Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Miranda Fisher on The Creative Process

photo by Brenda Sparks
pictured: Paige Gober, Diego Gomez, Miranda Fisher

I’m continually amazed by the strength and creative expression that theatre allows. The cast of Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare in the Park 2009 production of Taming of the Shrew is comprised of a generous assortment of differing individuals. The youngest being a fourteen year old student and the oldest being a well experienced teacher, it has been a highly advantageous learning experience in each element of the spectrum. I’m learning so much from everyone. It simultaneously reminds me of how inexperienced I am and how much I’ve already learned in such a short amount of time. Last summer, my first time being in the Apprentice Company, was my first real exposure to Shakespeare. I remember at the beginning of my sophomore year being embarrassed that I was unable to name five Shakespearean plays. I was terrified of Shakespeare! But now, only two years later, I’m thrilled to tear apart and analyze any of his text.

The first day of Apprentice Company training I was filled with heaps of nervous energy and apprehension. I’m not some fanatic believer in Murphy’s Law, but the first day of training a couple major things went wrong. One of our workshops fell through because the instructor's wife had a baby that morning! But like a Shakespearean superhero, Nashville Shakes Artistic Director, Denice Hicks made an impromptu text based workshop. I’m constantly reminded of the fortune theatre provides even in the midst of unfortunate happenings.

Nashville Shakes has lost numerous sponsors and support due to this distasteful economy. We’re fighting against the odds, but it’s all good. My experience this summer has been filled little potholes of the like but it seems that, with a little flexibility, anything can be mended.
To say the least, our training went exceptionally well. After we all were acquainted with one another, we chose monologues to rehearse, and began a series of Viewpoint exercises. Anne Bogart’s Viewpoint exercises have been the foundation for our character development, and the creation of our ensemble. Thanks to Viewpoints Brenda Sparks, our director, has been able to effectively communicate broad ideas. We’ve mainly focused on ideas of shape, spatial relationship, tempo, architecture and topography. Viewpoints is an essential part of our creative process.
We just completed our second day of blocking rehearsal and have made it through the entire first act. (With only two weeks of rehearsal , we’re making great time!) Over the next two weeks we’ll be finishing the blocking, exploring specific character interactions and layering in the technical aspects of the show. We’ve already got some groovy costumes, thanks to June Kingsbury. I cannot wait to make it to opening night. Everything is coming together so quickly.

Dude, ApCo has been such an essential part of my growth as an actor and human being. It’s offered such and opportune learning experience. Donations, please! Keep this program around! Young people need this exposure to Shakespeare and the arts.
Miranda Fisher, ApCo 2008, 2009