I’m the kind of person who over-thinks everything. This tendency of mine gets me stuck in a lot of stressful ruts, because I put too much pressure on myself to “get it right.” So when Marjana told us in voice class, “Don’t sing the song. Let the song sing you,” I was a little taken aback. How can it be that easy? Don’t I have to go in knowing how I’m supposed to stand and how I’m supposed to breathe and how I’m supposed to shape my mouth to let the different vowels come out? Sure enough, for the folk music that we were singing, you can’t overthink it. It’s impossible, because the beauty of the song presents itself differently every single time you sing them. Marjana taught me to relax and let the song flow through me rather than trying to force anything. This academic gem is something I will definitely share with friends at home when they are working too hard or overthinking a task that should be able to come much more easily.
Another jewel that I will definitely be sharing with my friends and family is Scotty’s technique of how to make juggling balls using just balloons and rice and a funnel (or half of a water bottle). You simple fill one balloon with rice, then cut the neck off of two other balloons and wrap them around the first balloon to prevent it from breaking. I am planning to be a teacher when I grow up, so I am always thrilled to learn how to make things, especially something as fun and useful as juggling balls, because I just picture myself the entire time teaching young children how to duplicate the process. I think any of my friends who babysit or work as camp counselors will benefit from this knowledge as well.
– Kristen Wendt
Contact improv. Just contact inprov everywhere. In the hallways, in the dining hall, during math class. I will find a way to incorporate it in whatever I do. I also want to teach people how to make masks. It is easy enough to do actually, all the supplies are easy to find, it just takes time and patience. I would love use the tools I learned in mask making to teach kids at the local theatre in my town.
– Marissa Cutrona
Being a directing major at my home institution, I am constantly trying to think of ways I can bring what I have learned during my time here at the Accademia back to the states. In addition to directing, and theatre in general, dance has always been a huge passion of mine. I seriously thought I was going to pursue dance professionally for most of my life and it continues to find its way into my theatre work in almost every project I do. I think one of the most valuable tools I have added to my toolbox at the ADA has been contact improvisation. Essentially, contact improv is just improvised movement that incorporates physical contact and lifts with a partner or multiple partners. Contact improv can be a beautiful way to express emotion or a story just like words and scene work can. I look forward to trying to incorporate contact both into actual plays that I direct in the future as well as just using it in the rehearsal process as an ensemble building, comfortability exercise. Improvising movement, lifts, and weight sharing with a partner quickly forces you to trust one another and that is an extremely valuable and absolutely imperative step in the rehearsal process for actors working together in a production.
Second, I am looking forward to striving towards creating the open and honest environment that we have in every ADA class, in my rehearsal room and in shows that I direct in the future. I have never been in a theatrical setting that encourages you to take risks and fail the way that the teachers here do. They not only accept our failures, but they encourage them. For, how can you ever know the right way to do something until you’ve experienced the wrong way, and the other wrong way, and even the other wrong way? I hope to make my actors feel the way that Claudia, Kevin, Michele, Michaela, Marianna, and Joe makes us feel in class; that we are human, that we are artists, and that we will and must make mistakes to ever learn anything or create art that means something.
– Mary Elizabeth Barker
When people who are not versed in physical theater or art in general ask me what I’ve learned this semester an easy and concrete response is “I learned how to do a headstand!” Of course a headstand is only the tip of the iceberg of physical knowledge that Claudia and the rest of the Accademia has crashed into me. The collision has left me with an exponentially increased sense of balance and stronger than I’ve ever felt; I feel like if I claimed that “I’ll never let go, Jack” I would be able to keep my promise. Yet opportunities to save people from the freezing ocean come only once or twice in a lifetime and a headstand is something I can impress grandma with any day.
Ho anche imparato un po’ d’italiano. Voglio continuare di praticare questa bella lingua. Adesso posso parlare in italiano quando pagare per cibo e biglietti e vino, e quando mi incontro personi al bar. L’italiano mi piace molto; Grazie Lorenza!
– Mike Lion