The rehearsal starts with two women, two laptops, and what I can only imagine are two million ideas. They are creating. They are transforming. This is supposed to be the process of making art, right?
She carries the air of a hip rocker/hippie chick who knows her stuff. But more importantly her energy is that of a guide, wanting to lead actors along the path of creators.
She is the lead collaborator in this quest of the illusive “Solo Show Performance“, the first of its kind at Terry Knickerbocker Studio arriving on Saturday December 16th.
Across from her is Aisha Gearig who is eagerly typing away. This is her first Solo Show and she’s ecstatic and nervous to tell her own story. She is reading from her new draft of “Bubbles”: a show about politics, America, and the universal confusion of the past year. She reads the script not as an actor, but as an editor, keenly aware of her word choice and structure.
She reaches the end of a monologue and quickly reads a stage direction, “She Sings ‘This Land is your Land’” almost under her breath. Pandora kindly stops her and gives a suggestion, “We don’t really know what this is going to be unless you do it the way you want to perform it. Would you mind?”
“Sure,” Aisha replies. She begins singing her own lyrics to the tune of the American classic and something clicks. The meaning of the piece and the trust in herself as an artist come into focus. Before this moment, this read through had been an exercise of the mind.
It now immediately becomes an exercise of the heart. Tears collect in her eyes and she continues the song until the end of the second verse. She and Pandora sit in silence.
“Yeah,” Pandora adds. “This is where this piece lives.”After spending nearly a year with the project, Aisha and Pandora can see the fruits of their labor.
Without a second to think twice, Julian Dufault runs to the front of the room. His piece is ready to have it’s first day on it’s feet. Julian has written himself an actor’s feast, bouncing from character to character in hilariously touching ways.
With a working title of “Am I High, or is this Sty?” his piece discusses a New York educational institution with a point of view that is at once hilarious and stoic. He moves through his piece with script in hand, and multiple hats on his head: actor, writer, stage manager, Julian. Pandora gently guides him through the tricky transitions of the piece, and helps him find how this “thing” just might finally come together.
“Well, it’s official! I am finally ‘letting’ myself write!” Aisha exclaims after rehearsal. “Even though I’ve written stuff here and there, I’ve never shared personal thoughts in this way. This whole practice has been great insight for me, both for myself and for the project.”
More and more these days actors are finding themselves in this new role: the content creator. As technology makes it more accessible to create and share new work, there are plenty of opportunities for actors to be the captains of their own ships. Here at TK, we celebrate those who are willing to leave their own personal mark on the world.
When done with skill and authenticity, these projects can can open doors to an Industry where there is a premium on high-level access. Remember High Maintenance? That web series published on Vimeo is now on HBO. Remember Awkward Black Girl on YouTube? Well that’s now HBO’s highly successful Insecure.
Both self-produced. Both made by artists who were ready to be content creators.
Both now on HBO.
Solo Show I, offered first in the Spring of 2017, let the students imagine what story they might tell if given an opportunity and the space to tell one. Solo Show II is a continuation of that process seeing through a project from its genesis to its’ first showing.
For example, TKActor Schuyler Quinn began her first attempt at a solo show last year in Solo Show I, which has turned into “Unsatisfactory”.
It is in no way an end, but merely a beginning for where these pieces might go. Aisha and Julian will perform alongside a few other TK Studio artists. “In the practice of getting it on it’s feet, you know instantly what works and doesn’t work. That’s the next step with these pieces.”
See these newly donned captains on December 16th and December 17th at 7:30pm for our Solo Show II presentation at Terry Knickerbocker Studio. Doors at 7:15pm. Run time 90 minutes. Admission is free. The same series will play both evenings. Please RSVP here, as space is limited.
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