April 2, 2014, by
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Theatre Homework

by Rob Kempson

The process of working on #legacy has been unique, both from my work as an artist, but also from my work as an artist-educator in community or school settings. As an artist (and primarily a writer), I often work alone: toiling away for hours on my own before I ever show a piece to someone else for collaboration and feedback. As an artist-educator, everyone is out in the open, as I work with participants to create the final piece from their raw material.

#legacy has become a hybrid model of the two–where I’m using the raw material created by my co-creators (Joan, Judith, and Donna) to create the script with the support of dramaturg Samantha Serles and the design integration of Beth Kates. Next week, I’ll be adding Isabelle Ly into the mix as our fearless Stage Manager. In short, it’s been a real exercise in collaboration. In many ways, I feel as though I’m receiving so much information from so many sources, and my job is to corral it into something that resembles a digestible piece of theatre.

However, a great deal of the process has been conversations followed by homework. Then we get together again, eat some cheese, have more conversations followed by homework. Repeat. Add devilled eggs (seriously), tea, video, more conversation, and roasted almonds. And cake. Seriously, we are very well fed at our rehearsals.

The homework that I have assigned has provided me with a wealth of material–interesting articles, stories, reflections, songs, recipes, letters, and ideas. Many of them are included in the make up of the presentation that we are creating together. Many more have been delightful for me to read, but didn’t make the final cut (as it were). Either way, I thought that I might use this blog post to share some of the amazing stuff that’s come into my inbox.

May You Always – The McGuire Sisters

Joan shared this piece as a part of our fundraising tea, but it’s also made its way into the script. It’s become one of my new favourites… largely due to the sweeping string section:

Legacy Park

Legacy

Donna spent a little over a month in Florida, and sent us some amazing photos and tweets during that time. One of my favourites was her reflection on “Legacy Park”, a housing development in Davenport, Florida.

She wrote: “Right now we are frittering away some time in Florida, a little retirement experiment that we thought we should try. The next development up the road from us is called Legacy Park.  Coincidence?  I see it almost everyday. Here it is, a suburban housing development on a field that very recently was either a pine forest or an orange grove, very un-treed and nothing to make one think of a legacy at all.”

Judith’s iPhone Interaction

Judith told this story of tweeting in public:

I was sitting in a public waiting area sending a tweet.  A man, several years younger than me, leaned across and commented on how adept I seemed to be on my iPhone.  He had an old fashioned cell phone. I commented that My iPhone was like gold dust to me.  He asked if I was sending an email.  I said no, I was on twitter sending a tweet.

“You know how to use twitter!” he said aghast   “Why would you want to do that?”  I said I had no choice because I was involved in a project that required it.  He said, “I am so impressed. I wouldn’t have a clue.  You are the first older person I have ever met who knew anything about twitter.  Good luck to you.”

Mom’s Christmas Salad

Joan also sent in her mom’s recipe for Christmas Salad–a jello salad that is simply packed with sugar, but also incredibly delicious. There is some video footage of Joan making this salad in the show, and we got to taste the spoils of her work after the fundraising tea.

First Layer

One 3 oz package Lime Jello

1 cup hot water

1 cup cold water

1 cup crushed pineapple, well-drained. (Reserve juice for second part.)

Dissolve Jello powder in hot water. Add a few drops of green food colouring to deepen the colour. Add cold water. Chill until partially set. Add pineapple. Pour into the bottom of a deep jelly mould.

JelloSecond Layer

One 3 oz package Lemon Jello

1 cup hot water

1 cup pineapple juice

One 8 oz package cream cheese

½ pint whipping cream, whipped

Dissolve Jello powder in hot water. Add cold water. Chill until partially set. Soften cream cheese and beat. When jello is partially set, beat cream cheese and jello together. Fold in whipped cream. Pour gently into mould on top of first layer.

Third Layer

One 3 oz strawberry or raspberry Jello

1 cup hot water

1 scant cup cold water

Dissolve Jello powder in hot water. Add cold water. Chill until partially set. Pour gently on top of second layer. Chill the whole thing until firm. Turn out onto a large plate. Cut into wedges, or large spoonfuls.

Notes:  Serves 12-16. This is beautiful at Christmas time, but tasty anytime.

So even though it’s “homework”, it doesn’t seem much like work when this is the kind of stuff you have to work with. I’m really looking forward to putting it all together next week.

Follow me on twitter here.

Tickets and info for the April 12 Public Presentation here.

 

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