A Special Orem Public Library Performance of HENRY 5–FREE!

by Anne Flinders, dramaturgBYU's HENRY 5, 2013

BYU’s Young Company cast and crew is bringing a free performance of Henry 5 to the Orem Public Library (58 N State St, Orem). This special performance is a tradition that Young Company has shared with the library for several years, bringing excellent children’s theatre to the Orem community.

John Valdez in BYU's Young Company production of HENRY 5.

John Valdez in BYU’s Young Company production of HENRY 5.

The performance will be on Monday, April 15th at 7:00 pm in the storytelling wing of the library; the performance lasts about 50 minutes. It is open to the public and free of charge. The company will present the same production they have taken on the road over the past semester as part of their tour to elementary schools across the Wasatch Front.

One exciting and fun element of children’s theatre with Young Company is the invitation extended by cast members to some of the children in the audience to join the cast onstage. One of our cast members, Sarah Flinders (Canterbury/Boy/French King), was introduced to Shakespeare onstage as a little girl during a BYU Young Company production at the Orem library. She and  her sisters were invited to perform alongside the actors in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so technically her role in this production is not her first with the Young Company players! Children in the audience can again hope to be invited to share the stage with the cast in this production of Henry 5, just as Sarah did years ago.

The cast of BYU's Young Company production of HENRY 5

The cast of BYU’s Young Company production of HENRY 5

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Reflections

by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg

Theater is a live art. You share an experience physically together in a space with actors, crew, and fellow audience members. Things happen differently as actors attempt to repeat actions and new audiences with diverse experiences come in and receive new things, laugh in different places, and clap (or don’t) where no one has before. That’s what is exciting about theater. You can see the same play performed by the same company over and over, but still you can experience something new.

However, the problem with live art is there always comes a time when it has to die. The curtain falls on the performance and that production with those participants (actors and audience) in that space will never be performed ever again. It’s just gone.

Ali-Social-Worker

Just last week, I was discussing this with our stage manager, Hannah Richardson. Both of us have been a part of this production for almost a year and we were bemoaning the fact that this play that we helped to create, The Cleverest Thief, will probably never be produced again. It was a play written specifically for our audience by our audience. It was what it was. It didn’t try to be anything different. But because it was our stories, it connected more to us. Provoans wanted our stories as Provoans to be told. We filled that void. Would it be as effective in St. George, Seattle, New York, or LA? Probably not. Even performed here Gone Missing (which is set in New York) lost a little of its resonance with our audience.

deaf woman

Thinking about it now, I don’t know if I want it to be produced again. Maybe we take the process more than the production here. Maybe we inspire people to go out and perform and tell their own stories. Maybe it doesn’t have to be performed (in the traditional sense) to keep this particular piece of theater alive.

I guess it’s a little ironic that we are already feeling nostalgic about this show about loss. But as Dr. Palinurus revealed to us in Gone Missing, we enjoy this pain, this nostalgia, this pain in coming home again. There is something that interests us about loss and brings us closer together. We have all lost something. The difference is how we choose to deal with it. Even though we no longer have the production, we will always have the memory. We can always choose to enjoy that.

Thank you to all who came and shared your stories. They live on in our hearts and minds.

Design and Dramaturgy

by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg

This past week, our Gone Missing production team has broken into groups: Design and Dramaturgy.

The design team deep in discussion.

The designers will focus on how the show will look, how many screens we need, how we will use lighting, costumes, and projections to tell the stories of loss outlined in Gone Missing and The Cleverest Thief.

Some of the performance writers (Sarah Porter, Ali Kinkade, and Jenna Hawkins) putting a moment on its feet.

Meanwhile the dramaturgy group will be workshopping the moments we have chosen into a text that the actors can memorize and use. Basically what this means is that the four main writers will each take one moment we have chosen home. They will treat it as it’s own play thinking of traditional plot structure (inciting incident, rising action, climax) and write a draft. The next time we meet, they will bring it to class. The actors will read it and we will all give our comments and ask questions. The next night, the writer will take home a new moment (taking into consideration the comments given in class) and the whole process starts over again. We repeat this until we have a polished script that we can present at the end of February.

