Looking at You: Blog

  • Thank you for joining us in Lush Valley!

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Wednesday
    9/28/2011

    We would like to thank everybody for coming out and seeing the show. It's been a great two weeks of performances, and every night had been a very unique and fun experience thanks to our diverse applicants who helped in building Lush Valley.
    The photos of our Lush Valley applicants taken during the show can be found here.

    A big thank you also to all our contributors who helped shape the show over the entire process through workshops, think tanks, readings, etc. It was a pleasure to be part of this great community.

  • A Special Thank You

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Wednesday
    9/7/2011

    We are are extremely grateful for the generous support of the following people:

    Anonymous, Alexandra Beller, Jamie L. Bennett , Richard Brundage, Nicole Burman, David Cote, Rima Fand, Gia Forakis, Vanessa Gilbert, Sally & Fred Harris, Rachel Jendrzejewski, David Koren, Dominik Landowne, Ginny Louloudes, Donna Roseman, Lake Simons, Kathleen Turco-Lyon.

  • Beginning Tech!

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Saturday
    9/3/2011

    We’ve been doing some immense refining over the course of this week. With some major improvements in the dances, in songs, and script we are now down to fine-tuning this huge instrument we’ve created, just in time to begin tech-ing! Just being on set has already changed the dynamic; it now feels like a true office where all the paperwork and uniforms and the badges are validated. On top of this, the technology that seemed at times impossible to imagine in the rehearsal space, is breathing a new and exciting life into the show! We still have some big steps to take, but it does feel as though Lush Valley is welcoming its officers!

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 08/22 – 08/26

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Saturday
    8/27/2011

    This week has been very exciting for all of us - Suzi has returned to New York and joined us for rehearsal! Monday was a big catch up day for her and we talked through the entire show, all her scenes, songs and dances. For the rest of the week we continued working on Wanda’s solo texts and her scenes with Jason or Ernie and made some great progress by finding the humor and little details which Wanda’s character brings into the show.

    The full cast days during the week very much focused on dance and song. After the run last Saturday, Kristin had the fabulous idea of changing Georgie’s rap into a fantasy sequence and now the entire cast gets a chance to join in into a funky hip hop dance choreography, uncovering some unexpected dance potential in some of the actors! Great fun and considering that the whole choreography was designed and rehearsed within a day, an encouraging balance to a rather bumpy run thru on Thursday with very little and at times slightly challenging audience. Yet, these rehearsals are an important reminder that the show builds upon its diverse audience and that the officers will face different applicants every night. But we started all fresh and confident on Friday morning filming Wanda’s TED talk, officer interview and declaration as well as some of the footage for Georgie’s rap fantasy.

  • Lush Valley in Time Out New York’s Fall Preview Edition!

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Thursday
    8/25/2011

    Check out this preview of Lush Valley in Time Out New York's Fall Preview edition! 

    We are getting excited to build Lush Valley with you, our audience members, and the production dates near.  Get your tickets now!

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 8/18-8/20

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Tuesday
    8/23/2011

    We have continued working on fine tuning scene work this week, as well as making sure each transition is as smooth and specific as possible.  On Thursday, we focused on the think tank section of the show, where each officer helps their group create part of the new Lush Valley Oath of Allegiance.  We are trying to get each officer to engage their think tank group as productively as possible, so that we end up with an Oath that represents every one of our new Lush Valley citizens.  

    On Saturday, we had the pleasure of having about 15 audience members visit our rehearsal space for a run through.  These rehearsals are always the most enlightening, because we need our Lush Valley applicants in order to figure out the traffic patterns and timing of the show.  We found a lot of things that were working really well with audience in the room, and some that needed tightening up.  The dances in the show can be a bit tricky for the Lush Valley officers to navigate with audience members in the room, so it was great to see those sections as they would be in performance so that we can adjust accordingly.  We also were able to see how the various paper materials in the show - from intake forms to checklists to voting ballots - were fitting in to the entire piece, and how we need to tailor those to fit the needs of our audience members.  

    We are excited to get deeper into rehearsal next week, as we speed towards tech and the beginning of previews on September 7th!  Stay tuned for more updates! 

  • Help Us Create the LUSH VALLEY National Identity!

