Here we go again.Â More ATHE conference Day Two for you.Â Previous posts are listed at the end of this one.
- Writing About Theatre Practice
This may be old hat for the professional writers out there, but Iâ€™m a lover of writing, not a pro so this little panel held a lot of useful info, even though I walked in late.
- â€œNostalgiaâ€ for discoveries and experiences (as a teacher, director, whatever) can be a hindrance because these things need to be re-examined and formulated into scholarly language.Â In other words, take a step back and take your heart out of it just long enough to see whatâ€™s there for others who donâ€™t have your personal memories.
- Get a couple of samples of the journal first before submitting.Â Iâ€™ve heard this before, and I have yet to do.Â I guess I will now since itâ€™s been said to me so may times!
- Articles need an argument and a theoretical exploration.Â â€œreframing an experience in terms of an argument.â€Â Right, that would be why all my â€˜essaysâ€™ read like poetry; I rarely have an actual argument.Â Ha!
- Journals to explore:Â Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Players Journal
- Donâ€™t worry about cutting things down because it could be the case that â€œthe thing that you have to cut from this article is the kernel of the next article.â€
- Only peer-reviewed journals will be considered for a tenure track.
- â€œYou must eliminate every word in that sentence that doesnâ€™t deserve to be thereâ€¦good writing is good writing and scholarly writing doesnâ€™t have to be baroque.â€Â -Robert Barton
- Risking Theatre for the Very Young â€“ Art, Education or Experimentation?
This presentation was a delightful introduction to an educational program at University of Wisconsin-Madison spear-headed by Manon van de Water.Â She discovered a script that was then translated into English for children called â€œThe Falling Girls.â€Â Two girls fall from the sky into the dessert.Â There is a girl in the dessert who draws them pictures.Â The two girls fight and try to figure out how to get back to their planets.Â I only saw excerpts and havenâ€™t read the script, but is certainly reminiscent of The Little Prince.
The goal, as described by the musician, Jonathan Brooks, was to â€œprovide a landscape where very young children can making meaning for themselves.â€Â And, it appears they did just that.Â The set was vertical, with many places to climb, swing and grab.Â The three girls, dressed all in white were deeply physically engaged, having spent months working with improvisational movement techniques like viewpoints, Meyerhold, and Grotowski.Â The children came to the theatre and went through a pre-show sensory/aesthetic experience that lead them into the theatre: a tunnel with textures, a â€œHamster disco,â€ and lights.Â At each point, children could choose to take another path around the sensory experience if they wanted.Â They were empowered to make their own choices.
On entering the theatre, the actresses were already on stage, a disco ball rotated on the ceiling and the children could slide down a plastic slide before taking their seats on fuzzy faux fur mats.Â Unlike traditional theatre that has a clear beginning, the beginning felt blurry, allowing the children, through various empowering sensory experiences, to slide effortlessly into the role of audience member.
One actress said the challenge was â€œcombating adult preconceptions of what children enjoy and what is appropriate for them.â€Â And then the two actresses, in costume, did a gorgeous movement presentation for us.
What I found the most exciting about this project is that although the production was supported by an education team that worked with the children and created the pre and post-show experiences, the show itself was created by artists with very little knowledge of early childhood education.Â Just enough humanity to understand that kids are smart, receptive, curious, and genuine, and that was enough to push this project forward with might.
- Risking Innovation in Directing Training: A Presentation of Manifestos on the Academyâ€™s Approach to Training Directors for the Future
- Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Theatre: Support for Model Programs; Research Findings; and Collaborative Opportunities
Previously in Day Two: