WWPL 2016
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WildWind Performance Lab Summer 2016 Newsletter 2
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A Few Words from the Executive Director
Bill Gelber
Bill Gelber

Four years ago, when Mark Charney joined us as the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, we had no idea how much change was coming. Here we are in 2016, with a new BFA in Mus ical Theatre, new faculty lines, a strengthened relationship with our alumni, and partnerships with the East Lubbock community and the Burkhart Autism Center. We are also the School of Theatre and Dance, wi t h all that entails.  But perhaps my favorite change is the addition of the WildWind Performance Lab.  I remember distinctly asking Mark, "What is this exactly?"  All of us were trying to wrap our heads around this new initiative: was it a series of workshops or a play development program? Was it for playwrights or did it include other artists? Would we hold performances or readings? What did we hope to accomplish?

This program, now in its fourth year, is so many things: a series of master classes for dancers, actors, and designers; a new play development lab for our own student writers; an experimental lab for young nationally-recognized playwrights to test and change their work in a safe environment; and a training ground for dramaturgs and directors who want to embrace the new play process.
We encourage all of our participants to soak up as m uch as they can in a program that goes from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. five days a week for four weeks. Our instructors participate fully in the sessions, which provides and encourages teacher development throughout the month. Our playwriting students have the chance to shape their work before it is produ ced during the school year. Our performers, directors, and choreographers are constantly challenged to learn beyond what they already know, to seek new paradigms for theatre making, to reconsider the language of dance and movement, and to create new vocabularies for reflecting about the artistic experience.
This year the level of quality just keeps rising, and whether we're talking about Michael Legg's continued leadership as our artistic director or Kamarie Chapman's deep dramaturgical insights; the master teachers of acting and design in-residence; or the award-winning playwrights visiting us from all over the country; the innovative choreographers or the special guest arts administrators, WildWind continues to address the needs of our students in amazing ways.
Our artists for this week are Christie Nelson in dance, Carine Montbertrad in acting, Shannon Robert in design, and Martyn Majok in  playwriting.  (Please see their impressive and diverse bios below.) As I write this, Christie is expertly leading WildWind Dance Week 2, Carine is in her second day of her mask workshop, Shannon continues to serve as a mentor and model for what design can be, and Martyn has had the first reading of her new play, Queens with a wonderful group of guest actors both from within the Performance Lab and the community. Jaston Williams has returned for his fourth year to offer his sage advice on playmaking, and Nicholas Dragga will be sharing his experiences as Executive Director for Ballet Lubbock. And that's just the beginning.
We've begun to field questions from around the country about how one might join this incredible program.  The simple answer: if you are a student in Texas Tech's School of Theatre and Dance, you are automatically eligible: it will be part of your scholastic experience here at Tech. For everyone else: come see what we are up to. In particular, join us for our new play readings at the end of each week. Our first is Saturday, June 4 at 7 p.m. in the Lab Theatre.
Having been a part of the WildWind program for four years, I can tell you personally that it continues to improve and grow in so many different areas. And I can promise you this: it's going to be a great summer!
New Play Reading Series

This year, we continue one of our most popular additions to the WildWind program: public readings of new plays in development.  Each week, one of our guest artists, an exciting young playwright whose work is already being nationally- and internationally-recognized, offers us a play in progress to be workshopped by WildWind's Artistic Director Michael Legg. At the end of the week, the results are presented in a public forum. These are pieces that may very well find themselves on professional stages, so here at Texas Tech we have the privilege of being the first audiences to experience them in their early forms.
Below is a list of plays and the schedule for the readings. We hope you will join us for all of them in the Maedgen Lab Theatre at 7 p.m.
queens by Martyna Majok
June 4
Searching for Sarah by Patricia Crespin
June 10
In 1987, When We Were Kids by Basil Kreimendahl
June 17
Wonder by Steve Yockey
June 24

Michael Legg introduces the first public reading of WildWind 2016,
queens by Martyna Mayok
Reflections on This Week's WildWind Experience
Guest Artists

