In June 2017, we went on a retreat to a farm in Pennsylvania with movement director Brandon Powers and a small group of actors to explore the movement vocabulary of “Arden/Everywhere.” We knew that soccer would be central to the movement in the show. On our retreat, we started by playing soccer outside; two of our immigrant actors who are great soccer players taught us some of their tricks; eventually, we started to heighten and theatricalize soccer-inspired movement. We also created tableaux and movement sequences inspired by photographs of departure and separation.
In May 2016, director Jessica Bauman spent two weeks at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, teaching a theater workshop for Film Aid International. During that workshop, 40 refugees played theater games and exercises, learned some basics of making physical theater and created short plays. For more information about that workshop, you can read Jessica’s blog or her article on HowlRound.
In Fall 2016, director Jessica Bauman and teaching artist Lauren Gentry led a workshop for Immigrant Actors sponsored by Baruch Performing Arts Center. There were nine students from countries ranging from Azerbaijan to El Salvador to Egypt. During the workshop, we explored the immigration stories of the participants, and ultimately devised a theater piece based on those stories. At the end of the workshop, we explored some small pieces of “As You Like It”: we were joined by a choreographer to create some movement sequences, and some professional actors to work on one text-based scene. Four people from this workshop were part of the cast of the 2017 production of “Arden/Everywhere.” For more information about the workshop, you can read Jessica’s blog.