Action Theater: Wild Mind & Responsive Body

with Carolyn (Shakti) Sadeh & Cassie Tunick

February 5, 2016 - 5:00pm - February 7, 2016 - 3:00pm

Embodied experience opens a vast world of awareness in the present moment. Action Theater introduces essential principles of improvisation rooted in sensation, listening, and deep curiosity. Listen, say yes to what’s offered, take the lead, don’t take the lead, commit, leave. Be alert, generous, and agile. Combine ordinary physicality with a heightened awareness, find new resources of wild-minded response, play whole-heartedly. In this workshop, we will incorporate expressive vocabularies of movement, vocalization, and speech. We will explore solo and ensemble scores, simplicity in action, and artful spontaneous composition. We will learn to connect with a partner while remaining grounded in our own experience, dance inside of language, and reconnect with our own musicality. This workshop is appropriate for any level and no previous theater/movement training is required.

Photo credit: Ryan Jensen

Tuition, Room & Board (tiered for accessibility)

Professional: $350
Full:                $300
Subsidized:   $250



Work Study
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Background of Action Theater

Action Theater is an improvisational physical theater training and performance method created by Ruth Zaporah. The practice of Action Theater incorporates the disciplined exploration of embodied exercises that lead to increased skills of strong, clear, spontaneous, and artful communication. Action Theater addresses and expands the vocabularies of expression including: movement, vocalization, and speech. Action Theater is a tool to examines one's perceptive and responsive process, bringing awareness to and thereby disempowering distracting thoughts of self obsessions, fears, judgments and analysis. The exercises of Action Theater isolate the components of action - time, space, shape and energy -- so they can be examined, experienced, and altered in order to expand the expressive palette. Students increase their ability to hold and express emotion, dance with their own poetry and recover lost personal material. Composition, listening and relationship are deconstructed to be reassembled with greater awareness. Acting from a sense of play, students are encouraged to venture into transpersonal realms, accessing intelligence more encompassing and boundless than their personal experience. Awareness and play are fundamental to the practice, as both are portals to spontaneous imagination. Within this orientation, the student is no longer bound by the conventional interpretations of reality. They are free to roam throughout the grand spectrum of possibilities, discovering who they are in the moment. Every exercise acts as a mirror, reflecting back to the student their patterns and flights of freedom. Action Theater is also a performance method, although many of the practitioners come from other performance forms or walks of life. Fundamental to the practice of Action Theater is an embodied presence in performance, where the experiencing of the body informs the content of the moment, moment by moment. For example: how the hand, experiencing the hand, reaching for the glass is as important as reaching for the glass in order to drink from it. Intention is created simultaneously with action in the moment of performance. This awareness in action invites the possibilities of freshness intrinsic to improvisational performance. The Action Theater method offers a map, a way to proceed. The trainings are appropriate for the novice, the explorer and the professional.

Carolyn (Shakti) Sadeh & Cassie Tunick
Carolyn (Shakti) Sadeh has been teaching Authentic Movement, Action Theater, and yoga for over 30 years. She is an improvisor by nature whether in the studio, the classroom, the kitchen, or the garden. These past 8 years she has been immersed in the world of ESL, teaching immigrant and refugee adults English. Shakti re-entered the world of performance 3 summers ago with a Pina Baush-inspired piece directed by Sheryl Stoodley and Toby Bercovici. The following summer the ensemble, made up of some new members, brought the show to Brooklyn. A year ago Shakti created a one-woman-show called "Offering it Up" directed by Toby Bercovici. She has been touring the show in Massachusetts and around the country. She and Cassie have been on the floor together over the past twenty years practicing Action Theater and are so delighted to be teaching together.

Cassie Tunick is a performer, writer, collaborator, and teacher. Her physical theater works and improvisations have played out on stages across the U.S. as well as in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Estonia. Theatrical collaborators include Shinichi Iova-Koga (Butoh), Reflex Ensemble (experimental music), David Finkelstein (video), Katie Yates (poetry), and Abby Bender (dance). Currently she performs in the company Second Nature, with Heather Harpham and Danny Tunick. In New York her work has been produced by Triskelion Arts, Danspace, Brooklyn Museum, Irondale Center, Ontological Theater, and Roulette. Totally Other, a new show, goes up at The Yard in July 2015. She is a Senior Teacher of Ruth Zaporah’s Action Theater, devoting herself to the practice and development of improvisation for the last 25 years. Her ongoing fascination with the nature of being began with dance and continues within the daily body, as a vehicle for the mind to express itself visibly.

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