Chatting With Charney
A few words from Executive Director Mark Charney
I can't believe we are about to begin our seventh WildWind Performance Lab (WWPL) adventure! We've come a long way from our first summer when the faculty, students, and staff took a leap of faith in this experiential training process, replacing the summer rep model that had served our School well for many a year and responding to student need. Over the years, WWPL has morphed, growing into one of the best holistic training programs for theatre students in the country.
So bear with me while I take a short trip down memory lane.
Our first WildWind was, well, amorphous (without a clearly defined shape or form). We brought in some fantastic artists whom we still miss, most notably Jaston Williams, Kari Margolis, J Ranelli, David Kranes, Deborah Anderson, Crosby Hunt, and Blessed Unrest (Matt Opatrny and Jessica Burr), and while we unsuccessfully tried to accomplish everything -- play development, playwriting, devised theatre, actor training, director/designer training, and yeah, even dance-students still loved the process-based education and the brilliant instruction. Calendars were stressful to put together because we wanted the students to explore the entire world of performance in a limited time frame.
In year two, we realized that, while the structure-less form led to some exciting improvisation and certainly encouraged spontaneity, we needed to narrow our focus. We wanted more a more complete training process for design, one that truly introduced our students to current practices in the field, and we realized that we were not fully serving devised theatre or dance: square peg/round hole syndrome.
In year three, bringing Michael Legg on board made all the difference. At a chance meeting with him again at the O'Neill Theatre Center after a harried second summer of WW, I shared my thoughts, concerns, and worries -- and a terrific alliance was born over drinks on the Blue Gene porch (what better place for magic to happen?). Michael came to visit often that year, looked at our model, responded to some of our new plays, and proposed a much more structured calendar, one that did not at all diminish spontaneity, but allowed for students to get the most out of the month. We put together a plan to best serve design, acting/directing, career preparation, dramaturgy, arts administration and play development. Each summer, like the "wind" for which our program was named, we shift emphases to focus on the students who sign up from TTU, so the structure is truly flexible (seemingly contradictory, I know).
WildWind 2018 marks another massive culture shift. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival has honored us by making our lab a place to develop two nationally award-winning plays and train one national award-winning director. We had so few designers signed up this year that, while we are serving them, it's almost a WildWind tributary, connected to a Tennessee Williams project and working through improvisational means exploring how design impacts play development.
And, for the first time, we are serving an international population, bringing in eight students and two guest artists from the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts in Hong Kong, granting our program national and international prominence. But most importantly, we are truly embracing the idea of a global perspective.
We have many returning artists along with even more new ones, and our two month-long artists --Michael Legg and Jim Wren -- are among the best in the business. Special thanks to Michael, who, although he is transitioning from many years with Actors Theatre of Louisville to a new position as Artistic Director of Montana Rep, wrote into his contract that he would remain with WWPL!
So join us this summer as we develop eight-count 'em-eight new plays while teaching acting, directing, design (yep, returning artists Shannon Robert and John Kundert-Gibbs), along with dramaturgy, arts administration, and everything in between. Please plan to meet our Kennedy Center national award winners and honored guests from Hong Kong.
WildWind-it's like Christmas in June around here and we want to share this gift with all of you.
A Note From Artistic Director Michael Legg
I couldn't be more excited to be returning to WildWind for my fourth summer - four weeks jam-packed with some returning faces (Kelly Quinette, Sarah Lunnie, Brian Quijada, Rich Brown) and lots of new ones. We've doubled down on our new play focus by working on more plays than we've ever worked on before. Besides our four traditional evening plays by nationally recognized playwrights and two plays written by TTU students, we'll be working on two brand new plays that have come to us as part of a new partnership with the Kennedy Center. I'm proud that Texas Tech's reputation as a hub for new play development is growing and that we're attracting new partners who also believe in our educational mission.
