Submitted by Leon Ingulsrud on February 4, 2014 - 5:34pm
On Monday of this week, as New York city was steadily brushed by the broad cold white paintbrush of winter, the SITI Conservatory trekked down from our home studio in the Garment district down past the Meatpacking district to the Westbeth, to spend the afternoon working in the Martha Graham’s Company’s beautiful 11th floor, penthouse studio.
SITI Company first worked in this room when we rehearsed our Trojan Women there in preparation for performing it at BAM in 2012. But our shared sense of history in the space went much deeper than that…
Submitted by Leon Ingulsrud on January 22, 2014 - 9:28pm
One of the things that we’ve been hoping to achieve with this website siti.org is to give some context and background information about our productions as they are being created. This is always a tricky thing to do because the process of creating a play is so deeply personal and fraught with doubts and missteps and time spent barking up wrong trees.
Despite this, I feel that it is important to give access to some sense of what a production goes through on its way to the stage, and I think there is interest out there for it.
To this end, we have put together “In Process” pages for two productions we are currently working on: Steel Hammer and Persians.
Submitted by Barney O'Hanlon on January 18, 2014 - 5:56pm
Last week was quite the week!
Our conservatory was back in session after winter recess and all the participants came back with their game faces on! We are deep in already and preparing for the final production as yet to be devised and titled. This is the dream time with the participants, a chance to dream up the production and content, what it looks like, sounds like, feels like and how to go about making it. Leon is teaching a special class called Collaboration that will be soley devoted to devising the final production. There are a ton of great ideas and images and sources already. Should be a blast to put together. These artists are very special and work/collaborate so well together. I expect an awesome show! We’ll let you know the details as we get closer to production in May.
Submitted by Anne Bogart on January 15, 2014 - 3:10pm
Most SITI Company members have heard me tell the “naked nun” joke far too many times. It goes something like this: soon after emerging from a hot bath, a nun, still naked, hears a knock on her cell door. “Who’s there?” she asks. A man’s booming voice answers, “It’s the blind man.” Assuming that he cannot see her, the nun does not bother putting on her clothes and opens the door to find a man carrying a large package on his shoulder. He looks her up and down and says, “Nice tits, now where do you want the blinds?”
If any company member is present when I am telling the “naked nun” joke, I know that I must find a way to tell it with an irresistible freshness. If I do not, I know that my colleagues will not be amused. For me the task is clear: make it new! To reinvent the story while telling it requires heightened awareness and wakefulness. I pay sharp attention to attack, accents and timing.
Similarly, I find that part of the challenge, of working with the same group of people for over two decades, is that it is very difficult to rest on one’s laurels and suggest old stand-by ideas or solutions to new problems. In rehearsal I cannot propose ideas that we have used before without getting grief about applying concepts from a previous production. “You have pulled that card already,” someone is bound to say.
Submitted by J.Ed Araiza on December 18, 2013 - 1:03pm
To my old friends and new ones at the wonderful Inaugural class of the SITI Conservatory. I started this 2 weeks ago in LA but forgot to post it. So pardon the belated entry. j.
Hello from Los Angeles where people are all wearing jackets and coats as the weather here has dropped from 80* F last Sunday to 44 *F last night. Today is Friday and the temperature is supposed to drop to below 40 this evening as I write this in my office at UCLA. The campus is in Westwood just east of Santa Monica and the ocean so it does gets cooler here at night than downtown LA where I am staying now. Today was my last class for the fall quarter but I am staying to see an evening performance of a Greek comedy by a graduate director, I am especially interested in her work since Eliza will be applying for the SITI Summer Intensive at Skidmore….And that is somewhat common in my life out here now – how to keep and maintain my relationship with my company and so now to you, the members of our inaugural SITI Conservatory class.
Submitted by Barney O'Hanlon on December 15, 2013 - 10:41am
Barney here. Hard to believe it but we just finished up our 2nd to the last week of the 1st semester. It’s gone so quickly and so beautifully. This was a very special week as it was the final composition showings for invited guests based on the participants work on the Persians that we will be doing at the Getty Villa in the summer of 2014. This is a great opportunity for SITI Company to see what the play might be and also what it doesn’t want to be. The 4 compositions were amazing and strong and WILDLY different which is a testament to the diversity of our group! The week ended in a very special way as we took the last 3 days for SITI Company’s Creative Lab. Creative lab is literally a laboratory for SITI to work out ideas for our next big show. Normally it is just the company but Ellen had the brilliant idea of including the Conservatory, as they already have great insight into the material. So we ALL worked together unpacking this very difficult material.
Submitted by Anne Bogart on December 11, 2013 - 10:51am
The new Prompts for Anne approach to the blog has provoked some eloquent writing and thinking from various readers. A few of the prompts impelled me to respond and others are self-contained observations and rich thoughts, which I will include below. Please continue to send me prompts via email to prompts (at) siti.org.
From Neil Utterback:
As a theatre maker and a theatre educator I find myself often wrestling with an ethical issue. A significant foundation of our training at Juniata is in Viewpoints and Suzuki. I’ve been lucky enough to train with SITI on a couple of marvelous occasions yet I have never trained with SCOT (well, not yet). I guess it’s a kind of Theseus’ Ship problem: How many generations out does a thing no longer exist as the original? For example, if I have never trained with Suzuki can I call what I teach the Suzuki Method? Or if I am making my own additions and alterations to how I teach Viewpoints can I still say that I am teaching Viewpoints? Or is it something else? Or is it just about transparency? I feel like, as the training becomes more and more incorporated into academia and other companies, we have to engage in a conversation about its evolution, the genomics of theatre pedagogy, if you will. Thoughts?
Submitted by Akiko Aizawa on November 25, 2013 - 4:47pm
Time flies… I’m sorry for the delay of diary/blog entry.
sun. nov. 17 The sky was so beautiful on the flight back to NYC. This week started a bit heavy hearted, thinking of the people of The Philippines. When this kind of event happens, my heart aches. And looking around, I notice that some of my friends are facing to really difficult situation. I should reduce my complaining about small things.
Shout out for Kelly, Megan C. and Barney for their teaching marathon. Thank you!
Submitted by Gian-Murry Gianino on November 12, 2013 - 12:37pm
There are weeks, days, moments in life where you think you are right on the edge of not being able to handle what is being asked of you. And I know as I re-read that sentence that it seems laughable given the amount of things that I and the other members of the SITI faculty are currently asking of our SITI Conservatory company members. It also seems silly given the fact that my wife and I have a baby on the way and, from what people have been telling me, I don’t yet know anything about what it means to be overwhelmed and underprepared. Anyhow, for better or for worse - and even though I know the repercussions of “failing” are pretty small compared with what many people have to deal with in the world - I did have a moment of feeling completely overwhelmed this past week.
Submitted by Anne Bogart on November 11, 2013 - 4:23pm
Questions are the key tool of every theater artist. Each worthwhile project is animated by curiosity, by questions, by a nagging itch that requires attention. Part of what makes a play endure through time is the significance of the question that lies at its core.
Emily Dickenson wrote, “Wonder is not precisely knowing, and not precisely knowing not.” To live in between knowing and “knowing not” is a fecund place and a creative one as well.
I have found that many great questions can be answered with a single word: Exactly. These questions are themselves an embodiment of the action of trying to answer them. For example: Question: How can I balance my personal life and my professional life? Answer: Exactly. Or, question: How can I work collaboratively and yet still maintain my personal vision? Answer: Exactly. The paradox contains precisely the problem that needs attention. The answer is an ongoing action.