Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 Apprentice Company Training Begins

Playwright John Patrick Shanley once said that “theater is the safe place to do the unsafe thing.” As the first week of Apprentice Company (ApCo) training began, I definitely felt like I was doing the ‘unsafe thing!’ Being the oldest member of ApCo this year, my nerves were running pretty high as I stepped into my first day. I expected that I would have a hard time fitting in with the younger folks and that it would take a couple days to start feeling comfortable. I was totally wrong. As we got going with our ice-breaking games and morning yoga exercises, it felt like we were all opening up more and more to what everyone else was bringing to the table. Even by just introducing ourselves through our own personal gestures, we learned more about one another and accepted each person in the group right from the start.

From there, we’ve begun to explore our limitations as an ensemble and as individuals. This week for me has been about taking risks and knowing that this environment is a safe place to try new things with my monologues or in a group exercise without the fear of being shot down or laughed at. We get constructive and very polite criticism where we need it as well as praise for things that we hit the mark on. What’s even more exciting about all the work we’re doing is that we’re all excited for one another. You can’t help thinking “that was so awesome” each time you see others around you create and make so many different kinds of discoveries!

For week two of our training, we’ll be traveling with the professional cast to our fight director, Roy Cox’s, studio to continue our stage combat training which I’m very excited about. There is so much stuff we’ve already learned in our workshops with Roy this past week: different kinds of punches and slaps, tumbling, pushing and pulling. Trust me; it’s all a lot of fun. The physical exercises we’ve done have also helped me so much in understanding how my body works and how I can use it onstage. Yoga and Suzuki have helped the most in finding out how to focus my mind and center my energy so that I’m ready for anything and can stay in the moment at the same time.

That, in a rather lengthy nutshell, is what has affected me most from this first week in the Apprentice Company. I can’t believe that it’s only the beginning!

- Jillian Frame, Rising Senior at Trevecca Nazarene University