Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Week of Training Wraps

Hello everyone! J.R. Knowles here with your ApCo 09 blog update. This is my second year in The Apprentice Company, following being in CORIOLANUS last year, and it's exhilarating to be back! There's such a huge disparity between the first week of this year's training and last year's training, at least from my perspective. Last year, walking into the NPT Arts Center, home of The Nashville Shakespeare Festival, for just the third time (the first and second being auditions and callbacks) was unfamiliar and intimidating; this year it feels like coming back home. After a very busy year's time, I had forgotten just how much I missed working with Nashville Shakes! It seems to be a magnet for all the most illuminating teachers, talented professionals, and eager theatre students.

watch the Npt Arts Break Feature on Nashville Shakes Education Work

On that subject, it's so incredible to be around all my old friends again! Being around all these talented and familiar faces helped jump start me mentally and got me right back in the saddle very quickly. While most of this year's apprentices I've known or met in some in some fashion prior to training, the new friends we're all making is icing on top of the Shakespearean cake. If the packed callback wasn't enough proof, all the new apprentices this year is proof of just how much young talent middle Tennessee has to offer.

Alright then, the training. This year, for myself and at least last year's apprentices, is a mix of review and wholly, completely different training. Er, let me explain. This year marks a return to Viewpoints work. The monologues work we've started on is also a similar but wonderful system of presentation, Q and A, and constructive feedback. However, the aspects of this year's training pertaining specifically to our Groovy Shrew is quite different from what we did to bring Rome to Nashville last year.

Needless to say, this year's Shakespeare in the Park may find a marked decrease in the amount of gratuitous blood and staff-on-club combat :). Amongst watching an Episode of Laugh-In that had us all in stitches(It's Sock it to Me Time!*punch*) and a trip back through Time magazines, we got in a fantastic stage combat lesson with David Wilkerson, with more of a focus on comedy than raw violence. Thursday, we were all treated to a groove-tastic dance lesson with the especially groovy Rowena Aldridge. Just another perk of Apprentice Company!

I mean, honestly, where else are you going to see pieces from HAMLET and KING LEAR one day, and immediately the next day learn everything from The Madison to the Monster Mash?

In summary, J.R. Knowles is alive and thoroughly enjoying every moment of the 2009 Apprentice Company. Stay groovy!