Monday, May 03, 2010

Creative Conversation: On Deep Connection



Wed. May 5th, 7PM at New Urban Arts.

We hope you’ll join us for our upcoming workshop and Conversation on Creative Practice: On Deep Connection with theater director and educator Ellie Heyman. Ellie has directed plays in Chicago, LA, Boston, New York, and most recently, her play Diventare was honored at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and I am so excited to bring her to Providence. For the past many years, she has also taught and raised younger people as part of Northwestern University’s National High School Institute for Theater Arts. She comes to us from BU’s Theater Conservatory where she is achieving her MFA while educating actors in ways of embodied knowing, emotional connection, and play making from that place.

“Connection” is one of New Urban Arts five core values. In connecting with a mentor, we believe that we can become our best selves, and these connections happen in all kinds of iterations between students, mentors, staff, our friends, and larger communities. Contrary to the Romantic notion of the artist at work alone in a studio, deep connection can be an important part of a rich creative practice. Our stories are about personal and artistic transformations grown from connections amongst people and in this space. And there is a certain morality in this way of thinking; even extending out from the studio and into wider living. I think finding and fostering these authentic connections allows us to be more open, more fully in love with the world, with our work in it, and with each other.

Ellie’s practice is about helping performers connect deeply with themselves and with each other, such that their experience resounds with an audience and out into their world. She approaches her work with an ethos of embodied connection, a love for the physical, a yen for the imaginary, and a trust in the gut sense of emotion. She describes one of her plays unfolding, being always rewritten in the process, “In the beginning, it didn’t make a lot of intellectual sense at all - but it followed a kind of heart logic. So these actors, you couldn’t talk about it; there was nothing really to talk about! You had to do the scene to do it! And each time we returned from doing it, we had more information about it.” This idea of “heart logic” and doing it, really doing it, in order to discover “it” really resonates with me. I think Ellie articulates a kind of faith involved in doing work from emotional and not-knowing places in our selves, in our creative practices, in our relational practices, and perhaps in any of our learning endeavors.

I hope you will join us for an evening workshop and word-swap on Wednesday, May 5, 7PM at New Urban Arts. Since we will be working from heart logic, and gut places, Ellie will first lead a workshop around movement and connection where we will all “Do it, really do it, in order to know it.” So its not just talking, but moving too. From there, we can put our heads back together and talk about these practices. What is it like to move and work from these embodied places? How we can build safe containers for ourselves and others to play with emotions? How might these practices translate from theater to other disciplines, and to our practice as people in the world? And even better, we will spend time with the questions that you bring and that you discover. And also because we are made of our own bodies, I promise wonderful snacks. At least some home made, either crafted in a Secret Kitchen or perhaps my own unnamed one. I hope, very much, to see you, speak with you, and connect with you, on Wednesday evening.

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