Speaking of that mission, I want to remind all Tech students - not just those that are enrolled in WildWind - that the evening new play processes are open for anyone who wants to observe. It's incredibly helpful to the creative teams to have observers of the work - stand-ins for future audiences who can ask questions, offer thoughts, or whatever the playwright might need to take the work to the next stage in its development. At the very least, we invite and encourage you to attend the public readings of all these new works. And bring your friends - when these plays, like so many other past WildWind projects, go on to major productions at prestigious theatres and play festivals around the country, you'll be able to say "I saw it first at WildWind."
Biography of Michael Legg:
Michael Legg is the Director of the Professional Training Company. Legg is in his tenth season at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where he's directed world premieres of plays by A. Rey Pamatmat, Laura Jacqmin, Dan Dietz, Emily Feldman, Kyle John Schmidt, Marco Ramirez, Johnny Drago, Jennifer Haley, and Allison Moore, among others. He serves as a guest artist at several universities, including the University of Idaho, Ohio University, and the University of Utah. He also teaches for and works extensively with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and serves as the Artistic Director of WildWind Performance Lab at Texas Tech University, where he's developed new plays by Brian Quijada, Eva Suter, Brian Bauman, Martyna Majok, Basil Kreimendahl, and Joshua Conkel, among others. Legg holds an M.F.A. in acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Louisville Youth Group, an organization providing safe spaces for Louisville's LGBT youth.
WildWind Dance Review
Kyla Olson - WildWind Dance Coordinator
During the first week of WildWind Dance 2018, students at TTU and within the Lubbock community had the opportunity to work with guest artist and hip-hop scholar, Duane Lee Holland. "To understand the culture of hip-hop means to be a knowledgeable mover of a knowledgeable dance," states Professor Holland. The term hip-hop comes from the Wolof language of Senegal: hippi meaning to be knowledgeable or conscious and hop meaning dance. During his 5-day residency, students learned about the five styles of hip-hop: the West Coast styles of popping and locking, and breaking, hip hop, and house styles from the East Coast. Students were taught the individual
names of each step and where it comes from contextually and physically, giving them more information that what is traditionally taught in a hip-hop class by just copying steps from the instructor. He also discussed the theory of corporeal orature from Thomas DeFranz, and how the lyrics/rhythm pattern (drum) prompts the body to move as a more comprehensive form of call and response in hip-hop dance.
Choreography with Duane Lee Holland Jr.
Throughout the week, students learned two hip hop dance phrases, one house dance phrase, and a "contemporary" dance phrase. As part of his research interest, Mr. Holland described his understanding of "contemporary" dance as a blend between the African aesthetic and more Eurocentric dance forms. After giving students a firm foundation of hip-hop dance vocabulary and historical data, Holland also discussed the realities of the commercial dance field. As a former
performer on Broadway with extensive professional experience both nationally and internationally, Duane gave our students helpful information about dance agencies, auditioning, and creating websites, reels, and resumes. He spoke about the realities of breaking into the industry, and what it takes to stay there, noting the potential he saw for each student to break into the industry if they so desired.
As the instructor of record for this course, it is always a pleasure to see students grow so much within such a small span of time. Because the course follows the spring semester, students are able to spend the entire day focusing on dance. They are not bogged down by other courses or rehearsals. They can devote all of their energy and focus into the course, and work with professionals in the field. They are challenged daily, and are asked to step outside of their comfort zones to experience something new. They all rise to the occasion, and become more mature movers and embrace the confidence they receive from the experience. They become new artists that are inspiring to watch! We look forward to hosting guest artist, Keith Johnson, for our final week of WildWind Dance 2018! Thank you to the Bohny Family Fund for making this experience possible for our school and community.
Choreography with Duane Lee Holland Jr.
Biography of Duane Lee Holland Jr:
Duane Lee Holland Jr. joined Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2016 as the school's first-ever hip-hop instructor. He began his career as a gymnast on the Junior National Team,
with whom he competed in competitions such as the 1991 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships and the 1991 McDonald's International Mixed Pairs Championship. He was also an official demonstrator for the United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs (USAIGC) clinics and for the U.S. President's Council of P
hysical Fitness. At 17, Holland began his professional dance career, dancing for the first hip-hop theater dance company, Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM). While performing with RHPM, he also taught at such institutions as Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, University of Utah, and Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, among many others. Holland has also had the privilege of working with esteemed choreographers Ronald K. Brown (Evidence), Garth Fagin (The Lion King, original Broadway cast), and Jeff Masted (A Few Good Men). He was assistant choreographer and assistant dance captain of Maurice Hines's Broadway production of Hot Feet. In addition, he was featured in Jerry Mitchell's 2006 Broadway Bares AIDS benefit, New York Strip.
