Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Work in Play: Creating For The Very Young

For the past two weeks we have been working at Flushing Town Hall (FTH) developing a new work for the very young, Olive & Pearl, for ages 2-5, through a very generous space grant. How I loved consecutively going to the same beautiful theater. Normally, we have performances at multiple theaters in between rehearsals, or arts in education residencies, and travel to many different places during the week. You can imagine the excitement of having two solid weeks at the same space, every day. And then top that routine with a very friendly, helpful, and nurturing staff. That combination, helped to formulate a productive two weeks.
Company Members Miranda Wilson & Katie Montoya, explore sounds and rhythms
Over the years our creative process has changed. In the beginning I traditionally wrote and developed the script ahead of the first rehearsal and then as a company we delved into it, exploring movement within the language. During Hatched, the performers and I created the piece together. I had a story skeleton, but not a script. During rehearsals we layered the story, created our puppets, and collaborated with music and dance. For Under the Tangle, Emily Bunning choreographed and directed the piece, and with a long development process, the company helped to layer the story.
With our newest piece, Emily and I have been discussing the vision of the piece for over 6 months. Olive & Pearl, is seeded from an idea that began peculating even before Hatched. Centered on the thematic elements of home, and what a home means, young audiences are invited into a cozy and gentle world, rich with sensory experiences. The story follows young Olive throughout her day, as she is lovingly taken care of by her Granny Pearl, and the adventures both real and imaginary that they embark upon. There is puppetry, original music, and one of our most visually appealing sets to date. 

String Dancing

From these two weeks of play, I have written a first drafted script that I was able to have the actors read and play with the language. We were able to ponder questions and ideas, and what we want our very young audiences to experience. Emily developed and played with movement phrases. And although we have much more layering to do, we have the beginnings of a wonderful new piece that I am looking forward to sharing.

Over the next year, we will be rehearsing, developing and showing different sections in development on audiences throughout New York. For those of you in Long Island and New York City, I hope you can join us for feedback at one of these first showings. Olive & Pearl will premiere for our 20th Anniversary Season in 2017.

About The Flushing Town Hall Space Grant:
Since 2009, Flushing Town Hall has offered Space Grants to emerging and mid-career artists who are developing or completing new work. Free use of the facility, such as the theatre, is available, with hard costs the responsibility of the artists. Space Grants have run from 1-6 weeks, depending on the artists' needs and facility availability. Choreographers, Puppeteers, Film Makers, Circus  Artists and Dancers have been awarded a Space Grant since 2009. Space Grant recipients are required to offer a culminating activity, such as a public performance, workshop or lec/dem. 

In conjunction with the space grant, Treehouse Shakers will return to Flushing Town Hall, October 18, 2015 for workshops and performances of Hatched.  Tickets in advance are encouraged. For more information check out Flushing Town Hall.

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