Wednesday, June 30, 2010

RSC's Michael Boyd Visits Ohio Teachers, MFAs

Our Ohio teachers and MFA students immersed in a week-long teacher leadership program with the Royal Shakespeare Company had a real treat today -- an afternoon visit from the RSC's renowned Artistic Director Michael Boyd (above, with MFA student Alex Boyles). Boyd worked with the group, first splitting them into smaller teams and instructing them to create an imaginary "machine" based on a scene or character from King Lear (below) He then spent time directing several OSU MFA acting students in one of Lear's scenes. Boyd, known for creating an ensemble among the RSC actors, ended the day with a Q & A session. He explained, "Where the play happens is really between us -- between the actors and the audience. That's where our art form happens. That's our definition of an ensemble."

The earlier part of the day was spent building ensemble within the group with a variety of activities led by Virginia Grainger and Rachel Gartside, and exploring the magic of Shakespeare's language and the rhythm of his words.

This evening, the entire Ohio group -- including Hannah Rockey, Melissa Rulong, Kelly Simmons and Faye Love (below) -- had the opportunity to go to the RSC's Courtyard Theatre for the production of King Lear, a moving performance that tells the story of the King, who, stripped of all status, heads into the wilderness with a madman and a fool for company. Directed by David Farr, Shakespeare's great tragedy peels away the trappings of society to reveal the unforgiving truth of the human condition.


Throughout the week, we’ll be talking with some of the 20 teachers and 10 MFA students who are involved in the second cohort in the OSU / RSC partnership program.

"I've been impressed this week by the extreme care taken of the ensemble and the extreme care taken of the text, of Shakespeare's work. A lot of the ensemble-building exercises -- none without purpose -- lead smoothly to the next teaching moment. My ideas. . . your ideas . . . their ideas are equally valid and incorporated. Every person is equally important in this ensemble. Value is placed on other people's ideas. And, I love getting up and getting active -- it really sparks my interest.

Alison Vasquez, MFA acting student at Ohio State

"I always shied away from Shakespeare because I felt he was very austere and regal. But yesterday, I played the part of the King's drunk knight asleep on his banquet table with his dogs. That's not so stuffy, is it? That 'melted the ice' for me with Shakespeare and now I can 'splash around in the water.'"

Hannah Rockey, MFA acting student at Ohio State. . . and friend

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