Biography of Keith Johnson:
Keith Johnson received his MFA from the University of Utah. He has danced with Ririe/Woodbury, Creach/ Koester, Bill T. Jones /Arnie Zane Dance Company, and Doug Varone and Dancers. He continues to perform with Nancy Bannon as well as Colleen Thomas. He has received funding support from The Choo San Goh Foundation, The Utah Arts Council, St. Joseph Ballet New Works Festival, Dance USA, Scottsdale Community College, and California State University, Long Beach. Keith's choreography has been commissioned by The Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company, D9 Collective, Sierra Repertory Dance Theatre as well as universities and solo artists throughout the United States. Keith has received The Dee R. Winterton Award For Excellence in Dance, Most Valuable Professor in The College of The Arts at California State University Long Beach, and Lester Horton Award for Outstanding Choreography (Long Form) in 2007, Outstanding Choreography (Small Ensemble) in 2008. Keith was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Dance at the University of Utah in 2012/2013. He continues to teach and choreograph both nationally and internationally, and is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Fist Bomb Films.
A Few Words from Jim Wren
Month Long Guest Artist
Last year when I wrote my brief summation of my WildWind experience, I crafted some lame joke re-naming it WhirlWind in an attempt to paint a picture of the energy and events during my month long adventure. In the immediate aftermath, I think I was most energized by the talents and passion of each and every one of the participants, and was a bit drunk with enthusiasm for the work. But now, as I look forward to returning for a second time, something else is on my mind.
Time to share. Time to listen. Time to create. Time to dream. Just time.
In almost every model of creative thinking, you see the notions of incubation and saturation as critical to the process. Incubation. Saturation. How often are we given the opportunity to truly "drop in" and develop our work in this kind of immersive environment? How often do we, as artists, struggle to "find the time" to truly develop our work? (Heck, I'm even writing this one hour from the time I was told it had to be submitted, even though I've known about it for weeks! Where did the time go?) I can't wait to be surrounded by the WildWind crew and be granted the time to work.
This June, from my touchdown to takeoff it looks like I'll have 38,880 minutes (yes, I actually did the math) of WildWind. Bring it on.
Biography for Jim Wren:
Jim currently serves as the Coordinator of the Performance Program and Head of the MFA Acting Program at the School of Theatre at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate acting classes. Additionally, he has served as Artistic Director of the summer theatre programs, producing almost 100 plays in his 25+ years of leadership. In 2001 he received a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for Excellence in Theatre Education, and in 2006 was named Outstanding Teacher of Acting in the Southeast, serving as mentor to the acting students at the National Festival. Most recently, in May he was named Outstanding Teacher in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UNCG. Directing credits include:
The New Hopeville Comics (Chernuchin Theatre, NYC),
The Blue Martini (DR2 Theatre, NYC),
the means (Soho Playhouse), Irene Ryan Evening of Scenes (The Kennedy Center),
Don't Dress for Dinner (Hippodrome State Theatre), and
Cinderella (Casa Manana), in addition to over 50 productions for UNCG Theatre. His production of
The Revenger's Tragedy (co-authored with Joe Sturgeon) was selected for performance at the Kennedy Center as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2009. A member of Actors' Equity, he has appeared onstage in numerous roles including
Our Lady of 121st Street at UNCG and
The Little Foxes at Triad Stage. Education: BA in Psychology/Communication and Theatre Arts from Heidelberg College, MFA in Acting/Directing from The University of Florida.
