Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Courage Character Collage Assignment

Rachel here...

cast, you should have gotten an email about this as well. See me if not.
Three examples of clown characters from another d&pdc project to give you the general idea of what this could look like in the end. (top to bottom: Catherine Tripp, Hannah J Crowell, Wyckham Avery)

Ideal due date is April 1, unless you are meeting with Ivania beforehand.

Here are the directions.....
Character Portrait Collage
Project: Using collage, create a portrait that visually represents your character.
Ask: What do I like to do? What is it that makes me a unique individual? What
are my core values and goals? What do I care deeply about? How have people,
experiences, and places shaped me? What symbols best represent my true self? How do images, color, texture, scale, and composition answer these questions? Avoid using words/text.
Materials: The format is 2-dimensional but you may use any material that will help to create the visual representation of your character i.e. magazine images, prints, photographs, newspaper, fabric, scrapbook paper, paint, markers, glitter, yarn, and stickers. Glue or tape the finished collage to a board, anything from a cereal box to a cardboard box, for presentation.
Presentations: You will first share your collage with the costume designer and director ... but eventually everyone will present to the Courage team. Please prepare a few thoughts about what you discovered about your character in the process of creating your portrait and how your portrait represents your character physically and emotionally.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Inspired by Foer

Rachel here...

Almost done reading Jonathan Safran Foer's newest book Eating Animals, which I digress for a moment to personally, fully endorse. And not just b/c of my slight obsession/fascination with his work... or b/c it has helped with the positive renewal and reinforcement of my vegetarianism (which I had been wrestling with over the past year or so. yes, the secret is out for those near/dear). The book is a non-fiction poetical philosophical global and personal journey in 267 pages (hardcover). Well-crafted. Beautiful. Crushing. Empowering. Read it.


Foer quotes B. R. Myers' review of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (also a great read)... which is in reference to the way society is praises bringing factory farming into the public view but doesn't fully condemn the horrific practices we perpetuate:

The technique goes like this: One debates the other side in a rational manner until pushed in a corner. Then one simply drops the argument and slips away, pretending one has not fallen short of reason but instead transcended it. The irreconcilability of one's belief with reason is then held up as a great mystery, the humble readiness to live with which puts one above lesser minds and their cheap certainties
(quote extracted from Eating Animals; link to review theatlantic.com/doc/200709/omnivore; admitting now that I have not read the review in its entirety)
I wonder how often Courage does this or a version of this? How do the other characters in the show? How do we - in relation to many MANY ethical/moral "life choices"?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Art working for the country

Rachel here...

Just finished listening to Diane Rehm show from December 8, 2009. She interviewed Robert Kennedy, former director of the national parks service, who collaborated on a new book When Art Worked. The book is about the Public Works of Art Project--the first federal government program to support the arts nationally.

In the introduction, Rehm describes that time as a point when:
- artists were working for us/with the country.
- artists worked with the country to "find ourselves."

Then, Kennedy shared a quote that I wanted to share with y'all:
Gutzson Borglum, the sculpture of Mount Rushmore wrote to Harry Hopkins, one of FDR's advisors and major architect of the New Deal...

"The work of art is to help to coax the soul of the nation back to life."

Hopkins kept this quote in his wallet for most of his life.

The first 20 minutes or so of the podcast are truly worth a listen. The rest is pretty great too.
You can find it on iTunes or wamu.org.

Labyrinth Junk Lady Images

Sunday, November 29, 2009

'Brechtian' ... a dirty word?

An article which came to me from Richard Byrne, friend of d&pdc & Courage:

When did 'Brechtian' become such a dirty word? The old Marxist ironist is due for re-appraisal

Michael Billington, The Guardian, 10-20-09

When I applied the word "Brechtian" to Annie Get Your Gun at the Young Vic yesterday, I knew I was running a calculated risk. You don't expect a popular musical to be given such a non-selling label. What I meant to imply was that Richard Jones's superb production invited us to see the show, critically, as a piece of 1940s romantic myth-making about the American West. Unfortunately, however, "Brechtian" these days has come to mean "slow, ponderous, didactic."

Intriguingly, Deborah Warner's current Mother Courage at the National is the very opposite of what we normally mean by "Brechtian": it's light, nimble-footed with a piratical performance from Fiona Shaw and a Duke Special score in which Weimar meets soft rock. But Brecht himself is partly to blame for the way he is often done: he left behind a mountain of "model-books" about his productions which, slavishly followed, lead to leaden revivals. Throw away the rule-books and the plays live again.

And, although Brecht himself once said his work's future depended on communism's survival, I suspect he's due for re-appraisal. With capitalism going through one of its cyclical crises, his plays have acquired renewed topicality.

"What's breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank?" asks Macheath in The Threepenny Opera. It's questions like that which give the old Marxist ironist his vigour and productions such as those by Jones and Warner which take the curse off the word "Brechtian". 

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Making music ....in times of war

From Rachel...

Held our first workshop to explore tools/approaches for rehearsal/performance on Monday, November 23. Topic: music... a little introduction on Shape Note singing from Wyckham and then some found-object percussion noodling with Milo.

Everyone was agreed that the sound/tone of Shape Note is fantastic and Milo and I are totally drawn toward this sound for one of our two final songs to create for the production. (Now if only I get him lyric ideas...)

The found-object percussion idea is one I had long ago/far away and we didn't work it into the workshop rehearsal/performance in May 09. I had been interested in it for doing a cover of Tom Waits' song "Gods Away on Business." Milo has (rightfully) being encouraging me away from using covers in the final show -- particularly as part of the narrative (ie scenes) -- but he too was curious about the sounds of people banging on tin cans, spoons, washboards etc. So we played. He created a series of improvisational composition exercises that then inspired me to say -- could this help to "tell the story" of the war at some point... to evoke it, bring it on stage aurally. And so we played...and saw the potential.

Jessica L later emailed me and Milo the following....
I was thinking of the kinds of things that might be used for music at the front. I let my fingers do some walking. I didn't find what I was looking for, (search -if I remember aright; soldiers musical instruments at the front) but I did find this....

The battle of the bands civil war style
During the winter of 1862-1863, the Union and Confederate armies were camped near each other at Fredericksburg, Virginia, separated only by the expanse of the Rappahannock River. One cold afternoon, a band in the Union camp struck up some patriotic tunes to cheer the men. They were answered from across the river by a Confederate band. The Union band played another tune followed by the Confederates who also did their best to play the same song. Back and forth the musical duel went lasting well into the evening hours. Soldiers in both armies listened to the musical battle and would cheer for their own bands. The duel finally ended when both bands struck up the tune, "Home, Sweet Home". It was then that the men of both sides who were so far from their homes, cheered as one.

It's what God wants from you

Courage Returns!