Transitions from Rehearsal to Stage

by Bianca Dillard, dramaturg

Our rehearsal process for Holiday has officially come to a close–last night was our last dress rehearsal and tonight will be our first preview. Now comes the part where we step out of the vacuum of rehearsal and on to the stage of performance where the interaction with the audience become real, and live, and tangible.

I would like to share a few last behind the scene photos to celebrate our rehearsal process and share a few production photos to whet your appetite for the performance itself.

 

In the coming days please stay tuned as I will be posting some material that will supplement the information provided in the Study Guide. In the mean time you are welcome to take a sneak peak at the Study Guide itself: here.

On the Trail with Sleepy Hollow

by Janine Sobeck, BYU Dramaturgy Specialist

Every semester the TYA production tours to schools in Utah, Salt Lake and Nebo counties.  The BYU students dedicate their Tuesdays and Thursdays to the show in order  to travel to the various schools, performing and offering different workshops.

In the middle of the semester, they add to their crazy touring schedule with a two week run on the BYU campus.  Traveling around Utah by day and in the BYU theatre at night, this is a time where the lives of the actors seem to be consumed by the show in an incredible and amazing way.  This period of immersion also gives a great testament as to how the production, which has been carefully crafted for the young, school-level audiences, has the ability to delight the families, college students and others who see it during the BYU run.

For The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, it is that special time of the semester.  The company has spent the last week and a half performing in BYU’s Margetts theatre, bringing this spooky tale to campus right in time for Halloween.  The audiences have been a great mix of young and old, with all groups getting pulled in by the interactive nature of the show.  When I personally saw the show, I saw everyone from little kids, to parents, to students, to our older generation stand up and dance, sing and ride the occasional “horse.”  I made a window with the little girl across the aisle, created a “river” with the the students sitting across the stage, and held a “baby” when the actors were called elsewhere. It was a great reminder of how much FUN theatre that is heavy on imagination can be.

There’s only a few days left in the BYU run, but The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will continue its traveling production through the beginning of December.

Horizontal Theater

by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg

One of the most well known theatrical companies to use the devising method is the Tectonic Theater Project headed by Moisés Kaufman. Some of their most well known works include 33 Variations, Gross Indecency, and The Laramie Project. In each of these cases, the company implements the technique of horizontal theater.

The traditional setup of theater is vertical. You begin with a text. Then you add set, costumes, lights, a director’s concept, and actors. You build upwards always referencing the foundation (i.e. the text) off of which every decision is based.

Horizontal theater on the other hand treats every aspect of theater as equally important. Instead of building one on top of the other they come to fruition at the same time, with theater practitioners working together and influencing one another. Kaufman refers to these theater makers as “performance writers,” as they are all trying to create the performance as opposed to being assigned to specific roles like actor, writer, costumer, designer, or dramaturg. We all work together to write the performance.

Through out the process we are constantly keeping the end in mind. Our moments are not just words on the page but mini-performances that attempt to convey our message not just textually, but performatively.

In the upcoming week, we will be choosing the moments that we love the most and piecing them together (ordering them into a cohesive play) to write our performance.

Stay tuned to hear more about our process from our other performance writers!

Sleepy Hollow Rehearsal Sneek Peak!

by Megan Chase, dramaturg

Our Sleepy Hollow cast and crew are hard at work gearing up for the first performance! Below are pictures from their early rehearsals.

Stage Manager Brittany Corbett with Actors Johnny Spelta and Lisa Moncur

Director Teresa Love giving advice to Actor Devin Wadsworth and Stage Manager Brittany Corbett

Making Ichabod Crane on his horse come to life

Sleepy Hollow – where surprises are continuously sneaking up on you