Theatre B ensemble members David Wintersteen and Brad Delzer are training with the Siti organization in New York for the month of June. Here, David reflects after his first day. This is cross-posted on Concordia College Theatre’s blog
The summary after one day of class: two compliments from Anne Bogart, neither about my acting (I “spoke clearly” introducing myself and I could parse the Greek in the word “ideograph”); an amazingly talented group; good food.
The materials repeatedly warned us about the physically rigorous nature of the training, so I have been exercising. We were given materials to memorize for classes, so I have been memorizing (“Behold and mark the children of man/what yet they do to your beloved earth …”). Brad and I drove 24 hours to get here without killing each other. I arrived feeling pretty well prepared.
There are 58 students here training, and 6 or 7 SITI company members leading and participating. Almost half in each group are from abroad, including a contingent of Scandinavians and a group of Aussies. The group is split in two classes in the mornings, and into three in the afternoons.
First day of classes for me started with Viewpoints, led by Anne Bogart. We introduced ourselves in a version of the circle name game; I was glad to have sat down at about the 1/3 mark. We each spoke briefly, then were summarized by those who followed. I “have 3 families,” my “son graduated yesterday,” and I am “proud.” Yup.
The morning also held our first Suzuki training, led by Will Bond. We were mostly on our feet, starting to learn exercises that will teach us body control and stillness. “Bondo” is a funny, gentle teacher of an incredibly physically demanding discipline. I failed about a dozen ways in an hour, so lots of learning there.
The afternoon held our first Composition class, led by Anne. We made stuff up, taught it to others in our small performance group, and then performed it for the whole group. We had a very short time in which to work, so it was the most under-rehearsed thing I have ever performed. It was terrifying, but successful. In addition to daily class work, my group of 5 (includes 3 Americans, a Brit and an Aussie) will be devising a piece to be performed in a week. Anne gave us 33 attributes that our piece (attribute #1: under 10 minutes) must reflect. Yikes!
Skidmore is beautiful. I’m on the 11th floor of a dorm, looking out over hills, trees and farms. The people are very nice. The cafeteria food is good and plentiful; time for breakfast and day two!
By David Wintersteen