Phoenix Rysing–The Triangle Lab collaborates with RAW Talent

To continue work connecting art with communities, the Triangle Lab has partnered with RAW Talent to produce a month-long workshop series called Phoenix Rysing: A Spoken Word Workshop on Loss, Love, and Healing. Building on themes from Cal Shakes’ production of A Winter’s Tale, the workshop asked Richmond youth age 13–21 to explore how they find healing and forgiveness amid the violent loss in their lives.

See the video of their culminating performance, which is featured on the Path at the Bruns during the run of A Winter’s Tale, in its entirety below:

RAW Talent from David Szlasa on Vimeo.

Spoken word performed by workshop members of RAW Talent, Richmond, CA under the direction of Molly Raynor and Donte Clark.

Two channel video installation created by David Szlasa
Filmed by Jenny Chu and Damari Lawrence

Read more about this collaboration in the program article by Sonya Renee Taylor, Cal Shakes’ Community Participation Coordinator.

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David Szlasa’s Full Balcony Field Notes

David Szlasa’s Full Balcony is a crowd sourced video performance based on Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Cast from online submissions of professional and non-professional actors worldwide, Full Balcony features dozens of Romeos and Juliets remixed into a single video installation exhibited online and at The Bruns. These are his field notes:

Purpose: This experiment is designed to subvert typical casting procedures and offer a wide range of people the opportunity to play two of the most famous characters in all of dramatic literature, by building an ensemble of actors from across the globe to perform in a single, unified video production.

Method: I created a website laying out the submission instructions (with the balcony scene script and Vimeo directions) to interested participants and promoted that website on Craigslist (worldwide), Backstage, and various social media. In addition, I set up a film booth at Intersection for the Arts event, the “Changemaker Social”, where I captured impromptu performances from enthusiasts in attendance.  Finally, I edited all of the submissions into a single two-channel video installation that is available at www.fullbalcony.org and in person at Cal Shakes thru July 2013.  Each performer who submitted online received a $10 stipend and thank you card in the mail.

Analysis: When I set about making Full Balcony, I was working under the assumption that hundreds of people would be interested in submitting their performances simply to be part of this experiment and opportunity to be seen at Cal Shakes this summer.  Unfortunately, I was terribly mistaken.  Each submission required significant hands on maintenance to reassure the performer of the nature of the project and relieve them from the burden of feeling as if they were competing with Hollywood aesthetics.  In the end, I received between 50 and 60 submissions with dozens more that pulled out during the process for various reasons.

Conclusion & Suggestions: In the future, if I were to conduct a crowd sourced performance project again, I would 1. Make the script VERY short with different excerpts given to different participants; 2. Consider using simpler language than Shakespeare; and 3. Design a one-way web portal to accept streaming video submissions without the actor’s ability to replay their performance and have the chance to second-guess their entry.

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David Szlasa’s Full Balcony on the Path

David Szlasa, one of the 10 Artist-Investigators, mounted his piece last week on the path to the Bruns. Full Balcony is a crowd sourced video performance based on Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Cast from online submissions of professional and non-professional actors worldwide, Full Balcony will features dozens of Romeos and Juliets remixed into a single video installation.

Visit the Full Balcony website to see the video streaming.

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