Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline (except performance.)
Taryn Jorgenson trained in directing with Richard Rose at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto
(December 23, 2018)
This journey of working on The Message was nothing short of inspiring. Not only did I learn skills of creation and execution, but that of building and experiencing relationships within the community.
When I first stepped into the rehearsal room, I felt a joyous understanding, immense history and trust among the fellow artists. I was one of two people in the room that were new in working together—every one of them had known the other from another show, a friend, the community, the business etc. And although every first day on a new show is like the first day of school, it was more like I had entered into high school in the very last year where everyone had already established relationships, already knew each other's processes and had connections.
But after I have stepped away from the room for some time now, I feel like it was these friendships, and this knowledge of how everyone works that attributed to the show’s success. I saw right away Richard’s ability to put on the brake or step on the gas with an idea or approach based on years of experience working with these artists. He knew the angle to use to approach a perspective on a character with an actor or the playwright. Even if they didn’t respond right away.
A great example of this was when I was asking some questions about a few specific notes he was giving one of the actors, and he stated that the actor approaches things differently. Usually actors of great experience memorize the lines and the rest comes after, but they have to feel it first, understand the thought process, connect with the character’s emotional journey before the lines come. Therefore, Richard approached the work for him through that lens. Sometimes the actor didn't get it right away. The actor kept pushing for a clearer emotional through line, but as the run progressed you could see that work settling in. That approach from Richard allowed this progression of the character through time to get deeper and deeper within the actor.
This makes me think about the past work I have done, and who I have worked with—who I connect with as an artist. Not only that but who do I see out in the community working together: strong artistic bonds that take the word 'job' out of context. I'm starting to see this more and more, not only in theatre, but also in cross disciplines. People knowing their purpose for art and sharing that same purpose, crossing boundaries and stepping into the unknown together. Isn’t this the joy of this work? Coming together so we can express? Even the lonely author in his study has an editor.
Even though it felt odd at first to be the newbie in the room, I am thankful for this realization. Sometimes I believe I have forgotten it. That we can create and express alone. But in truth, the best part of this work is doing it together. The best ideas come out when they are questioned. Although I don't think I established a relationship with my mentor in such a way as I am expressing now, I do think that his teaching was full of heart, urging to pass on the torch. I think I learned lessons beyond the specific skills of direction and dramaturgy, ones that would take me through any position in the future. And it helps to take the sting out of the business when you create an environment around you that supports and appreciates your sense of artistry.
Not only have I realized this sense of community within the work we do, but this mentorship also made me analyze the work I’d like to do. What is at the core of what I want to express? Where could it take me as I explore it. What are the plays that I’d like to put on? Why do I connect with them and why do I feel I should bring them to an audience? What audience am I looking for? These questions were all discussed as Richard poignantly brought it up, looking for me to dig deep in where I come from and what I connect to. He always stated, ‘how are you going to do that?’ And ‘what are you going to do?’ I think now is the next step. To find what drives me, and why I want to bring it to audiences, as well as immerse myself with other artists and create a community around the work that can be celebrated as well as dissected. Thank you, Theatre Ontario, for providing me this opportunity.
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2019.
Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.