Catawba faculty members Dr. Elizabeth Homan (Theatre Arts) and Dr. Janice Fuller (English) traveled with thirteen Theatre Arts students to New York City in early January. The trip was part of a course being offered by Homan this spring entitled, "Collaborative Aesthetics and Ensemble Techniques" in which students will learn to become members of a working ensemble performance company.
While in the City, Homan, Fuller, and the students participated in a three-day intensive workshop led by Any Paris, founding member of the New York-based Tectonic Theatre Project. Founded in 1991 by premiere American playwright and director, Moisés Kaufman, Tectonic Theater Project is best know for its ground-breaking plays, "The Laramie Project," "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and most recently the Tony Award-winning "33 Variations."
Homan, Fuller, and the students will use techniques learned at the workshop to stage Fuller's original adaptation of William Faulkner's seminal novel, "As I Lay Dying," to premiere at Catawba in September 2011.
Here is how some of the students making the trip responded to the experience:
"This trip was my first time to New York City. It was incredible. The City makes you feel like you're part of something bigger, like there is no insignificance. That also related to the workshop. Tectonic changed everything about the way I thought about theatre."
- Sophomore Jeffrey Salerno of Lake Mary, Fla.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Our workshop providing incredibly intensive training that was unlike anything I have ever experienced. That process, combined with some of the best theater I have ever seen provided me with a desire to work harder and learn more than ever before. I couldn't have asked for a better trip."
- Senior Carrie Foster of Baltimore, Md.
"At the Tectonic workshop, my classmates and I gained a whole new perspective on theatre and the collaborative process. It was such an exciting experience, and I am very eager to apply our learning to the creation of As I Lay Dying."
- Sophomore Julie Dean of Greenwood, S.C.
"The workshop was by far the most rewarding experience of my college career thus far. We explored ideas that have completely changed how I view theatre, and it is a very exciting change."
- Senior Chris Herring of Oakboro, N.C.
"I think the New York trip really brought us together as a more tight-knit group. We were all taking huge steps out of our comfort zones and encouraging each other to take risks — it was really supportive and great. Working with Andy from Tectonic opened us up to new ideas and ways to look at things that we might never have approached before. Seeing those sorts of concepts coming through in the shows we attended at New York's Public Theatre made a huge impact, also. All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and I'm so glad we had this opportunity as a group."
- Sophomore Jodye Carroll of Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
"Getting the opportunity to work with Andy Paris, a Tectonic company member was both thrilling and wholly captivating. There is no better way to experience the progressive collaborative process of the Tectonic theatre than diving in headfirst like we had the pleasure of doing. The three-day weekend full of all-day workshops was complimented by our attendance of several performances at the Under The Radar Festival at The Public Theater. Our experiences in New York were enriching and memorable in ways I never thought possible and I am truly ecstatic that I had the opportunity to take part in the excursion."
- Senior Mary Alice Nichols of Conyers, Ga.