On Crossing Bridges, homeless youth, and Anne Bogart

It's been a while since I've posted about my goings on, but I've finally had time to sit down and do a little blogging.

Recently I participated as a guest artist in Crossing Bridges, Covenant House's theatre program for homeless youth. Over four weeks, twenty residents of Covenant House took part in masterclasses in directing, acting, writing, voice and movement. In the writing masterclass week I taught some of the participants about story structure, using Lecoq and Comic Strip Mime (previous artists have included playwright David Henry Hwang and director Andy Gale).

Reenacting 'Fat Amy' from Pitch Perfect 2 in my class on story structure. Photo thanks to Grace Khoo.

Reenacting 'Fat Amy' from Pitch Perfect 2 in my class on story structure. Photo thanks to Grace Khoo.

Last weekend the program culminated in the presentation of a 24 hour play festival at the Helen Mills Theatre on 28th St. After choosing a fairytale, groups of two Covenant House residents and two guest artists worked together to create 10 minute plays that updated the fairytale to modern day New York.

Myself and co-writer Brian Hampton with our Covenant House team. Photo thanks to Brian T. Carson.

Myself and co-writer Brian Hampton with our Covenant House team. Photo thanks to Brian T. Carson.

It was great fun of course, with our group updating Aladdin to the fashion world of New York. Other groups presented 'Summer Black' (Snow White) and a musical version of 'Briella and the Beast.'

The whole project was a great experience, with the focus being mainly on traditional theatre forms. However I would be rather interested to see how the concept of jo-ha-kyu and other physical theatre forms would be taken on by these youth groups. Some thoughts for another project.

As you may or may not be aware, I've recently become interested in exploring composition and how my theatrical training can influence my writing process, particularly in fiction. On how processes like Viewpoints, as instigated by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau, can transfer to the page (or simply, 'viewpointing on the page', if you will). 

A recent essay I wrote about fragments for The Offing addresses some of this, but I'm interested in taking it further in the rehearsal room. So look out for some observations and thoughts about composition and adapting it to the writing process fairly soon.

Otherwise, love and peace out!