Carine Montbertrand
This week at WildWind I taught an intensive course in Neutral and Commedia dell'Arte Mask. Masks are a wonderful and challenging tool for actor training. I use neutral masks to enhance a student's physical awareness, presence, and specificity of movement. Neutral masks reveal posture , habits, and truth. Commedia masks have a seemingly magical ability to free one's physical expressiveness and imagination. For our final class the students gave individual prepared performances of characters they created using Commedia masks. They each came up with their own personalities, stories, costumes, props, and music. These mini solo shows, the result of only five days of work, were wholly the products of their own imaginations and delighted the audience. It is my hope that students finish the course with a new perception of their own possibilities as performing artists. 
Carine Montbertrand (R.) introduces students to the Commedia masks

Spending a week at WildWind has been terrific. In the best of circumstances one arrives to teach a workshop at a program and finds curious, smart, and dedicated students with equally open professors - the kind of environment where everyone thrives. That has been my experience here, and it's been wonderful. I do not underestimate the difficulty of what I teach - after all, I was once a mask student myself, and I continue to use and be challenged by its principles in my professional life. It requires great vulnerability, generosity, self-examination, imagination, and a sustained physical energy which often surprises and daunts a first-time student. Each WildWind student has fully taken on the challenge, which makes my job such a pleasure. Also, it's been great to participate in the reading of Martyna Majok's new play - this is an opportunity any New York actor would be thrilled with - as well as meet other brilliant artists in my profession. How fortunate the students are here to be able to be exposed to this work... an opportunity I would love to have had as a young acting student! It is really an  exceptional program.
A performance of the final Event

Shannon Robert
I had such a great week working with the students and guest artists at WildWind! Not only did I meet some wonderful, talented people who are passionate about their art, I am leaving inspired and ready to work! WildWind Performance Lab provides all participants with immersive theatre training focused on process rather than production or product. Guest artists from every part of the industry involve students in the process of creating in an environment that encourages risk by challenging students to invest in themselves and their craft while discussing what, how, and why we work th e way we do: all of  this through a workshop of new material and exploration of numerous approaches to performance, design, and production.
Shannon Robert (2nd from R.) reviews the students' portfolios

The idea of discovery through the proc ess of collaboration a nd through sharing both successes and failures is practiced and embraced  in this environment. The discovery of the WHAT and WHY of the work is sought by all participants. Students are invested in and an active part of the process of helping professional artists create and refine their work. Actors, directors, designers, technicians, dramaturgs, and theatre administrators are all active participants in the WildWind artistic process. The sessions result is a group of students (a company) who leave a month-long intensive process having a better understanding of what everyone can potentially contribute to any production process, how to better communicate with one another, how to keep the focus on the work without ego, and how to better navigate their way through the process of working on a new script with a playwright. What I experienced this week was a group students motivated to grow together.
Shannon Robert (L.) discusses students' designs

Martyna Majok
I had a wonderful time at WildWind and was very grateful for the experience. It was my first time working with Michael Legg as a director, and I sincerely hope it wasn't the last! Kamarie was a joy, as were Shannon and Carine and the other actresses I was fortunate enough to work with. Everyone was incredibly kind and generous, all selflessly in service to a new work of theatre. Everyone was invested in helping me learn more about my play, queens , and that kind of attention, commitment, and care is a huge gift to a playwright. I appreciated the time to work on my newest play - and the understanding from the students and my collaborators about this being very much a work in progress. I came away with new ideas and a fresh focus. The students were a joy. Very smart and considerate. They asked great questions and I hope I was able to offer them something they might be able to use as they pursue lives in the theatre. Thank you all for inviting me! And wishing you a wonderful rest of WildWind!

Table read of queens by Martyna Majok (3rd from L.)

Responses to This Week's Wildwind Experience

Isiah Columbus (undergraduate BFA Acting Student) on Carine Montbertrand's Mask Workshop 
Isiah Columbus
The biggest things I will take away from this week are the specifics of how to work a crowd, the importance of focus and commitment, and the beauty of an ensemble. Carine taught us very specific techniques that showed us how to effectively engage the audience. This was nice because often we have to do soliloquies or break the fourth wall in plays, but rarely do we ever get instruction on how to really sell these moments. We talk to the audience and just pray the different things we do [will] work, but now I have tools that allow me to really engage the crowd and make the experience more interesting for them.
The importance of focus and commitment [in] doing mask work: there are so many things going on at once that not being fully engaged is detrimental to the performance. I am very appreciative that Carine never once let anyone not commit. She stayed on everyone and pushed us to our limits. I felt challenged in new ways, and I know for a fact that I am a stronger actor because of it.
Throughout the week we have done a lot of ensemble work. I have worked with many of the actors in this class before, but not as intimately as I have this week. Carine showed us how important it was to be present with the group and give them your best so that you can effectively accomplish the different tasks at hand. Thanks to Carine I feel like I am so much closer to my peers and now know how to really make myself available to an ensemble.