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Friday
    8/19/2011

    Don't forget to vote for the LUSH VALLEY national bird, flower, food, colors, motto and slogan on our online survey, Identity Politics!  Identity Politics, which began as part of the Figment Festival, is a project that we started to help form a national identity for LUSH VALLEY. Cast your vote online, and see the results of the vote incorporated into our production, which premieres on September 11th.  Voting officially ends on September 6th, so don't wait!

    Click here to get started!

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 8/15-8/17

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Thursday
    8/18/2011

    We've been continuing with our work on each scene, trying to find every bit of meat and potatoes there is within each. But more importantly, we've become completely enamored with the idea of YOU, the audience! From intakes, to think tanks, evem to rewriting our Lush Valley Oath of Allegiance, we've been searching through those parts where your voice gets to be heard and how we can best utilize it in our new nation! Taking each tenet of Lush Valley and dividing them amongst our officers, we're excited to listen to what you think about them and their association within the Oath of Allegiance. What's good? What's bad? Or maybe even a different word choice? It's important that you get to take ownership of what you're about to pledge as a new citizen! We also worked a lot with the camera's eye monologues within the intake section of the show, figuring what would happen if our audience members preferred to start a conversation than just listen to what the actor has to say.

    It's not often when you get to interrupt an actor in a show and tell them how to do their job. Well, now's your chance! What would you say to your immigration officer if you had the chance?

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 8/11-8/13

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Sunday
    8/14/2011

    Stumble Thru on Thursday

    Stumble Thru on Thursday

    A very productive couple of days! After working through a lot of transition moments we had a complete run thru on Thursday followed by some feedback that's really propelling the show in a new, yet more defining direction. It's amazing what a little feedback can do to a show! There are some major structural changes that, although created a very jam packed rehearsal on Saturday, are definitely giving the piece a new life that was missing from before. We have more of a chance to visit with Georgie and Jason to learn about their relationship, a little more time to see the competition between Miguel and Kim, and some great moments of clarity in general for the audience.

    I'm super excited to have had all the videos filmed on Friday and especially the TED Talk videos! All the actors with a TED Talk were placed in front of a green screen and Tal Yarden will later put in diagrams, pictures, video to really spruce them up and make them even more compelling than the text already make them.

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 8/8-8/10

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Thursday
    8/11/2011

    Marc Bovino and Irene Longshore

    Marc Bovino and Irene Longshore

    It's so great to be taking second passes at each scene without scripts in hands, it's giving each character as well as Kristin to find the little nuances that are lost when someone is constantly looking at a script. We've discovered some really great subtle humor and from that humor, I've found a concern and a wanting to know these characters more as people. I think it's going to make the moments when they have to put on their officer mask seem even more official, which is exciting to see the dichotomy in each.

    On Tuesday, we had one of those rare rehearsals with the whole cast! We made a few changes to both of the gesture dances as well as the "Shit Hits the Fan" scene that sets up for the character of Ernie to break out into "Suspicious Minds". But all-in-all I felt like we moved fairly smoothly and got a bit of work done. One of the most exciting things about collaboration is the large number of ideas that come up and really being able to pick and choose what the best one is! I'd say one of the more frazzling moments of collaboration is the large number of ideas that come up! Although, I've always felt like working on these whole cast moments is like working in an office - it may be frustrating from time to time, but you know everyone is working towards a similar goal, which in the end makes it all worth it. Plus, it's an excellent exercise in dealing with co-workers!

    I think we've had a great couple of 3 days, getting some definite shape to the piece as a whole and pumping up for the run thru next week!

  • Lush Valley 8/4 - 8/6

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Sunday
    8/7/2011

    Dax Valdez

    Dax Valdez

    Thursday afternoon we staggered through the entire play. A few people were invited as audience members to watch the skeletal structure of what's been created in the last week and a half take form, and, my goodness, it was a wonderful thing to witness. As an intern I have been watching each scene being rehearsed individually so it was a marvelous thing to see all these teeny tiny scenes suddenly slot together into this huge theatrical moment! The bare bones are definitely there and are a great, informative structure to work with over the next few weeks.

    Friday morning we worked on Jason and Miguel's scene, finding the different colours and rhythms inside it. There is some great humour here as the two characters are juxtapositions to each other and we played with Jason's naive banter that does not seem so well received by Miguel. Great fun! We then worked on Miguel's lecture experimenting with gestures that had already been chosen and adding a few more. We experimented with the changing rhythms in the text as one danger with the gestures is they can take over the text instead of complimenting it; but it was captivating to watch as the physical gestures really draw you into the text.

