Sunday, December 7, 2008

Masters of Mucho Merriment

I can’t tell you how much FUN was had this past week. That’s right FUN in capitals. There were times I looked around at my class and said “I’m sorry, are we in the process of earning a Master’s Degree? Because I sure don’t feel like I’m in the rigors of academia right now.” And oh how I love it! Even though I have been battling a vicious cold all week there has been nothing but good times in the classroom; good times mixed with a little mucus, but still good times.

The first two days of the week were spent with our playwrights. I have been assigned to David Harrower’s group. Monday we talked about his concept for the play he is going to write. We discussed characters and story structure and comedy. Then we did a little improvisation on the concepts. Tuesday we started out by watching videos that illustrated the story structures we discussed and we looked at some comedy clips. In the afternoon; more improv. It was very collaborative and artistically fulfilling as we tossed ideas around and tried them. And then Tuesday after class it got even better. We all, including Mr. Harrower, went out for drinks. We were at the pub for hours but it didn’t feel that way. The group opened up to each other; we talked about our favorite movies and plays and how some of these changed our lives, how they made us want to become artists, how they inspired us. We laughed, we cried, we bonded and it was beautiful. Truly beautiful. Don’t laugh! Because it was. Beautiful people, beautiful.

Wednesday we started a three day workshop with Ben Harrison from Grid Iron. Grid Iron is a theatre company here in Scotland known for its site specific work. One of their major credits to date was a show called Roam which was the first and only play set in an airport. The security clearances alone were a major feat. Roam was ten years in the making. Mr. Harrison talked about his company, Grid Iron, and the many other site specific theatres all over Europe. It was fascinating to hear about how and where some productions were staged. The creativity and inventiveness of these companies is something awe inspiring. I am eager to see them in action.

There were also games and exercises to be played. This is where the capital FUN came in full force. Many focused on awareness and group dynamic. The best was played Thursday afternoon when one person had to leave the room and the group set them a task to perform. When the person re-entered they had to guess what they were to do and the only way they knew if they were on the right track was by applause. We would clap if they were moving toward the goal. It was absolutely hysterical. We did nothing but laugh the whole afternoon.

This past was a fantastic week with loads of laughter! This week coming we do have to get a little more serious I’m afraid. We have papers to write. That does sound like school work, doesn’t it? Yes, summary essays on the term’s objectives are due. We also have one on one meetings with the faculty to assess our progress. Later in the week we get an introduction to what we can expect next term at The Globe in London. And we finish the week working with our playwrights again.

So until next week: stay warm my friends!

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