John Hadden, We Players Associate Artist, on current 2014 Shakespeare Intensive Workshops
I’ve been here four days and so far we’ve explored some beautiful and auspicious landscapes for future plays, held auditions for about 60 new actors, worked with WE friends on the complex matter of teaching, read scenes and scholarly essays out loud while making our way through traffic from one end of town to another–and of course, dreamed our way through a dozen magnificent ideas while sifting through nuts and bolts…
And the workshops! I’ve been very privileged to teach lately in a number of classrooms and professional settings and it feels like actors across the age and experience spectrum are ready for digging deeper than usual to make the Quixotic attempt to speak the impossible truth. Why is this? Is there a new hunger in the Zeitgeist? I like to think so, and I like to think it can draw us all together. Not just us oddball theater nerds, but lots of people with all kinds of interests and backgrounds.
Two things I’ve found while seeing people work this week:
1. Submission is sometimes more powerful, more theatrically potent, than being in charge; listening with a full visceral attention is sometimes more potent than speaking. We must insist on more from ourselves as theater makers. A scene is useless unless something actually happens between the actors. We’ve become too accustomed to faithful renderings of the text. The theater exists only as a medium of transformation–and how can we expect perception shifts in our audience if we don’t open ourselves to that possibility ourselves?
2. Of course, speaking is important too. Two nights ago, while working with an actor on the purely formal aspects of the language and verse structure in “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…”, I absolutely fell in love with his last go at it. I lost the strength in my knees, my feeling was so complete. What happened was that the beauty of his rendering balanced the despair of his realization–and for one moment, Macbeth was a fully human being who saw the possibilities of love and laughter that exist only in the immediate presence of the moment–and he invited us into that moment as well.
All it takes is one good moment.
Visiting artist John Hadden is one of the founding company members of Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts and has been developing his dexterity with Shakespeare’s language for over 30 years. He has an incredible ability to help unpack the specific meaning of the text, with the particular individuals in the unique circumstances of the moment. We are thrilled to have John Hadden join forces with We Players as an Associate Artist.
Explore the richness of Shakespeare’s language in an intimate workshop setting with John, Ava and We Players.
Due to popular demand, there will be two workshop modules. Participants are limited to 8 people per session.
First Session: Monday January 13 & Tuesday January 14, 8-11pm
Second Session: Wednesday January 15 & Thursday January 16, 8-11pm
all sessions held at SF Circus Center: 755 Frederick St., San Francisco
Please plan to arrive between 7:30 and 7:45pm to sign in and get settled in the space
Participants (tuition: $140) must come prepared with a 2 minute Shakespeare monologue. Participation in both evenings of either session is required. For deeply interested actors – participation in both sessions (all four evenings) will be considered (tuition: $250).
Observers ($20 per session, or $50 to attend all sessions) are active witnesses to the individual work. This is very powerful and instructive for actors, directors and teachers alike.
Monday September 9, 8-10pm
Wednesday September 11, 7:30-10:30pm
Both sessions held at Berkeley Yoga Center, Studio C: 2121 Bonar St, Berkeley. Ample street parking available and a 10 minute walk from North Berkeley Bart station.
Free Workshop with Michael Rohd on Theater & Civic Engagement. Learn best practices for theater artists devising work with communities and what it means to collaborate across sectors. Michael is the artistic director of Sojourn Theatre and nationally recognized for his work on the arts and civic practice. Friday 7/26 9 am – 12 pm at Intersection for the Arts. Free but RSVP required as space is extremely limited.
More details and registration HERE
Wow! We enjoyed a powerful kick off to We Players’ adult education programming the past two days. Many thanks to John Hadden for sharing his decades of experience, his subtle awareness, and his deft teaching.
I’m creating this post so workshop participants and observers can share some of the nuggets they are taking away to incorporate into future performances and life!
The image that sticks strongest for me is the existence of language throughout our bodies, in our blood and marrow… the wellspring of emotions and impulses deep in our core, from which the swell of language courses forth… and the mouth, teeth, tongue and lips as percussive instruments that articulate the energy into intelligible speech. “Let the thought exist in your mouth,” not your head.
Also love thinking about the character as a map –
totally useful when traveling to a new place, but each actor/ traveller will have a different journey, and the journey doesn’t begin until you step into unfamiliar territory and set forth towards the place.
thanks again, John!
Wednesday September 19, 7:30-10pm: Interactive demonstration with John Hadden and We Players company members
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1661 15th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Enter on gate at Julian, corner of 15th
Join us for a lively evening of monologue exploration ($20 suggested donation, including complimentary refreshments)
Thursday September 20: Intensive individual work
1-4pm Maritime Museum Building, 900 Beach Street, @ Polk, 1st floor conference room
6:30-9:30pm Passenger deck of Eureka ferryboat at Hyde Street Pier