Back in 2011, during previews for Our Class, I read a brief review in The Guardian of a director I’d never heard of, whom the critic wrote had “created a theatre that, while it has elements of the work of Jerzy Grotowski, seems very much his own: one that explores the cornered human animal in all its naked desperation." I immediately shared the article with Blanka, whose interest was piqued. “I got on the internet to find more,” she remembers, and she was taken with the acting, which had “a power and presence that I didn’t see that often.” This was our introduction t
Hello from Philadelphia! It's Brian Ratcliffe again. Jered and I have returned from Greece, and are now fully engaged in the rehearsal process for Antigone. Before too much time passes, I thought I would take an opportunity to share a few more thoughts and images from our extraordinary experience abroad. Below are a handful of photos that I took in Greece, with captions. Enjoy!
Γεια σας! Hello, everybody. This is Brian. In the last post we wrote mainly about the political situation in Greece, and while there is still an enormous amount to say about all that, today's post will focus on the workshop that Jered and I have been attending at Attis Theater, taught by Founding Artistic Director Theodoros Terzopoulos and his company member, Savvas Stroumpos. A Disclaimer: everything below represents my own current understanding of the teachings and practices that we have been receiving over the last few weeks. To the extent that it (inevitably) misrepresents the philosophy or methodology of Mr. Terzopoulos, it's my own fault.
From Greece: Wilma Hothouse Company Members Jered McLenigan and Brian Ratcliffe share their experiences while training in Greece
Καλημέρα! Good morning from Athens, Greece! This is Jered McLenigan writing. Brian Ratcliffe and I have the absolute pleasure of being here for a 30-day intensive training program with Attis Theatre, under the tutelage of Savvas Stroumpos and Theodoros Terzopoulos. Philadelphia actress Rachel Camp joined us in the work for the first ten days; Wilma actors Sarah Gliko and Ed Swidey will be here for the final ten days. Mr. Terzopoulos will be directing the first production of The Wilma's 2015/16 season, ANTIGONE, which Brian, Sarah, Ed and I will be performing in, alongside 4 other Philadelphia actors and 4 actors from Athens. We've been here for about a week and a half, and our bodies have finally (sort of) adjusted to the time difference. Today is our first day off––the program consists of three separate ten day cycles with one day off in between––so we thought this would be a good moment to say hello and talk a little bit about our experience here so far.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead dramaturg Nell Bang-Jensen will take us through Tom Stoppard's breakthrough play. Check back for notes and behind-the-scenes content for the Wilma's upcoming show!
Tom Stoppard is notorious for repeating his own jokes. Lines in his plays will appear in his novels, or other plays, years later. He is the playwriting king of upcycling. This method of collaging is a central feature of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In it, Stoppard mixes Shakespeare’s text, as well as bits of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, with his own words. (Many critics focus on the direct links to Waiting for Godot specifically.) Despite this, Stoppard seems unconcerned about the intertextuality of his work. He believes plays are events to be experienced, not literary documents to be analyzed. As he says, “Playwrights try to move people, to tears or laughter. To sit in the theatre and mutter, ‘Ah Pirandello!’—or ‘Hm, Kafka….’ Would be curious indeed.” Although by their very nature, both the play and the characters in it, are dependent on other narratives, what would happen if we experienced this story on its own? Who would R&G be without Hamlet?