Week One WildWind Artists
Sarah Lunnie is a new play dramaturg based in New York, where she is the literary director at Playwrights Horizons and a company member with The Mad Ones. Production dramaturgy: Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House Part 2 (Broadway), The Christians (Humana Festival, Playwrights Horizons), nightnight and Death Tax (Humana); The Mad Ones' Miles for Mary (The Bushwick Starr, Playwrights
The Essential Straight & Narrow
(The New Ohio), and
Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War
(The Brick, Ars Nova, New Ohio); Heidi Schreck's
What The Constitution Means to Me
(Clubbed Thumb); and the Humana Festival premieres of new plays by Mallery Avidon, Mona Mansour, Charles L. Mee/SITI Company, and Anne Washburn, among many others. She has worked as a dramaturg at the Denver Center, the Kennedy Center, The Lark, Ma-Yi Theater Company, New Dramatists, New York Theatre Workshop (Dartmouth residency), the O'Neill/NPC, the Baltic Playwrights Conference (Estonia), SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Texas Tech University, developing new work with Jeff Augustin, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, Basil Kreimendahl, Eric John Meyer, Mara Nelson-Greenberg, A. Rey Pamatmat, Jen Silverman, Kate Tarker, and others. She was previously the literary manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Glenn Kubota's recent regional work: Olney Theatre Center, Olney, MD. and Everyman Theatre, Baltimore, Aubergine by Julia Cho; Recent off-Broadway: National Asian-American Theatre Company's Sagittarius Ponderosa by MJ Kaufman; Pan Asian Repertory Theatre's No No Boys by Ken Narasaki; Recent films: We Are Unsatisfied; Mapplethorpe; Gringo. TV/Streaming: Red Oaks.
Ann Gillespie is a playwright and performer who lives in Brooklyn, New York. While earning her BFA in Drama at Syracuse University, Ann was able to study performance at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. Ann later went on to earn an MA in Text and Performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Ann's darkly comedic and nuanced writing for theater and film emphasizes movement, ambiguous moral dilemmas, and strong female
characters. Plays include Crossing (voted best in show, From The Hip Theatre festival), B in Oblivion (commissioned by The Krane Theatre), Terminal Moraine (commissioned by Lost Girls Theatre Company), Validating the Shit out of Each Other (MicroTheatre Miami) and Choreographing a Rape Scene to go into a Feminist Play (short-listed by the Eugene O'Neill Festival; staged readings at GableStage for South Florida Theatre League and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). Ms. Gillespie's short play BENCH was performed at the Jay Sharp Theater in the Playwrights Horizons building as part of the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival 2014. That same year, Ann also performed in an original play she wrote, Was it Love or Just Dancing produced at the RADA Festival in London. In 2015 Ann went back to the RADA Festival for a staged reading of her play Bunnies Inside Her, performed by Whistlestop Theatre. The company revived their performance of this full-length again in London in October 2015 in The Bloomsbury Festival. This July, Choreographing a Rape Scene to go into a Feminist Play will have a staged reading at Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the TONGUES reading series. She is trained in acting and loves movement, music, edible language, puppets, design and color, arguments, awkwardness, dark humor and heartbreak. Ann wrote and directed the short film, Number 3, which premiered on BPN 3, Brooklyn's community TV channel. She can also be seen performing as "Becca" on the web series #TOO BE FRANK. http://www.anngillespieplaywright.com/
Kelly Quinnett- in 1990, she was the recipient of the National Irene Ryan Scholarship through the Kennedy center American College Theatre Festival, which led to her being placed under a development contract with ABC. She appeared on All My Children as Maria Monterey in 1990, 1991 and on One Life to Live as Blaine Adams 1991.She received the Regional Irene Ryan Scholarship in 1995. Films include: The River Murders with Ray Liotta,
Without A Ladder
with Jack Bannon, Frank with John Gries and Britt Robertson, Home of the Brave with Samuel Jackson, Mozart and the Whale with Josh Hartnett, The Basket with Peter Coyote, Mr. Write with Paul Reiser and Martin Mull, Brothers and Sisters with Franco Nero. Plays include: National New Play Network's rolling premiere of Lucky Me, Bus Stop with Ellen Travolta, Rainmaker directed by Dale Moffit, Circle Mirror Transformation, Noises Off, Grace and Glory, to name a few. Kelly has had the good fortune of being a guest artist for the MFA Playwriting Workshop at the Kennedy Center with the National New Play Network and worked on plays with and by Steve Yockey, Martyna Majok, Meg Miroshnik, Michael Mitnick, Dan Le Franc, Aurin Squire and Lindsey Ferrentino. She is a proud Professor and Head of Performance at the University of Idaho and the mother of 4 amazing children.
