Blood Ensemble

Making Theatre Essential

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From Actor to Designer… by Adria LaMorticella

Adria LaMorticella is a Blood Ensemble company member, and has been seen in Blood/Sailing, 30 Hours and Barn Show. She is costume designer for NDGM.

In all of the past projects I’ve collaborated on with Blood Ensemble I have been primarily an actor. In NDGM, however, I’ve gotten the opportunity to stretch some other theatre muscles which were getting pretty stiff from unuse. Those muscles being the costuming muscles.

Reaching into the depths of my brain about renderings and button sewing has actually been a nice change.

It’s interesting to approach a collaborative process with slightly different eye. I find myself focusing less on myself during moment work and more on the show as a whole since my job is to create an over all aesthetic as opposed to character development.  And hey, thinking about others is always positive. Continue reading

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Tips for the Devising Director

Tips for the Devising Director, from Emily Harvey (director of NDGM, Barn Show and 30 Hours):

Good ideas are inherently stronger than bad ideas.

A question from an observer is the greatest gift you can receive.

Kill your idols and your babies.

Time is your friend.

Try it, don’t talk about it.

Do something physical at the beginning of rehearsal to shake off your day.

The more scared you are of doing something, the more rewarding the pay off will be.

Fix a problem every day.

Surround yourself with people who will debate with you.

Remember what the audience doesn’t know.

Theatre is always made better by collaboration.

You will learn something new everyday, so never think you have it figured out.


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Scared of Devising?

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A moment brought in by a company member of Blood/Sailing

There are many actors, designers and directors who have been burnt by “Devised” work. To be fair, that word is very very broad. What does it mean? For Blood Ensemble it means creating a show from creators’ ideas in a room, not from a script a playwright has written first. That does sound scary. There is no net. You can’t know what the play is going to be before you audition. So, here’s a run down of how we do it!

Blood Ensemble’s method of devising is highly structured. We use Moment Work, a technique which was taught to us by the Tectonic Theatre Project. They used it to create The Laramie Project, Gross Indecencies, among others.

We use elements of the stage. What are elements? Set, Costume, Lights, Text, Sound, Music, Tempo, Architecture, Suspense, Isolation, Repetition, Synchronicity, Breath, Fire, Water, Fabric, Texture, Temperature, Smell, Proximity, Gesture…Well, it goes on. An element is really anything that you can use to tell a story onstage. And by breaking it down into elements, we start with giving everything the same importance, including text.

That’s a small explanation of what we do. There are also structured ways of presenting moments, responding to moments, and creating a show out of moments. We believe that within structure is the freedom to really create. When you are told you can only use “proximity” to tell a story, you can focus on that element to make it work. And you unlock images you never thought you could come up with. I am constantly surprised at what I can think of when thinking strictly about one element.

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A shadow telling a story

Alright, class, that’s your lesson for the day. If any of this interests you, we are looking for 4-7 good creators (including designers) to help us out with NDGM. You can find auditions here.

 

Thanks for listening,

Emily Harvey, CoArtistic Director