Archive for February, 2016

Dramaturg to the Rescue! How Lauren Feldman Saved Our Show

February 16, 2016 Comments Off on Dramaturg to the Rescue! How Lauren Feldman Saved Our Show Uncategorized

Jayne & KillianAs many of you know, our show “The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog” underwent quite the metamorphosis this year! We had a phenomenal cast, amazing crew, and a great idea; but, when it came to actually writing the script, well, let’s just say we should have stuck with what we do best – circus! Over time, it became clear that we really needed some help telling our story. In a series of miraculous coincidences, we found the PERFECT person to help! Enter dramaturg (and all around amazing human being) Lauren Feldman.


Dramaturg: a literary editor who consults with authors and edits texts.


Not only is Lauren a stellar dramaturg and playwright, but she’s also an accomplished circus artist herself! This made things SO much easier, as we didn’t have to bring her into our world, explain what an aerial silk is, etc – we just got down to the business of creating theatrical circus. So many of you have asked what this process was like for us, so I figured I’d write up a little bloggie and share!

Stage One – What the Hell are We Doing?

We first met with Lauren in New York City, where we promptly gave her every script, idea, and wild tangent we’ve ever considered. You know how some folks go into their accountant’s office once a year at tax time and dump a huge bag of receipts on their desk? Yeah – that’s about what what we did. When we’d finished, she sat for a moment, and I thought, “this is it. This is where she says it’s just not going to work out”. But instead, she took a deep breath, and began asking questions. Slowly, over the next hour, an unlikely sense of order and possibility took shape. We still weren’t sure anyone could make sense of that tangled mess, but we knew this for certain: if anyone could, it was Lauren.

Stage Two – Where the Hell are We Going?

Intergalactic Isolation

Intergalactic Isolation

Over the next couple of months, we had a number of phone meetings. Each time, I would feel so anxious at the start of the call. Too many ideas in my head! Too many technical considerations! Too much to

make and do and fix! But – and this was the most incredible thing about working with Lauren – within minutes, the questions started again, and that tangle of ideas and technical stuff and worry began to be teased apart into something that looked like (gasp!) a story! Every time we hung up the phone, our team was positively euphoric at the direction everything was headed. All those ideas we couldn’t put into words had been translated into something very real, and it was such a relief after literally years of trying to hammer this out on our own.

Stage Three – Why the Hell Didn’t We Do This Sooner?

For the final phase, Lauren came to NYC to watch our dress-tech before we headed out for a one-off in Ohio. Ever-insightful, and with a keen directorial eye, she offered incredible feedback, which added depth to both the story and the performance.

Our team had quite the face-palm moment when all was said and done. You have to know what you don’t know, and be willing to bring in professional help when you need it. I wish with all my heart that we had hired a dramaturg sooner! If you have a story to tell, and it’s just not coming out the way you’d envisioned, RUN (do not walk) to the nearest amazing dramaturg (pssst – I have a great one to recommend). Dare to imagine, Laura

If you’d like to get in touch with Lauren, here’s how!

LAUREN FELDMAN

www.laurenfeldman.com

lauren.m.feldman@gmail.com

Lauren loves to roll up her sleeves and sit down with each artist or company, ask questions, watch, listen, share possibilities, and work in tandem with the artist(s) to help them create the strongest, boldest, most artfully crafted version of their work, within their unique process and vision. She has a keen artistic eye; a bold imagination; a fondness for collaboration; and a love of the interplay between style, structure, form, and content.

In addition to working as a circus dramaturg for companies and shows, Lauren offers private lessons to circus artists in

– Act creation (at any stage in the process – whether actively on the apparatus or by sitting and discussing)
– Act development & refinement
– Theatricality & performance skills
– Finding, creating, or utilizing text for performance

Lauren’s plays and circus acts have been seen internationally. She is also a freelance dramaturg, an artistic collaborator, and a teaching artist and professor. She served on the Circus Dramaturgy panel hosted by Circus Now at the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, and she offers a workshop on Making Circus That Matters around the country, most recently at the New England Center for Circus Arts/Brattleboro, Circus Now’s CirQ Through/Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, the Southern Fried Circus Festival/Dallas, and Versatile Arts/Seattle. She holds an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama, is an alumna of NECCA’s Pro-Track program, and is passionate about the art of crafting live performance.

For more info on Lauren, there’s this: www.laurenfeldman.com

For more info on her co-created full-length show Tinder & Ash, check out: www.tinderandash.com or watch the trailer at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7LzIzE9AUA

Upcoming events:

Making Circus That Matters, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, Fri Feb 19: tinyurl.com/circusmatters

How Do I Start: Ten Different Starting Points for Making an Act, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, Fridays in March and April: tinyurl.com/circusmatters

 

 

Take the HO HUM out of Ambiance Work

February 8, 2016 Comments Off on Take the HO HUM out of Ambiance Work Working in Circus
Pouring champagne usually lasts only a short time, then what?

Pouring champagne usually lasts only a short time, then what?

Let’s face it, doing ambiance work can be as exciting as watching your toenails dry. While you don’t have to prepare in any way ahead of time, it just lacks the drama of live performance. More and more people are asking for a pretty smiling face to hover mid-air while people mill about below, like the Cheshire Cat at a mad tea party. So how do keep from going insane yourself? Here are some tips and tricks to keep ambiance from being ambivalence.

 

1. Play with musicality- Play with whatever the DJ plays. Counter the music or use it, but see how you can dance it out a bit (without killing yourself).
2. Think of it as paid training- Sometimes just your attitude can make a difference. When you get to your last set, try to do all the hard stuff you know to build your endurance.Hammock 1 edit
3. Find an audience – Often at these cocktail parties, you could pick your nose up there and no one would notice (in NYC anyway). But see if you can find one person who is willing to look up from their bean dip long enough to watch you, then lock eyes with your audience of one and do a few sequences just for them. Chances are it will make both your evenings.
4. Give yourself a challenge- Set up some obstacle like undoing a habit you have. If you happen to always do things in threes, try doing them in twos or fours. Or try doing all the things you know involving feet.
5. Be a character-Pretend you are specific person or animal up there. Don’t go crazy and start sniffing your own armpits, but see if you can subtly bring a little Bob Fosse or Missy Elliott in there…Or Mary Poppins.
6. Go with how you feel- If you just can’t get it up (aerially), use that malaise to languish in poses a little. Make it slow and sultry, extend slowly, and milk your transitions. You’ll feel less like you are struggling.

Michelle Glow Straddle EditThere are about a thousand creative ways to keep it interesting for yourself while still staying in the visual background. The main thing to remember is that you are being paid to do something you love. And even if this particular type of work can be challenging, it has its advantages too!

 
Dare to Imagine – Angela Attia