Collaborating across the pond

Jenny Macdonald in workshop rehearsals for  Enthroned , July 2015.

Jenny Macdonald in workshop rehearsals for Enthroned, July 2015.

Very excited to announce that I’m working with my colleague Jenny Macdonald on her new one-woman show, Enthroned, an autobiographical storytelling and movement performance telling the story of a woman’s journey to confirm her right to existence and self-determination. Jenny and I worked together for two weeks in July in New York City, and we’ll work together again in Dublin, Ireland, in November.  All leading up to the show’s premiere in early 2016!

In July we used our time together to develop the first two parts of Jenny's script, and in November, we'll use our time to develop the third and fourth parts of the show. It's humbling to work on a project that uses an individual's personal stories and experiences as the catalyst for creation, and I learned so much in our first developmental process. Jenny is a gifted writer and performer, and we had a great time exploring our working relationship and discovering our shared vocabulary.

Three key suggestions for this kind of collaboration:

1. Learn as much as possible about the primary artist's inspirations for the project. This material may not make it into the final piece, but it's crucial to identify how the artist can use those sources to inform her performance pathway through the piece.

2. Understand and embrace the idea that more material may have to be produced and rehearsed before the performance script presents itself. The act of writing a moment, telling a story, embodying a movement sequence may serve as the bridge that leads to a key piece in the script puzzle. And sometimes after crossing that bridge, it can be dismantled and those raw materials can be used in other parts of the script and performance.

3. Allow the logic of a piece in development to emerge. Approach with ideas about structure, but be ready to allow those ideas to fall away as the piece's logic presents itself. #Soften the grip and the next idea will arrive.

I look forward to more discoveries along the way!