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Exploring “devised theatre” with guest artist, Laura Rikard

by carolyn with no comments

Laura Rikard, our March 25-26 guest artist and friend whom we met via Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival work where she served on the six-state Region 6 committee chaired by our own Joy Pace, is now Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University. Laura is an academic with an MFA and an MA and years of devotion to academia. She is also a dynamic performer who won “Best Acting Award” at the 2011 Virginia Film Festival.

Not content with these laurels and accomplishments, Laura took on “devised theatre” by studying in Denmark with Odin Teatret.

So, how is “devised theatre” a theatre form that is both novel and different from your typical theatrical production that starts with a playwright’s script? In “devised theatre” cast and crew do NOT begin the process with a written script! Instead, cast and crew engage in an exploratory rehearsal process, a laboratory of theatre, perhaps with some loose outline of a theme, or topic. There is research, improvisation, experimentation. Slowly, form takes shape, and a “script”/a full lived play emerges from this exciting, shared process.

For our upcoming weekend , “New Explorations: Journeys & Legacies” March 25-26 at 7:00pm at Central School’s Ben Mount Theatre, Laura’s audience will experience “… a devised, abstract performance using theatre techniques based in Commedia dell’Arte, Viewpoints, Suziki and Meyerhold’s Biomechanics in order to explore…” two disparate themes in two short plays (each performed each evening).

FYR the two plays Laura Rikard will perform at 7:00pm on March 25-26 are:

1. A Shaker’s Path, the life and times of Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers and the inspired woman who led this persecuted group from England to finding a peaceful homestead in Upstate New York. We may know the Shakers for their exceptional furniture, but this is a driven group doomed NOT to recreate itself because it believed in abstinence.

2. The Pink Ribbons are Choking Me, an autobiographical exploration/tale of Laura’s returning home to a small South Carolina town from her NYC career to care for her cool, independent mother who is suddenly struggling with breast cancer. Laura plays different characters and gradually unveils family secrets and wonders, at some point, who truly are her parents.

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