Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Process in Performance Vol. I.
A Conversation with Ellen Lauren
Monday, October 17th 2011

Nick Westrate: Hi, so this is our first in the series that we’re now calling Process in Performance. We’re gonna do these interviews once a month with some of the great artists that we have in the theater working today, the first of whom is Ellen Lauren. (applause) So, just a quick note about the project and how and why we’re doing it and what’s going on: It started off, I have to say thanks to Jim Nicola and Linda Chapman who weren’t able to be with us tonight, who run this brilliant theater. And I came to them with an idea, and Linda helped me develop it, about how we expand the way we as actors talk to each other about the work. And it was spawned out of—I went to Juilliard, and I got a very specific kind of training there that was very much based on what I think a lot of acting training in America is based on, which is Naturalism and Stanislavski. And then I ended up seeing some crazy-ass theater, the SITI company included, the Wooster Group included, and my head kind of exploded and I thought this is not theater- these are not plays- this can’t happen. And I had a slight breakdown, and a very good friend walked me through it. And a few of you in this room have probably have walked through that with me. And I ended up realizing that that’s actually my favorite kind of work: what we call avant-garde work, or semi-avant-garde work, or non-traditional work. So all these conversations are kind of going to be about—not kind of, definitely going to be about—the traditional ways of working in the theater versus what is considered the avant-garde. So that’s where I came up with it.

Ellen Lauren: Is that what we’re talking about? I’m so screwed. (big laughs)