’s, as long as you’re as a sort of lumped together with these labels, I think those claims are inevitable. If unspoken, there’s a reason it’s being called something
Else, unless it’s some kind of call back to historical authenticity of some story. And I think it’s inevitable. That is a call to hierarchy that is a call to We almost be subjects’ to this external force that we’re ultimately creating for ourselves.
I don’t, I think that maybe part of that is the, the way that it’s perceived outside as opposed to the way that it is experienced inside. Right. So I spent a summer working in Atlanta and there were two Shakespeare company is at the time when was the Atlantic Shakespeare Tavern and the Georgia Schaefer festival and they both live, one of them did a very modern theater and the other one has the original Practices Playhouse Wright.
So, but the thing that I noticed was audience’s responses to one or the other and, you know, box office for one getting called being like, well, why aren’t you doing it the right way? And so that becomes a part of the responsibility of us as practitioners to talk about what we’re doing in a way that doesn’t generate certain types of assumptions.
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I would also say it’s part of this has to do with the space. So when you build a giant Shakespeare church in, in London, or are you build one in Virginia and there were others, we just gravitate towards those two cause of our points of reference, I think. But when you build the Shakespeare church, it does follow that there will be sort of a PR Practices that feel like orthodoxy, maybe the practitioners don’t feel like that, but, but, but I mean an outside dispassionate, I could make the association and I think it’s fair.
Do you know what I mean? What’s, what’s interesting to me are the companies like some of ours here that, that don’t have the space and our using the Practices a bit more like, like historically informed avant garde practices is the way you would describe him in some way. Right? They’re they, their, their meant as disruptors, they are meant to sort of shake you are awake from the usual sort of passive audience experience in the way that something like the promenade Vogue of the last few years, like sleep no more is trying to do the same thing, but is not historically informed.
Do you know what I mean? Like, so I I’m in, it’s more like dance informed and, and Oh, a somatic informed, right? It’s just a different, different lens. And so, so for me, I’m that space thing is a big, is a big piece of this because if you don’t build a historically authentic reconstruction, you don’t use the word reconstruction, you are doing something else.
I think you can insert similar. Practices identical, Practices into that space and they’re regarded differently. And one of the, like, like my evidence here is like a theater for a new audience in New York, which has basically the blood. I mean, it looks like the Blackfriars is three gallery and seats and its a thrust stage and yeah, it has, it has more trapdoors I mean, but, but functionally it works in the same way and I’m, they’ve had productions there that, that a R F probably functionally Original Practices on the road if they would call them that.
But they, they are out in front of an audience, they are exposed they’re they’re they are doing the things I think we’re talking about, but we don’t think of them in that way. Right. So I, I, I don’t know. I’m saying all that to say, I think space matters. It’s a, it’s a little religion, right? Shakespeare is a little religion. And this is, these are the churches that are defining some of the Orthodox practice.
I love that, that, that analogy with a religion and orthodoxy. So I’m gonna chime in when the perspective of an educator now, right? If we’re teaching young actors that are, this is the right way to do it, that becomes a challenge as well. For me, if I’m trying to get them to do more things and a judge to this and I, so I, I worked with built and Kate who are reasonably published, performing Shakespeare on the reverse, right? This is a wonderful book. And I loved built. And Kate, I have such respect for the work he’s done with understanding what he calls unrehearsed Shakespeare, which is there’s another term for us rehearsed Shakespeare.
And I what’s interesting to me is when students do take this as doctrine, that, because it says here I am walking towards a thing because it says there, I need to move away from a thing. And suddenly I’m trying to, you know, we’re all trying to build a thing and its not in that world and students are doing a thing and I have to, I have to, they haven’t been, they haven’t understood it. This is a good choice and not, and the automatic way you analyze the language, right? So that’s another aspect of it as well as how are we, how is it being taught to them?
How or the power young and the younger generation where to starting to learn, there’s a lot of time understanding how this was available to them. It’s is it a thing you have to do or is it an opportunity? So
I agree. Absolutely. And I really hope that there are practitioners for Joe Practices the same. This is the only way to do it. I find that I need to say, Hey, this is a way to do it. And I think Elaine, the cons that’s the kind of a ritual Practices because usually familiar with the way we are going to be fat like, Oh, we’re not going to have it is. And they are disappointed, but they don’t make any real theater if they don’t have a Shakespeare DC mainly on the dollar.