    Saturday we worked on Kim and Miguel's scenes and delved deeper into the text, exploring its subtext. We also rehearsed the scenes using a 'melodrama run' to see if there were anymore discoveries with breaking the genre of the piece ; however, we soon discovered it was already in the scenes, just extremely understated! Thursday afternoon's stumble through brought to light some staging issues in another scene that was intended for the Public Office space, so today we worked on re-staging this scene and moving it to the Break Room instead. 

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 8/2-8/3

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Wednesday
    8/3/2011

    Tuesday started off with a bang as we worked on a few scenes between the characters Kim and Miguel, working on shaping the arc of their relationship. A lot of what our audience will be seeing is the "officer" part of each character as they walk them through filling out forms, interviews, think tanks (which are indeed a more casual version of the officers, but a position of authority none-the-less), etc. But I'm loving what we're finding in each of these smaller, more personal scenes and what each one accidentally reveals to our audience. These characters are first and foremost people, with lives outside of work and opinions other than what their workplace suggests. The humanity of the piece is really starting to seep through! In addition to that, today we found a lot of humor between Miguel's "Barker" style lecture, his side chat about security with a few audience members, Jason's prop-filled lecture and a sneak attack snap shot of Georgie by Jason in the break room.

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 8/1

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Tuesday
    8/2/2011

    Marc Bovino and Irene Longshore

    Marc Bovino and Irene Longshore

    We took some large steps with the character of Kim today, finding several varieties in her personal life with one monologue and similar layers as a strong, liberal minded Muslim woman in another monologue. There’s a real humanity within each officer and with moments like these we hope the applicants will be able to see that as well. After lunch, we worked on ironing out the kinks in Georgie and Jason’s relationship. Will these two ever be able to find a common ground?

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 7/30

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Sunday
    7/31/2011

    Dax Valdez

    Dax Valdez

    It was a slower paced day in rehearsals than it has been this week. The first half of the day we sat with Georgie to work on her monologues. Qui, one of Lush Valley's writers, was a fabulous helping hand with Georgie's spoken poem and rap. They're starting to take a really exciting shape! After working on short scene between Ernie and Georgie, we focused on Ernie's monologue before jumping into one of the final moments, "Suspicious Minds"! There are still a few kinks in the bridge to work out, but choreography is giving some very good flair to the piece!

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 7/29

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Saturday
    7/30/2011

    We finished choreographing the opening gesture dance today! After lots of collaboration this week, we have come up with a good shape for this and although changes may be made in the future, we ended in a great, comfortable spot! However, before working on the dance again we learned some songs to sing for the Battle of the Athems! Splitting our officers in two groups of four, giving each one a different song, we will present the audience with options for the Lush Valley anthem that will be voted on in the show. Finally, we had a moment with the King, learning Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" with a Lush Vallian twist!

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 7/28

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Thursday
    7/28/2011

    Civil War fantasy

    Civil War fantasy

    We changed gears a little bit today, starting with gesture warm-ups, but we moved on to some of the full cast scenes in the script – mainly looking at them on their feet. We accomplished quite a bit, finding a good shape for the scenes. We also had a chance to choreograph the two fantasy scenes in the script, a Civil War scene between Georgie and Jason as well as a clip from THE 99 graphic novel between Kim and Miguel. It’ll be fantastic to see all the work we did today surrounded with audience members! In sync with the rest of the week, we’ve closed the day working some smaller cast scenes. We found a new flavor to the relationship between Alan and Angela, our supervisors. And for all those wondering, a Sparticist was a late 1960’s journalist for a communist paper.

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal 7/27

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Wednesday
    7/27/2011

    Following a similar format from yesterday, the Lush Vallians began today’s rehearsal with a refresher of our new gestures and re-worked some of the new gesture dance we were had built. We’re aiming to tap in to the emotional under belly of Lush Valley, learning not only more about the officer’s characters, but also about what Lush Valley means to us, a feeling we hope to share with the audience! After lunch, we returned to the script, focusing on the characters Miguel and Angela and the scene between them.

