Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Gilda Monreal

Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline (except performance.)

Gilda Monreal will train in playwriting with Rosa Laborde at Criminal Theatre in Toronto.

Gilda Monreal
Photo by Jeremie Triplet
(July 6, 2016)  I am excited and honoured to submerse myself in the mentorship of accomplished writer, actor and director Rosa Laborde at Criminal Theatre. Over these coming weeks I hope to gain practical experience which will help me to develop my storytelling and writing skills. Through various exercises, meetings, and creative exploration, we plan to develop my skills in script analysis, dramatic structure, character development and multi-storyline layering. In addition, I hope to analyze and refine the understanding of my personal process through academically structured exercises mixed with creative free-flow writing.

I feel Rosa Laborde has set a fierce example of strong playwriting and leadership in our national and regional theatre, and her mentorship will be a cornerstone in my career. In 2015, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Rosa on my new play-in-progress AYELEN at SummerWorks Festival. Her dramaturgical support allowed me to experience an innovative approach to creative storytelling, and I was able to observe and learn storytelling techniques that made playwriting more exciting and accessible than I had experienced before with dramaturges in Canada. This experience showed me that in a mentorship program with her, my creative voice will be encouraged to reach its potential without any external curating on her behalf. It is this recent experience with Rosa Laborde which has inspired me for the first time in years to return to theatre and writing in Canada. This is an important point for me, as I am searching to refine my creative voice with mentorship guidance, and not to imitate or mirror my mentor’s own creative voice. As her theatre company states: “We believe that the individual artist’s voice is unique and valuable to the growth of our cultural landscape.”

Her understanding of my traditional theatre training, multidisciplinary and visual arts approach, and multi-lingual expression (both of us are Canadian-Latina), is key to this apprenticing relationship. My journey as a multidisciplinary artist has brought me to have various creative experiences, and at this stage of my career I am confident in being able to bridge these disciplines into a unique form of storytelling. My objective now is to return to theatre with a focus on refining my playwriting skills. It is through the refinement of these fundamental skills that I envision bringing my distinctive visual and theatrical stories to life.

My work has been described by critics and colleagues as “operatic”, “magical”, “likes of Greek tragedy”, “poetic”, and therefore, as described in the proposed timeline, we will review and study elements of Greek tragedy to examine how these same elements are reflected in my own contemporary work. As Rosa has pointed it out, it will be exciting to analyze the effectiveness of poetic action, poetic structure and storyline through the classics and new translations of these classics. And lastly I will have the opportunity to write and develop my own work under her mentorship.

I look forward to working with Rosa Laborde, her guidance and mentorship will challenge me to develop my writing skills with a new analytical lens. I see this contributing to my new scripts in progress, in particular AYELEN, which shall be presented at a public reading after I conclude these weeks of mentorship. I also hope to contribute to Rosa Laborde’s Criminal Theatre company by demonstrating growth in the seeds her company will plant in my path. I am honoured and looking forward to being able to work on our proposed mentorship program. Thank you Theatre Ontario!

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.

Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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