So I is really a healing with expectation. And so maybe if there are notes of superiority implied and its probably more out of the sentence of the defensiveness than is out to an actual attempt to se it’s a better way. Go ahead. Scott that is exactly what is in everyone’s part of doing this. And I wanted to make really clear, no objection to any particular practice.
I think we’re on the same page. Are we do what works and what works is the ultimate going to be clean and collaborators and in between you and your audience, there’s a reason that it’s not called. Okay.
Well I’ll say if I keep talking, I’ll save, I’m a work on behind the scenes. Okay. Yeah. Okay.
Can I ask you to just toss in something having to do with Jeremy this idea about space and I don’t know where this will go, but I, I think the other spec I aspect of space being important is that there are some spaces that are not as conducive to doing sort of the, the universal lighting and direct audience Contact that I, you know, that I think are sort of Seminole to err Original Practices if we’re even still using that term tonight, because if you try to do that kind of production in a proceeding of space, it actually becomes a very difficult to get the audience to buy in.
I think. And so some of our decisions about whether to use these staging conventions or Practices, or which have them to use, might have to do also with the space that we are performing in.
Thank you. Scott we watched you a little bit. Would you mind, would you mind recapping just a bit? Yeah, we have for
Okay. Hopefully it wasn’t doing anything too embarrassing. Alright. So I would, I would just say that like I think we all agree that yes we should be doing what works with our collaborators, with our audience. I absolutely agree on all that, but there is a reason why I think This this movement collection, whatever why is not named Mary Baldwin Shakespeare Practices or Avantgarde and historically informed by Carl Practices, which I think has actually a fun way to look at it.
But there’s a reason it’s named that I think, and there’s a reason why all the terminology coming out around it, it lies in that same sort of area. So you would have no one in our heart while they are teaching. This has that intense. I think the impact of that is predictable.
Sure. I would say, I wonder if that and what you’re describing, isn’t the effect of, of marketers who are actually probably doing a really good job in their, in their and their channel. Right? So if you think of like the marketing channel is separate from the sort of Artistic and, and pedagogy channels for a second, if I’m selling something, I absolutely want to use the word authentic. I want to sell authenticity too, to actors who are gonna work with me.
And I want my art, my director to be authentic, an authentic person and to present authentic work. And I want my space to be authentic and I want, I want your experience to feel that way and, and I’m gonna use it every chance I get, because I know it’s like this core human value. And I think I’m actually original is another one of those words. But, but you’re right. I think the problem is that it borrows all this problematic stuff that goes with it, right.
It suggests as heavily as pointed out a kind of authority. I don’t mean authorial authority, although it implies that to I think, but it, it, it does sort of elevate and isolate the work from all that other stuff that ha the drivel that happens in proceedings. Do you know what I mean? And I, I wonder if it isn’t just a marketing thing, like really effective marketing things.
I think that the Barclay that’s great for people, but you know that they’re not going anywhere in the hair and has to be able to communicate with, with your audience what it is you’re going to do. And you know, and that’s essentially because people are sending the trap of modern theater, prescient based, a lot of
Salads, a base critics, their money on the stage, right? What did we get any from the Monica and I think you have to delineate for the audience and yeah, Martin
No, I didn’t really think that there’s a, an element to that. I sometimes, and I was directed in a black box for a while. I was saying, you know, conventional theater lighting, and there’s definitely bleed on to my audience. And so I’ve got, you know, after it is coming in and high-fiving audience members and like create like disrupting the space. But if we’d performer and audience, I’m in a way that is very much so informed by my training in Original Practices, but I’m not saying that in any way.
And I think that that also has the potential to set up audiences for an unpleasant surprise. As we talked earlier about wanting, you know, audience members who want to see it, but don’t want to be a part of it. And so I think that while there is, The definitely some problems to calling something Original, there’s also something useful in the short hand of being able to say like, you are getting yourself into something we’re going to have fun is going to be intense.
We are going to like fly through this play in two hours and its going to be a roller coaster and they are going to be dead bodies everywhere. And you’re probably going to be like three feet away from blood. So I’m like, you need to know that, right? Because if you come in expecting to be much further removed from the Jacobean DRA like revenge tragedies that are my favorite, you you’re, you’re also doing a disservice in that way to your audience.
