Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Enduring Sense of Community at Theatre Ontario’s Summer Theatre Intensive

By Zara Jestadt, Education Assistant

Upon starting my summer position at Theatre Ontario, I never thought I would have the opportunity to witness any of the workshops the organization has to offer. While a large part of my responsibilities, especially early on in my internship, fell on coordinating the annual Summer Theatre Intensive during the weeks leading up to it, it was always under the assumption that I would not be in attendance for it. So it was with pleasure, eagerness, and curiosity that I went to Waterloo for the majority of the Summer Intensive week when the opportunity arose. 

What I witnessed were fiery students who craved to gain the most out of their experiences. Late on my first evening there, I walked past the student common lounge, where participants were engaged in an impassioned discussion about the ‘external conflict’ in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, after having spent the entire day actively participating in classes. Most agreed to have their classes start earlier than scheduled. Pairs of students spent the bus ride to the Stratford Festival (for a performance of Man of La Mancha) going over lines of their scenes, not to waste a moment’s time. Most potently, as I was sitting out in the hallway to the classrooms one afternoon, a participant ran past me on the way to the bathroom—“I have to go so bad, but I don’t want to miss a word!” she explained in her haste.  Clearly, these were students who were there to work.

How Do I Make This Play Happen? Directing for Beginners
But these were also students who were willing to give, risk, and participate fully. One of the directing classes had asked the participants from the acting classes to present a monologue to a large panel of directing students, in a mock-audition style, during their free time. These students willingly gave their time and efforts, and both groups seemed to gain important insight and experience. It was amazing to see this mutual camaraderie amongst working artists, and the initiative with which they took practical skills learning into their own hands.

The week did not go by without its challenges. Disruptions and unexpected changes occurred in the residence building and the surrounding campus. But even in the face of these challenges, the spirit of the courses, the magic of the theatre, was kept alive in the determination of the instructors and their participating students. It even stimulated some creative juices—the musical theatre class used these extenuating circumstances as inspiration for their final musical revue performance, a piece that was both honest, and kneel-over hilarious.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know
about Acting... and Then Some!
Ultimately, this week reinforced the reasons why we continue to do theatre: the enduring sense of community, the importance of collaboration, the creative impulse, and the engagement through which theatre is able to touch and impact others. We do theatre because we must. This week was a testament to that spirit. Even in the face of adversary, stress, or disappointment, one must keep going, keep performing, keep creating. There is no other option.

It was a pleasure to be reminded of this once again.

Find out more about Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive

No comments:

Post a Comment