Kelsey Fisher-Waits (Graduate MFA in Performance and Pedagogy student) describes her participation in the New Play Development series
Kelsey Fisher-Waits
Having experienced the genius that is the Michael Legg-Kamarie Astrid dynamic duo firsthand during my very own Wild Wind session last summer, I was absolutely thrilled when asked to participate in another round of new play development. I think this is one of the most special and rewarding aspects of the Wild Wind experience, whether one is actively involved in the process, or simply observing. It allows students to have a taste of new play development with some truly astounding professional artists, all while being in the safe cocoon of a learning-centric environment. Seeing the process unfold, in any capacity, is extremely rewarding as an artist. It's organic, it's gritty, it's hard, it's fluid, it's challenging, and it's absolutely delicious. Suffice it to say, I couldn't wait to be a part of all that beautiful mess once again.
I read the piece we'd be workshopping, queens, written by the lovely Martyna Majok, and I considered myself incredibly lucky to be able to work on a show that is, without a doubt, going to be something major-is something major. Martyna has such a fresh and unique way of storytelling that pulls a reader in immediately, swimming in a sea of broken English and beautifully bold women. The story follows a group of immigrant women, each highly individualistic, trying their hand at the American experience. These women are brave, these women are strong, and most importantly, these women are incredibly, unapologetically human.
I've had such fun exploring my character, Aamani, a woman from Afghanistan. Though somewhat downtrodden by the lack of communication with her husband, her fears of this cold and unfamiliar country, and her aching to find some place or someone to belong to, Aamani prevails. She is an incredibly smart, calculating, and refined woman. She, alongside all of the ladies in this important piece of theatre, has a kind of quiet, grounded strength. It is strength that sits at one's core, deep inside the belly, protected and powerful. It is a strength that elongates the spine and lifts the chin and proudly proclaims, "I will!" It is the strength of a true queen, and it is really kind of magical.
It has been such a wonderful experience working with Michael, Martyna, Kamarie, as well as this group of talented actresses, the wonderful guest actress Carine Montbertrand and Professor Rachel Hirshorn among the ranks, as we investigated the textures and layers of each of these women, these queens. I am so very grateful.

Week Two Guest Artists  
Monday, June 6 - Friday, June 10

Patricia Crespin
Patricia Crespin
Patricia Crespín is a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and occasional actor. But mostly, she likes to call herself a storyteller. She currently resides in her native homeland of Northern New Mexico, where she writes and directs stage plays, teleplays and films full-time, and teaches Theatre Arts and Public Speaking part-time at the local University and Community College. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance from New Mexico Highlands University and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Dramatic Writing from the University of New Mexico.   She has written several plays, including We are Hispanic, American Women...Okay?, El Corrido de Jórge (George's Song), Living Purgatory, American Dreams?, Confessions of a Hispanic American Woman, The Hero Within, The Sad Room, and two award winners, The Medea Complex and The Three Señorita Pigletitas y el Diablo the Wolf. We are Hispanic, American Women...Okay? was first produced by New Mexico Highlands University in 2006 and directed by Patricia. It went on to receive several productions throughout New Mexico and was optioned and turned into a feature film titled Before We Say Goodbye, which was co-written by Patricia, in 2009. The Medea Complex had its world premiere at the Breath of Fire Theatre in Los Angeles, CA., and was performed throughout New Mexico in 2009 and 2010. Patricia wrote the screenplay for The Medea Complex, which is now in pre-production and is set to start filming in late 2016. Her other plays, Confessions of a Hispanic American Woman, The Three Señorita Pigletitas y el Diablo the Wolf, Living Purgatory, El Corrido de Jórge (George's Song), and The Sad Room have all been produced in and around New Mexico. The Sad Room made its world premiere at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in 2015 in the Siembra: Latino Play Festival. Patricia's film and television credits include a teleplay titled, Land of Heirs, which is currently being considered for option, and another teleplay titled, The Legend of La Llorona. Her other screenwriting credits include ghostwriter for an upcoming comedy to be produced in the near future. As a storyteller, Patricia's goal is to explore Latino culture through theatre and film using bold, risqué storylines that are thought-provoking and forthright. She is also dedicated to creating powerful, desirable roles for the under-represented, yet unique Latina. Patricia strives to be a voice for the people of New Mexico where, as she says, "the culture is rich, the people are beautiful, the land is breathtaking, and the language is its own entity."
Jaqueline Springfield
Jaqueline Springfield
Actress and Teacher
Jacqueline Springfield  is a professional actor and a teacher of Voice/Speech and Acting. Her teaching credits include New York Film Academy, Brooklyn College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Metro Theatre Company, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Shades of Black Theatre Festival, and The American College Theatre Festival. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is a certified Associate Instructor of Fitzmaurice Voicework. Jacqueline currently teaches Voice and Speech at American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, and she continues to work as a performer in film, television, theatre and voiceover.

