Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From Ames, Iowa. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as always is an incredible experience. This is one of the largest in the country with 1,350 students in attendance, a number of productions, countless workshops. A theatre lovers dream! Yesterday taught a workshop in the Art of Solo Performing. Only had 1 hour and 15 minutes and needed to manage time better but many got to read and I got everyone started on a draft of a show. i will manage time better on Thursday. Last night judged the Irene Ryan finalists. A real trip for me as I was one myself (cough) years ago! won't say! won't give my age! Anyway it was a tough job and I was writing like crazy to make sure that I would remember everybody. This morning was the feedback session and I did the best to let everyone know how great they were and the fact they were performing in one of the hugest houses I have ever seen. The Stephens has won an archetectural award for the state of Iowa but for auditions I thought it was a tough space to compete in. Restoration workshop went gangbusters today, really had to book through it, tried to give everyone the chance to read. I had a lot of fun and am sorry that I won't get to teach that one again this conference. Onto the Caucasian Chalk Circle tonight. Brecht is not one of my favorite people but I'm going in with an open mind. Theatre of alienation, you know, last production I saw, I was REALLY alienated! Onward!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Greetings from the road! I just finished my booking in Jacksonville, Illinois and am now in Ames, Iowa. At Illinois College, I taught a workshop on Voice and Verse and performed "Cheer From Chawton". The workshop was aimed to address the needs of the students for a very large and very lovely theatre space that seats a couple hundred people. My performance was well attended and I had a wonderful time mugging insufferably and getting all sorts of "Jane Austen" laughs! The eyes are becoming very important in the show. I've learned all this from the fabulous comic actor Floyd King who is a great one for getting laughs with his eyes. Every time I go back to my roots at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC, I learn something from those actors. The students had just performed Pride and Predjudice and were eager to don their costumes again, sit in the audience and egg me on. We had a wonderful time. Dr. Nancy Taylor was an elegant facilitator. The guest housing on campus is in what looks like a secret location. You enter a building of classrooms, go upstairs, open a door and you enter a marvelous prairie-style sweet with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, bath. The bed had a beautiful blue and white quilt on it that was quite cozy in the cold evenings. Some of the campus buildings had gas fireplaces - I found them homey and inviting. I am in Ames, Iowa as of this writing and putting my schedule together. This KCACTF should be very exciting and I am thrilled to be here. More anon.