Month: November 2016

Sign up for Stage Movement–Final Plea

This is the last time I’ll bug ya on this blog to sign up for Stage Movement over at Metro. It’s a fantastic class that I really want to teach (let alone it being my livelihood), because it’s such an experience and heck, as good as I am at teaching Comp, really, theatrical movement is my specialty and particular expertise, so taking this course is an even more immersive and fascinating experience than that of me trying to make Comp I palatable.

Here’s the info again:

THE 3220 Stage Movement. Meets 8-10:50am on Fridays Spring semester, and it’s a Theatre department class at MSU Denver. If you’re a registered student at MSU, UCD, or CCD, you can sign up. If you’re not, audit it.

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The commedia dell’arte spontaneously concocted plays in Stage Movement. A tableau of one that allows you to see exactly which stock characters they are.

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Please Sign up for Stage Movement: Part 4

Today’s plea for those of you who can, to take my Stage Movement class at Metro, surrounds the class blog.

Those of you who have taken any class with me knows that I assign blogging as a venue for reading responses. Stage Movement is no different: I have the reading responses due to one all-class blog, as well as any performance reviews and video analyses, etc. The blog is here, and you can see several semesters’ worth of students are still authors on it, which makes it a very cool artifact of course material that they can still access if they like (or even continue to add to).

One big advantage to having a public blog for much of the course work is that it opens up the classroom beyond ARTS 271 in Denver, to the entire world of the professional field in study. This post in particular shows what a good thing technology can be when it’s used well. I couldn’t a) afford to fly Jeff out here from New York to be a guest speaker; and b) couldn’t rig his aerial silks in our classroom if I did. Because of our use of a blog, though, the students could not only see his work in progress, but as you can see if you read the comments, actually interact with him as a professional in the field in which they’re studying.

And here’s a homework post from the clowning unit that you might enjoy.

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The pale green pants with nobody inside them were spotted after the last meeting of the last class, disposed of with ceremony….

Outrageous Fortune

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Rehearsal for Outrageous Fortune. The Dr. Ruth-type Prospera coaches we Tragedians Anonymous into embracing our tragedies and moving forward…

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Stage Movement begging session to praise to the skies a theatrical project I’m a part of: Viva’s Outrageous Fortune. Viva is a company connected to Boulder’s Society For Creative Aging, and as such, its large cast is quite diverse both in the age and the experience areas. The Boulder Weekly has a thoughtful article on some of the philosophies behind it, which you can read here. Basically, it’s Shakespeare’s tragic characters in group therapy in an attempt to find closure with their tragic lives, and things go rather amuck when some characters try and change their Outrageous Fortune to make one of their own.

On a personal level, I’ve had a lot of fun cultivating my Valley-Girl-Desdemona character, but also in choreographing the second largest fight scene I’ve ever had to tackle. An extra challenge in coordinating this giant fight scene is knowing that around 85% of the players are of an advanced age, such that certain moves are not only difficult, but dangerous and even impossible. But I am very happy with how it’s turning out, and the show as a whole should be a heckuva lot of fun to see.

Outrageous Fortune opens this Saturday and runs two weekends. Find your tickets here.

Stage Movement Class: sign up plz part 3

This post is all about Sheridan’s Comedy of Manners called The Rivals.

I teach this play in a Period Movement unit, to help students learn about social status gestures, posture for vintage plays, and how to navigate things like corsets and ties and breeches, oh my. All this restricted physicality marries with mastery of complex language, and the classic clowning kernel of: The Conflict Between Mask and Appetite.

Here is a small gallery of only some of the Rivals performances from Spring semesters past:

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…when the servant is more learned than the mistress…

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I have always enjoyed the cobbled-together, haphazard costumes that inevitably happen during this unit, but these two gentlemen took the cake.

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When I mentioned to this class the possibility of cross-gender-casting Mrs. Malaprop? Fugeddaboutit. 

 

Stage Movement Class: sign up please pt. 2

Yes, lovely lurkers, I have taken to begging for students to take the Stage Movement course over at MSU Denver. Well, yanno, it has been cancelled due to underenrollment enough that I feel I need to explain what makes this class such an essential part of a student’s experience at Metro, especially in the Theatre Department.

Here’s the thing: the skills learned in this class don’t only apply to

Don't make this sad clown even sadder. Sign up for Stage Movement.

Don’t make this sad clown even sadder. Sign up for Stage Movement.

the performing arts student. Not at all–actually I’ve had the following diverse folks take this course (beyond the theatre majors, for whom this class is required):

  • a major in accounting
  • a 75-year-old auditing the course for fun
  • an 8th grader interested in the clowning arts
  • a poli-sci major
  • a couple English majors
  • someone who was undecided, who wanted to be able to have good presence in front of a crowd

Recently I have received some advice from an intimate friend in the career reboot department, and I am realizing that these skills are all excellent ones for building my corporate consulting practice. All of these things (body language, vocal work, social status manipulation, presentation skills, etc.) are the difference between a corporate drudgery and a successful businessperson.

 

Stage Movement Class–Sign Up plz!

Because I am staring down the barrels of a very thin Spring semester, the multiple schools at which I teach having given me fewer courses than usual (which translates to less income for me), I feel the need to remind my MSU Denver students that a very important course is being offered this Spring that not only is required for your graduation (as a theatre major), but is also incredibly vital as far as teaching you important skills for being the most versatile, talented performer out there.

Because I’m afraid this course is going to get cancelled due to low enrollment again, I thought I’d begin a series of blog posts about the course, to encourage you all to sign up. My first post in this vein is to show you a showcase of the final exam of the course, which is a performance of an adaptation of some Dr. Seuss stories I crafted for theatrical production.

The video below is a compilation of several Stage Movement final performances, plus the second professional performance of the show back in 2000, all clipped up and mushed together.

What this final does is it combines the many skills learned in the course into one ensemble performance: physical characterization, mime, clowning, vocal/physical conditioning, strength and flexibility conditioning, falling and rolling, creating sets/characters/worlds using only physicality, character creation from the outside in, and working with technically complex scripts.

Enjoy this reel, and sign up for THE 3220: Stage Movement this spring.

Seuss Celebration from Jenn Zuko on Vimeo.

 

The More You Holmes

From: ep. 3.1, 2, and 3

Line: (variations on:) MYCROFT: The East wind is coming.

Reference: In the BBC series, this phrase refers to a scary story Mycroft would tell Sherlock as a child (at least that’s the indication). In canon story “His Last Bow,” a Sherlock Holmes in his sixties says to elderly Watson, just after they unmask a German spy, “There’s an East wind coming,” referring to the onset of World War One. Watson responds that he thinks on the contrary, it’s very warm. This optimism makes Holmes muse upon the impending terrible times thusly:

Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.

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Hand to God

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The lovely and talented cast and crew of Hand to God, in rehearsal.

A shout out is in order to the cast and crew of Hand to God, which opens tomorrow at Curious Theatre in Denver!

I had a lovely time working with these folks–highly competent professionals, who had the good sense to bring me in early enough to incorporate the violence in their fresh blocking in such a way as to facilitate much practice, meaning they will avoid the dreaded “act, then fight, then act” syndrome seen in so many productions. Plus the acting is fantastic across the board.

This play is a super-messed-up, funny, thought-provoking, sick in a fun way show that I’m very much looking forward to seeing when I can. If you’re a local lovely lurker, come sometime when I’m there so we can chat during the talkback after the show.

Break a leg, you sick puppets you!