Pirronne Yousefzadeh

Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Director, Writer, and Educator
Pirronne Yousefzadeh is a Brooklyn-based theatre director, writer, and educator. She has directed and developed new work at The Public/Joe's Pub, New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, New Georges, Partial Comfort Productions, Rising Phoenix Rep, Noor Theatre, Ma-Yi Theater Company, HERE Arts Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Dramatists, The Lark Play Development Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, InterAct Theatre Company, and Hangar Theatre, among others. Her productions of In The Blood (Theatre Horizon) and The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane by Jen Silverman together received fifteen Barrymore nominations, including Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production for both, and Pretty Mbane received the Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, New Georges Affiliated Artist and member of The Jam, member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and Rising Circle Theater Collective, a recipient of SDC's Denham Fellowship, and an alumna of the Emerging Artist Fellowship at NYTW, Drama League Directors Project, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and Ensemble Studio Theatre's Resident Director Program. Pirronne has been on faculty at UT Austin, Rutgers University/NJIT, and Bard High School Early College, and is a guest director at Juilliard, Fordham University, NYU, and Ramapo College. MFA, Columbia University. Associate Member, SDC.  www.pirronne.com

Ann S. Graham
Ann S. Graham
Executive Director of Texans for the Arts
Ann S. Graham  brings a strong set of leadership skills to her work as the Executive Director of Texans for the Arts and she has demonstrated a deep passion for the arts and the role that they play in building and strengthening our communities. MS. Graham holds a Master's Degree in Arts Administration and has an extensive career in arts management and organizational development, arts festival and event production, public art administration, and arts advocacy. She began her career in the arts in Boston serving as Production Coordinator for First Night, the New Year's Celebration of the Arts, and concurrently as Executive Director of The New England Philharmonic, an award-winning community based orchestra, with which she also played (cello). She was a co-founder of Reclamation Artists, a group of artists who occupied abandoned and overlooked urban sites with temporary public art works. Upon moving to Texas in 1994, Ms. Graham served for six years on the City's Art In Public Places Panel and concurrently involved herself in arts, neighborhood, and public school advocacy work.She was the Co-Founder of First Night Austin, whose highly acclaimed inaugural event on December 31, 2005 set a new vision for creative possibilities in Austin. Ms. Graham has been a longtime advocate in the civic arena and was instrumental in securing $1.25m in the 2012 City of Austin Bond election to support the work of a comprehensive restoration master plan for The Elisabet Ney Museum. Ms. Graham's work on the City of Austin's CreateAustin cultural master plan was pivotal in insuring that its recommendations were integrated into Austin's comprehensive master plan, ImagineAustin, and she continues to serve on the CreateAustin Accountability Working Group. Ms. Graham currently serves on the Boards of Preservation Austin and Amigos de las Américas.

About Texas Tech University School of Theatre & Dance

Mission Statement

The School of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University fosters the highest standards of scholarship and creative activity, providing opportunities for students to work actively in both areas. We champion training and education in a breadth of specialized arts, encourage students to cross boundaries between them, and prepare students for careers in both practice and pedagogy. By integrating the practical and the scholarly, the Department serves as a vital force in the artistic, cultural, and intellectual life of our society.


Vision Statement

The School of Theatre and Dance will exhibit and promote the highest standards of artistry, professionalism, diversity, and collaboration in arts training, education, and scholarship.

Texas Tech University School of Theatre & Dance
2812 18th Street
Lubbock, Texas 79401
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