Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Kicking to the Left

Our latest project has taken a bit of a left turn. We are supposed to be a devising group, and here we are working on a new play. Conventionally. Mark is the playwright. I am the director. And Jason is writing music. I’ve been consulting with a costume designer (the ever-talented Patti McCory), and, in a feat of last-minute generosity, Diego Villada has agreed to help me with some fight choreography from afar. My colleagues at the University of Evansville have been incredibly accommodating about letting us use the May Studio Theatre for rehearsals and odd items from props storage. We’re not exactly breaking new ground with our process. I have mixed (get it?) feelings about that. I feel lucky to be collaborating with such talented people on an exploration of the all-too-timely complications of police brutality. I know this

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Indy Fringe and The Shout

In The Mix is headed to Indianapolis with a new show! In this contemporary comedy, two college friends join a round-the-clock protest outside a disgraced policeman’s home, only to have their change-the-world optimism challenged by the friendliest of local beat cops. Performance Times: Thursday, August 13, 2015 – 6:00pm Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 7:30pm Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 1:30pm Monday, August 17, 2015 – 9:00pm Friday, August 21, 2015 – 10:30pm Saturday, August 22, 2015 – 7:30pm Check out our new fabulous collaborators who are involved in the show on our In The Mix page.  Hope to see you in Indy!

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Calling All Couchsurfers

If you’ve read Mark’s last blog, you know we are concerned about losing Lauren, a truly valued member of our ensemble. It’s not that we haven’t faced crises before; we’ve suffered transience, but we are definitely the kind of company that will find a way to keep working. Also, we’re pretty lucky.

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Tango Artist (Video)

  “Tango Artist” evolved from Astor Piazzolla’s “Bordel 1900” from Histoire du Tango, a regular part of the Fourth Wall’s performance repertoire.  Both the members of The Fourth Wall (Hilary Abigana, Greg Jukes, and Neil Parsons) and In the Mix had expressed an interest in seeing what might happen if the music from an existing piece were subjected to entirely new interpretations.  Also, we wanted to explore ways of keeping music from becoming a “soundtrack.”  How could we establish music as part of the storytelling, a device no less important than text or movement? After listening to “Tango” and viewing the Fourth Wall’s original choreography, we began “exploding” their work by breaking into pairs that matched a musician with a non-musician.  In each case, the non-musician attempted to physicalize the music while simultaneously improvising a new story or scenario.  The

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Future Unafraid

Mark

With our collaborative workshop with the Fourth Wall concluded, we Mixers must now ask the age-old question, “Where to now?” (Or, as Bernie Taupin put it, “Where to now, St. Peter?”) Our first challenge is time. Our second challenge is distance. Our third challenge is the future. Surely we are not the only company facing this tripartite threat? Plus, we have a fourth challenge, which I would list above, but then the poetry of the “tripartite threat” would be lost, so. This last challenge comes first. Owing to a new job, we are losing Mixer Lauren Weber Frederick to the great state of New Mexico. Yes, she’s moving to Albuquerque. Aside from our disappointment and dismay, we are faced once again with the question of finding, if we want, a fourth member––preferably one who is trained and skilled in movement

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Laban’s Efforts

As we work to physicalize stories, we sometimes feel ourselves “miming” too much. This skill-building exercise helps us begin the process of abstracting our movement. Move in the space, exploring one of the “Eight Efforts” listed in the chart below. Once everyone has a sense of the quality of each movement, trying having people explore them in pairs. What happens when Float and Press interact with each other? Thrust and slash? Wring and Glide? Flick and Dab? Explore the power dynamics that emerge.   Movement Quality Time Space Weight Flow Float sustained indirect light free Press sustained direct strong bound Punch/thrust quick direct strong bound Slash quick indirect strong bound Wring sustained indirect strong bound Glide sustained direct light free Flick quick indirect light free Dab quick direct light bound

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Flocking (Video)

This activity helps build ensemble cohesion. Begin as a tightly formed group, all facing the same direction. Make sure everyone is on a different plane, not in a line. Goal: move in unison, following the forward-most person. Transfer leadership with the leader’s physical or visual focus shifts to place another performer at the front. Flocking: A Brief Demo

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Integrated Storytelling

We do this activity when we want to generate a quick series of stories that integrate movement, text, and music. Most of the stories don’t “work,” but the exercise helps us improve our flexibility and confidence. Set a two-minute timer. Any person may begin with any element, working with the “basic story structure”: set the situation, throw in an obstacle, draw toward a conclusion. (It helps to start with a character’s name and a specific goal.) The storytelling may involve any combination of the elements, simultaneously or not. Anyone may step out and observe at any time. As soon as the timer goes off, reset it and try again. Keep going, even after you think you’ve gone too long. (We need to work more on fully integrating the elements in this version. We are definitely open to suggestions!)    

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Story Montage

With this “game,” we explore possibilities for improvising stories with each other. Begin with text. (Anyone may begin. This person becomes the “lead storyteller.”) The lead storyteller works with the “basic story structure”: set the situation, throw in an obstacle, draw toward a conclusion. (It helps to start with a character’s name and a specific goal.) Meanwhile, “supporting storytellers” experiment with echoes and extensions of the words, always remaining open to taking over as storyteller. The lead storyteller owns the story until a second person picks it up. Possible variations: create a story montage with movement or music.

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Cross Fade

This exercise developed from our attempts to use music, voice, and movement to tell a story. We struggled to make sure we continued the story with the addition of each elements. This approach worked best: Any person may begin the story the story with any element. That person continues until the next person takes over the story with another element. Cross-fade. The next element should extend the story without simply describing what just happened. This goal is best accomplished with the “basic story structure”: set the situation, throw in an obstacle, draw toward a conclusion. (It helps to start with a character’s name and a specific goal.)

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