So that I think that there is a lot in having a label, even if it is an incomplete label. So I do love historically informed off on guard. That is
That’s trademark, by the way, as of tonight,
The push back and say, ah, the avant garde is not our source of material for this. So calling it on guard is also an accurate,
Well, you may you’re right? Sure. But I also, I I’m thinking of my own experience where I actually do know what the avant garde Practices R and I do know how they lay on top of some of these historical practices and the way they talk to each other. But it’s not unusual for me to be in a rehearsal room where I’m the only one that knows that. Do you know what I mean? So, and that’s what that goes back to some of the stuff we were talking about earlier, Monica brings up an interesting point, which is, you know, like aside from the, the sort of psychological or emotional or a hierarchical positional, dangerous of OPI, they’re our actual other dangers to OPI.
And one of them, his like in the age of consent, what does audience interaction look like? And he, how do you get it in a room? What, what, there is a real dangerous there, dangers of privacy, trauma triggering and everything else you could, you could imagine it’s so it’s, I have questions about that. I mean, I’m working them out and you know, and the stuff I do, I don’t have the answers, but, but there are some problems and the team is working in a space that sort of invites interaction invites, talking back, invites movement.
It, you’re not that far away from the people, a King in the ditch and hiring sex workers. You are not that far. I mean, you know, we serve alcohol at our shows and that’s, that’s a major risk that, that, that you’re giving permission to, to a certain degree. And then as we have seen, some people will take that permission and do the wrong thing. Right. So I have I’ve questions about, about how that works.
Yeah. I’ll just toss that there, that it’s done this past January, there was a workshop that was actually starting to grapple with bat. So it seems that that, that is on intimacy. Director’s radar. That idea of, if we are doing this type of production, how do we deal with consent and the audience? Hmm. At all. So let’s say the audiences for our own productions, we are always better when the, when the bar was open.
And now this brings me like the talk of bars makes me think about the a, a, a, an angle of this. We haven’t talked about much, which is a sort of Original, Practices a business model, which does tie into the marketing a piece for sure, but like their company structure. And, and I think in, in, in my context, The the open bar and the interactive environment are like insurance policies against what might be a mediocre or even bad play.
Like one of those that, that Dennis has seen write. So I’m trying to, as a, as a producer, right? Not an artist. Exactly. Although some artists are producers and vice versa. I think they’re actually, those skills do not overlap in a lot of ways, but I’m, I’m, I’m trying to I’m to create insurance policies. And one of them absolutely is the authenticity thing. One of them absolutely has a, like a nostalgia thing, like for, for now 400 years that we’ve been doing these plays.
And you’re sorta part of that, that a community of longevity, those are things I’m trying to play into as a marketer and producer, and I’m doing them. Like, there are plenty of Opie things that I’m doing to get that, but there are plenty of non-opiate things you would do to get that, to like casting attractive people is one of those insurance policies. Do you know what I mean? And so making sure the music is beautiful and the environment is a beautiful, those are insurance policies as well, that I think pick up on some cues, maybe from the period about how they were putting these plans together, right?
The live music piece, the sword fights at intermission, the, the, you go to the theater. And if you would, if you would like to hire a sex worker, that’s totally an option. I mean, those are insurance policies against a bad play. And that’s part of what I, I would just like to offer as part of the Opie conversation as well.
I think I, I’m definitely, City definitely sympathetic to that. Right. Of how do you get an audience engaged? Right. I don’t know how you do Mary. wives’ a Windsor, unless everybody’s kinda of at least half and the bag, but at some of the pressures behind this, that our needs too.
How could we have a phrase again, but I’m confident that it will shake out like the last one did. So we’re just gonna wait a minute.
If you’re watching from home now is a great time to send some questions, then a Scott we got a, we had a phrase again, so, so yeah.
Alright. Let me try one time. Okay, good. As long as that joke landed we’re okay. I think it highlights the, the, the entailments, right. Of trying to produce Arts and in an economy, in an economic system that does not inherently reward the making of art. But one of the things it means is we ended up buying into a necessity for survival sake, Wright some of those other things that our economic system has done, and this kind of leads me back again to the, about Shakespeare and Bart, all the tree as a tool of colonization, both.
So is an economic system, right. That we’re all living in that they’re not that extractable. And, and again, I don’t hold that against anybody whose trying to survive and keep artists paid, but we can, at least we’ve got to take a moment and not notice. I think that those all work together and we’re all kind of stuck in it.
