Submitted by Anne Bogart on August 6, 2015 - 4:29pm
Chicago theater director Damon Kiely is about to publish a book entitled “How to Read a Play” with Routledge Press and he asked me to write the forward. Inspired by the title of his book and the thoughtfulness of Damon’s manuscript, I wrote the following:
I love reading and yet I am usually anxious at the prospect of reading a play. I tend to put off opening a script for as long as I can because it requires such different tools from me than reading a novel, a poem, an essay or a biography. Plays are not intended to be read in solitude and plays ask for an inordinate investment of my patience and imagination. Essentially a novel, a poem, an essay or a biography embodies the words contained within its covers and is brought to life by the reader’s imagination, but a play, also within its covers, ultimately exists to point at something else and it requires a team of diverse talents to animate it successfully.
Submitted by Anne Bogart on July 7, 2015 - 11:47am
I am currently directing Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth at Glimmerglass Festival (come visit this summer in beautiful Cooperstown, New York and catch the entire season of operas between July 11th and August 22nd). This past April with SITI Company, I co-directed the theater is a blank page with visual artist Ann Hamilton. These two productions provide a study in contrast around issues of a director’s control.
Submitted by Anne Bogart on June 4, 2015 - 10:59am
An acting student at Columbia University once mentioned that her father, a surgeon, had a saying: “Study one, do one, teach one.” I instantly recognized that this formula, familiar to surgeons, “study one, do one, teach one,” is precisely the right equation for me as well. The ratio that allows me to be the best possible theater artist is: 1/3 research, 1/3 directing and 1/3 teaching. If I do not dedicate enough time to research or if I teach too much or too little, my work as a director, as an artist, is compromised. The correct balance among the three activities is key.
One who could make of himself a vacuum into which others might freely enter would become master of all situations. (Okakura Kakuzo)
I probably share with many a terror and trepidation around the process of creating new work. I am often frightened and apprehensive of an upcoming rehearsal or difficult encounter. My stomach churns in a chaotic mess. But there is a saving grace that keeps me moving forwards: the image of my shoes. Literally. I look down and see my shoes walking, one step after another, towards the rehearsal or towards the encounter. The fuel that makes this dreadful walk possible is faith. I try to cultivate the faith that something positive will occur once I arrive.
Submitted by Anne Bogart on March 24, 2015 - 5:03pm
The Taoists describe the art of life as the art of constant adjustment to the current surroundings. Similarly, nothing could be more central to a successful creative process than the ability to adjust to what is happening in the moment. A painter continually adjusts to the previous strokes on the canvas. A musician adapts to the room and to the choices of other musicians. A theater artist is sensitized to the constant spatial and temporal changes that are taking place from moment to moment. Clearly the practice of adjustment is essential to artistic training.
Submitted by Anne Bogart on February 27, 2015 - 11:14am
Allie Lalonde, SITI Company’s wizard of communications and development, is also simultaneously writing her final thesis paper in completion of the MFA requirements for Columbia University’s Theater Management and Producing Program in the School of the Arts. Her thesis addresses issues about audiences in our current environment of technology and social media. Allie sent me a series of questions that I found very worthwhile and provocative. For the February blog I would like to share her questions and my answers with you:
Submitted by ConArtists on February 13, 2015 - 11:25am
Impressions of the ConArtists after a week-long residency at Double Edge Theatre with the SITI Company
By Ria Samartzi
Thinking back on our time in Ashfield many images come to mind, training in the barn, frolicking in the snow, mountains of kale, the endless supply of coffee and the conversations that accompanied it and moving pianos.
But before any of that of course, we had to leave New York City. We arrived at open space, quiet and an entirely different time signature.
‘We received a Wonderful, generous welcome from Double Edge today. They welcomed us with delicious food and then performed for us, a stunning, athletic, beautiful survey of the entire 20th century called The Grand Parade. Then they fed us again.’
Submitted by Anne Bogart on January 21, 2015 - 12:54pm
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. (André Gide)
In 1947 Nina Vance, who at the time had only $2.17 in her handbag but was determined to start a new theatrical venture, emptied the contents of her handbag onto a table and proposed that with that available money she would found a new theater company. Postcard stamps at the time cost one penny apiece. She and her friends addressed 217 postcards inviting people to gather at a particular time and place to discuss starting a new theater. And thus was born the Alley Theater in Houston, Texas, one of the nation’s leading regional repertory theaters.