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal: 7/26

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Tuesday
    7/26/2011

    using the new gestures for a new dance

    using the new gestures for a new dance

    Another big step forward here in Lush Valley! We began an early day with a recap of our gestures from previous workshops and showed off a new series of gestures based the words hope, invitation, potential and pride. We jumped right into choreographing a new dance and spent the majority of our time together creating an uplifting, welcoming, environment for our applicants. We started from scratch with the new gestures and a new song and the first section is really taking shape! After lunch, we spent the rest of the day focusing on the character Jason within the script. Looking forward to the rest of this week as we’ve had a very productive first couple of days back in the rehearsal room!

  • Lush Valley Rehearsal: 7/25

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Tuesday
    7/26/2011

    We had an exciting first rehearsal today for our upcoming production of LUSH VALLEY, which premieres September 11th at HERE! We began our day with a read through of the script, which we recently spent a week workshopping at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. After the read through, our set designer Clint Ramos gave us a tour of the set model box and showed everyone the layout of his immersive design. After lunch, we put the final scene of the script on its feet and sketched out some blocking. We spent the rest of our group rehearsal reviewing our gesture dance choreography from the work-in-progress showing we did earlier this year at Culturemart, and finished off the day working on a scene between LUSH VALLEY officers Kim and Jason. We are excited to be back in the rehearsal room with a great cast and creative team, and are looking forward to sharing our work with you in September. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout our process!

  • The Playwrights’ Center Community Think Tank Notes: Group 3

    Posted by
    Kristin Marting
    Monday
    7/25/2011

    TOPIC:

    -Picket Fence, Dream of American Dream

    -Is Dream Urban & Rural, living simply

    -Do we have to prioritize transit strategies?

     

     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        NOTES:

    -Urban sophisticate folks chasing an idea of simplicity, rural people have those choices made for them because of poverty.

    -Rich people have the luxury to buy land and farm and thus become neighbors

    -We idealize a concept of rural, local, community then feel guilty because of luxuriating in a fantasy. Wonder what I can get locally at market,

    -Meet farmer day in produce section.

    -Riding the bus – seeing people of different classes. Being exposed to simpler, rougher.

    -Civil service to work on farms as an idea, and everyone should spend time cleaning up city

    -My film teacher instructed us to work on farms

    -City living is better for earth, so what is urban paradigm, urban farming, gardening, csa’s, farmers markets, hydroponic gardening

    -We’ve been obsessed that comfort, leisure is everything so farming. Going to a market didn’t make sense. We painted ourselves into a corner and now we are trying to find our way out. We changed what simple meant. 5 ingredient ice cream

    -Is it fashion or is it a solution. Corporations manufacture desire, always fighting that. Naiveté as human race when given al these options suddenly technology, pesticides, etc.

    -More people getting older, wanting to downsize and live with convenience of urban environment.

    -American dream is based on comfort, and I think it’s wrong but don’t know why.

    -Seeing 2 or 3 generation household. Again – a reversion to past ways.

    -Pride about getting out, moving on discovering new life in a new place

    -Picket fence, clean and well maintained, symbolic of land claim, this is mine. A good fence makes a good neighbor, lawn, close to neighbor, Norman Rockwell,

    -Simplicity, not having too much, not needing a car

    -In America holding things privately seems simpler than holding things communally

    -Privacy is very important to us

    -Communities dictating rules, like Celebration or Coral Gables, personal private property is at the core of our foundation

    -Privacy is changing. Do you need a picket fence if you post everything to Facebook?

    -Is Facebook the new picket fence community? Idealistic idea that internet would reduce bias. But internet also allows us to make our communities more homogenous, easy to sift through and close out what you don’t want to see. Easy to isolate oneself from who we don’t want to associate and reach across geographic boundaries to find people we share ideals with.

    -Presenting a certain face to society. Feeling safe with difference. We can accept it on a bus because we are all trying to get somewhere. But in our immediate communities we are more intolerant, uncomfortable with difference. “I’m suppose to be ok with everyone’s difference and express that authentically but that’s not always the case.”

    -We get pre-emptively protective – “I’m ok with you but I need the fence to make me secure with that.”

    -Having less makes things easier. With more possessions life gets more complexity but bombarded by.

    -Wealthy people idealize the fashion of poverty. Paying a lot of money to look like one is poor or can make do with very little. Is simplicity being appropriated by wealthy.