Tag Archives: ensemble

Countdown: 3 days!

27 Jul

As we edge ever closer to this year’s Retreat, we’re looking back at the wrap-up reports from last year. Check out these write ups from 2011 retreatants — click their names for links to full posts:

Nina Louise Morrison

“I am always returning to the question – why this right now? – as I sit and write, alone. I do this because I want the plays I write to mean something, not only to me, but to be worthy of other people’s blood, sweat and tears.  A play asks for the time, attention, spirit, and money of so many people.  So, whether my play is intended to make an audience cry, think, sigh or laugh, I take my job pretty seriously.  Probably, often, too seriously.”

Meron Langsner

“About ten days ago I returned to Boston from one of my best creative and collaborative experiences in a long time.  I am a person who really enjoys what I do, so these are strong words. …The whole week was one constant shifting experience of creative synergy.  Every collaborator I had the pleasure of working with was incredibly smart, giving, and creative and in every group the sum was always greater than the whole of the parts.  This sounds a little cheesy, but everyone made everyone else a better artist.”

Colleen Hughes

“I learned a lot about my own process, and I learned that I love collaborative projects even more than I’d realized before the retreat. I love working with other people and getting to create something even better than I could have made on my own. I went into grad school not knowing anyone else who wrote plays. After I finished school, I knew a nice group of amazing writers, but I didn’t know many other theatre artists working in different disciplines. I now have a group that consists of not only writers but dramaturgs, sound designers, puppet designers, and fight directors who I feel I could call on when a project needed it. It made me want to work collaboratively so much more often.”


Charts Charts Charts: Visualizing the Creation of New Work

19 Jul

Over here at PwritesCom, we’re thinking a lot these days about the various modes of creation for new work — especially in advance of the Freedom Art Retreat. On one side of the spectrum of creation techniques there’s the single generative artist (playwright, or auteur director) who assembles to themselves a set of collaborators and sub-creators to bring the work to fruition. On the other end, we have totally ensemble devised works in which all participants, from actor to designer, have equal standing in the direction the work takes.  I recently stumbled upon a useful set of charts which help to visualize the differences.

…Click images to embiggen ’em…

First, I’ve long been a fan of the way Austin’s Rude Mechs conceives of its ensemble creation process. It’s one where members wear the very definite hats of Playwright, Director, Actor, Dramaturg, Designer, etc, but only at certain points. There’s a malleability in the structure of creation which I find inspiring. This is the diagram they used to explain the jobs of ensemble members in the creation of The Method Gun. This image originally appeated in issue number 4 of Play: A Journal of Plays, published by Paper Theatre.

Rude Mechs creation process for THE METHOD GUN, published in Paper Theatre's "Play: A Journal of Plays" #4.

The following images and descriptions (all by Ming Chen) were originally published in the article “Polyphonic Dynamics as Educational Practice” by Ming Chen, Ivan Pulinkala, and Karen Robinson: Theatre Topics, Volume 20, number 2, Sept 2010 (if you have a access to the Project Muse database through a university or public library, the original article can be found here.)

1. This diagram demonstrates the traditional linear trajectory of the creative process:

This diagram demonstrates the traditional linear trajectory of the creative process. (Source: Ming Chen)

(Post continues after the jump…)

Continue reading