Lush Valley March Workshop: Wednesday 3/16 by kristinmarting
March 21, 2011, 2:12 pm
Filed under: American Dream, Events, Research

Today we began by finishing up the officers “TED talks” from Tuesday.  There were some very funny and inspiring, speeches that gave us all a lot of insight into the inner lives of the characters.   Some examples of the officers proposals: a website for the bartering of volunteer services, improving the world by simple tinkering, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and a 1,001 night festival of art and culture led by Iranian women as a way to honor the complex identity of the modern Muslim woman.

After three days of investigating the first three phases of Jim Cullen’s The American Dream, we decided to shift from dream research to character research.  We found that the Cullen research and exercises were engaging and rich, and yet not generating the scenes that we want to add to the show.  So, for the next three days, we are focusing on building scenes that involve the officers but also bring out the phases of the American Dream outlined in Cullen’s book. For example, a water cooler conversation between Jason and Kim could easily and actively bring up religious freedom, allowing the audience to engage in an important tenet of Lush Valley while also learning more about the characters and their relationships.

We are very excited to discover this form, to build on the original structure with a more modern and personal approach to imparting valuable information about the world of Lush Valley to the audience.  We believe that by keeping our audiences engaged in the world of the Lush Valley officers, we will be able to introduce them to Lush Valley in a much more organic way.

We worked on several character-based exercises today that brought out some key issues of our Jim Cullen research. The first exercise paired two Lush Valley officers together in an awkward lunchroom situation in which they discussed a contentious topic that their characters might not agree on.  The second exercise involved “water cooler talk” in which characters exited and entered while officer Georgie Rutherford tried to get them to sponsor her in an AIDS dance-a-thon.   The last exercise that we explored was an office meeting in which officer Angela Cohen proposed an office book club; each officer had to propose and vote for the list of books that they would read.  It brought up some very interesting moments in which characters had to confront topics that they might not fully agree on.


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