Saturday, August 27, 2011

Finding and Revealing One’s Voice

from Christa Kimlicko Jones, Associate Artistic Director,Director of Programming: To be honest, I was dreading writing a blog post and then I realized that, in fact, what I am most anxious about is putting myself out there. Putting my voice, my thoughts out there. Exposing myself. But then, I realized, that perhaps that’s exactly what I need to write about. That’s usually the case, isn’t it? To tackle those fears head on?!
Then it occurred to me that finding and revealing one’s voice is one of the main reasons why I do theatre. It’s really what interests me most about theatre. It’s why I love to be a part of a rehearsal process so much. It’s why I read plays and want to bring them to life. To exchange ideas. To expose. To question. It’s why I feel like a theatre company is important; Theatre East is definitely a celebration of many voices coming together for a greater mission. It’s also why I teach (Voice & Speech) at Stella Adler Studio. I get to help a young actor breathe more deeply, more fully, and find their most specific, most muscular way of speaking so that they might better reveal the character’s passions, allowing for an audience to be moved, changed so that they might see a bit of themselves.

I guess I’m incredibly interested in people, in their stories, in their thoughts and dreams, their opinions—and in revealing, unveiling, exposing the truth. I’m interested in coming together to tell stories, so that we don’t feel quite so alone in this crazy journey of life.

It feels a little funny to share this in blog format. I have to say that if I had my way I’d rather sit over a lovely cup of coffee or tea (or beer or wine or whatever) and look people in the eye…and connect. And exchange. Listen. Respond. Truthfully. In the moment. Of course, there are only so many hours in the day! So, until then…this will do.

Nevertheless, that’s why I do what I do. The people are what keep me going. The stories. The ideas. The hopes and the dreams. The light bulbs. The furrowed brows. The challenge of it all. The searching for truth. One’s pure and honest, glorious voice.

And I’m thankful that I get to be a part of a world and of a craft that allows for that revelatory exploration.

Actors’ Equity Association, the union for stage actors, sends out membership renewal cards twice a year. One of the things I look forward to the most is the quote or anecdote included in the letter portion. This one hit the nail on the head for me:

"I wanted to be an actress in 1912; I want to be an actress today. That walk from the darkness backstage through the door or opening in the scenery where I make an entrance into the bright lights with that big dim mass out beyond, which bursts into applause, then the first terrifying sound that comes out of my throat, which they describe as a voice, but that first instant it is the siren of terror and intention and faith and hope and trust and vanity and security and insecurity and bloodcurdling courage which is acting." ~Ruth Gordon (1896-1985)
Yes, it’s scary to put one’s self out there—but if you do, unabashedly so, in my heart of hearts I feel that it’s absolutely worth it. Until next time,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our New Mission Statement

Over the past few months, as you've noticed, we've been reshaping our mission statement to better reflect our commitment to you, our community. Last month you read our new vision statement, Putting Community Back in Theatre. This month I'm so very proud to announce that, after months of work, we have a new mission statement. Now the new mission statement doesn't change what we do or how we do it, but it truly defines what we have done in the past and will help guide us through the future.

Theatre East's mission is to advance the dialogue of the
shared human experience through works that utilize
simple storytelling, providing our community with
a platform
to deepen its understanding of themselves,
each other and the world we share.

Advance the dialogue:
We will continue bringing you New York premieres like EYE OF GOD and THE SOLDIER DREAMS that truly discuss the issues that face us as a community. These will be productions dealing with social matters that will cause you to continue the conversation as you enjoy your post-show cocktail or piece of pie.

Shared human experience:

As with our past work, our focus will continue to be works that explore subjects that affect us all. We will continue to give a voice to the understated, the marginalized and the misrepresented. Our desire is that, when you are at one of our productions, you truly see a part of yourself on the stage.

Simple storytelling:
The fact is, we love celebrating the theatre with you. A part of that celebration is truly embracing the power of the stage, the authority of an amazing script, and the stories therein. It has always been our goal to get out of the way of the script and let the story rise. You will most likely not see hydraulics or an actor flying from a web, but you will be moved nonetheless.

Providing our community with a platfo
We will continue bringing you talkbacks where community leaders engage in dialogue, not so much about the show, but about the issues raised by the play. This might be Farm Aid, God's Love We Deliver, The New York Foundling or spiritual or civic leaders. We want to provide an opportunity for you to have a voice, participate in public discussion or perhaps just listen.

Deepen its understanding:
During the first year of the New Rites Collective, our educational program, we were having group reflection time
where students shared something they learned that day. A very shy 15 year old Britt'ni, in a voice just above a whisper said, "I learned something about myself I didn't know...I'm beautiful." Through our productions, reading series, educational and community efforts we will continue with programming that truly allows for a better understanding of one another. We will take on our fears, share in our joys, and gather strength for our trials. And we will do it with you.

We look forward to it!