So when we’re not doing Oop, what are we doing with Shakespeare for those? And the, the, like Opie had a problem with tab, like, this is your part of, to like, what do you want to do with Shakespeare?
And I, I guess maybe a good reference is actually something Dan said about finding a baseline, where do you start from? And you said he likes to start from kind of what was going on when it was written. I tend to try to start first and foremost before anything else with either the student’s or the audience and in front of me. And for me more often than not, it’s the students’ going to teach a lot of training programs. And so I will do whatever occurs to me, to the text, keep what’s there, get rid of what doesn’t work.
As long as I’m making something that I think is bringing to life, something in those actors. The last show I directed, I did Julius Caesar up in interlock end with a cast of 11 to 15 year olds. I think we had one male identifying actor and the whole show. So I said it in the world of gossip girl, because that to me was a place where it, how do we make politics and Elizabethan our culture and the Roman plays right vital to these actors without moving them to the show. How do we move the show to them?
And I’m not going to say every moment worked, but at least kind of the beginning of the Meyer approach, I guess, is my, the baseline is what do we find in this text that we can move to the artists and in the room instead of moving in to it?
Yeah, I think similarly I start with what are the ideas that are resonating the most right now? And sometimes those ideas are frivolous and idiotic and so much fun. And it’s sometimes those are ideas that are heavy and intense. So I’ve done the seven person measure for measure that was, had a circuit, even with the second a brewery literally performed into in the tap room. The, the Richard, the second that I was talking about earlier was a 20 to people. It was all rooted in today’s notion. So the social media umm, and the, the, the public versus the private.
And so we had Lizzo and childish Gambino and lady Gaga, and everyone was dressed into a hook chair and would of been a fabulous. So for me, it’s all about what’s. What is that hook? What is that, that idea that we’re exploring that that is going to bring
This forward in your own text to life in a new way, and to help us make those connections that, Hey, this is all cyclical is all happening before. This is just where we are. Again at this moment in my own practice, I’ve started moving towards a lot of device work with very small tasks, you know, three person, a version of the Scott of claim to fame. And one of the things that I do with a heart, like Original Practices sheets here, the case story.
So going back to The historically informed avant guard, like is it is very avant guard and it, you know, female focused and you know, one on a stage and using our voices to create all the ears down so that I’m, I have one, a historical point of reference that is mixed into this bag. And I don’t differentiate, I add it all like a giant melting pot, big two of everything.
I can put it until I come up with whatever this show looks like. And by the way that I started working with the historical, what we know about Shakespeare state and conditions, Shakespeare so rehearsal Practices and throwing it into a, a much more modern production.
Yeah. I would say some of what mine looks like when it’s one is a departure. And I think it actually probably is more than it isn’t a departure from whatever the, the, the baseline is a looks like site specific stuff, I think will look like, I don’t know. It’s like Shakespeare, if Shakespeare is done by the cast of glee, so a lot’s of music and movement sequences, that help sort of short circuit, you know, we need a shipwreck.
So it’s like this deconstructed something, you know, and then like when were on the text, it sort of switches maybe back to something sort of more typical prototypical. But I, I, some of what I think these Practices do, or like, like nicely against what you might see at a, at a sort of modern, sort of straight modern company that happens to new classical work, like a Bedlam or something like that.
Yeah. Others, well friends, we have reached the end of our time. I loved this conversation. Thank you. Wonderful. Thank you for being here. A contributing to it, opening up perspectives. It’s been really, really helpful. Thank you for indulging me mostly, but thank you for being a guest, a sweet tea tonight.
Umm, those of you listening out in the universe. Thanks for listening. You should know that this is, we do these streams now and again, cause we have nothing else to do. We can’t be in a room with people. So if you’d like to see another one, let us know what you’d like that to be. If you want to get in touch with any of our guests tonight, just let us know. Our email address is Hours that’s Hours with an H H O U R firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to pass that word along and maybe we can have you back sometime to continue part too.
Now that we’ve started, we strive to work really a regional practice shutting off the plane. We are, we are pulling out, we are pulling the Shakespeare and shutting down for the plague. Well thank you all. It’s been a delight. Glad to have you. Nice to meet you had late in you Scott thanks for being here. Great beard. And we’ll hopefully do this again some time. Thank you.
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