Yilong is a New York-based playwright, born and raised in
Chongqing, China. His work has been produced or developed at Stella Adler Studio of Acting, East West Players, Queens Theatre, FringeNYC, Kumu Kahua Theatre, New Ohio Theatre, CAATA, Living Room Theatre, MOJOAA Performing Arts, and others. Awards include Kennedy Center's Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award (The Book of Mountains and Seas), Paula Vogel Playwriting Award (June is The First Fall, 2nd Place), Po'okela Award for Best New Play (Joker), and an Asian Pacific
American Friends of the Theatre Playwright Scholarship. He has been a semi-finalist for Bay Area Playwrights Festival and O'Neill Playwrights Conference, a finalist for The New Harmony Project, NYTW 2050 Fellowship, and Lark's Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellowship. Currently, he is a Resident Playwright at The Flea Theatre and a Greenhouse Resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Yilong received a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from Beijing Normal University and an MFA in Playwriting from University of Hawai'i. (
Allison Price is a director pursuing her MFA in Directing from Texas State University. Allison is the recipient of the Kennedy Center SDC Directing Initiative Award and the 2018 SDC Directing Award. Her current directing credits include All Saints by Audrey Webb, Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph, and Lily a devised piece. Allison has also spent time studying theatre in England and worked as the assistant director for Smock Alley in Dublin, Ireland.
Tony Wong graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) in 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Degreemajoring in Acting. He then joined Chung Ying Theatre company as a full-time actor, and played in such productions as Aladdin, A Tale of an Evanescent Mortal, The Midsummer Night's Dream, The Alchemist and The First Emperor's Last Day. A recipient of Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies Scholarship to pursue his
graduate studies in Australia, graduating with a master's degree from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, where he majored in Movement Studies. He currently serves as Lecturer in Acting at the HKAPA. Tony has received recognition as a playwright, director, actor and choreographer, his multi-faceted talents making him a unique artist. To date, he has participated in more than ninety productions. Among his recent works are HKAPA's
Noises Off, Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral
(director, adaptation and movement director),
The Midsummer Night's Dream, The Scholar and the Executioner
(director and choreographer),
My Days in Cat Town
The Taming of the Shrew
The School for Scandal
(director). His works with Chung Ying Theatre company are
Rashomon, Possible Worlds,
The 39 Steps
The Government Inspector
- The Musical (director and choreographer),
(assistant director and actor),
The Merchant of Venice
Flowers for Algernon
(actor). He has played the multiple roles of playwright, director, actor and choreographer for Performer Studio's
Invincible Truth, Singlology
(premiere & rerun),
Moments in the Palm of Your Hand
(Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau performances). He also was choreographer for Hong Kong Repertory Theatre's
The Cherry Orchard
and dance and stage combat choreographer for Richard III. He had also served as assistant movement director for
for the Sydney Theatre Company. While at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, he wrote, directed, performed and choreographed in
. In 2004, Tony won an Actor Award at the Hong Kong Professional Awards. In 2006, he was awarded for Best Director (Comedy / Farce) and nominated for Best Actor (Comedy / Farce) for
Two of Us
. At the 21st Hong Kong Drama Awards, he was nominated for Best Actor (Comedy / Farce) for
. At the 22nd, 23rd, and 25th Hong Kong Drama Awards, he was nominated for Best Director (Comedy / Farce) for
The Scholar and the Executioner, The 39 Steps
The Government inspector
- The musical respectively. He was recently won the Best Director at 9th Hong Kong Theatre Libre for
A Mid-summer Night's Dream
, and nominated for Best Director at the 8th Hong Kong Theatre Libre for
Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral.