Lush Valley March Workshop: Saturday 3/19 by kristinmarting
March 28, 2011, 3:09 pm
Filed under: American Dream, Events, Research

We started off the day watching the cafe scene from Casablanca (when the Marseilles and the Germans sing against each other) to gather inspiration to sing our own Lush Valley anthem. We handed out lyrics to “Magic Penny” and “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”, split the officers into two groups (each assigned a different song) and tried our own Lush Valley sing off. We then looked at Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds”, starting as a group and later breaking it into smaller sections.

We integrated this into a fantasy scene for one of the officers— finding a natural way to go from working within the office to singing Elvis’s song as commentary on the day-to-day stresses of working in the Lush Valley Department of Immigration.

We’re hoping to make this exercise available as an audience participation moment, having everyone in the room sing along with us, as well as finding other moments inside the piece where the audience is privy to conversations they shouldn’t be hearing. We’re trying to discover the logic for the participation device.

Going along with this, we’re trying to unlock the characters’ impulses in order to find places we can reveal secrets, private moments, or fantasies about the characters. Each performer was asked to write what their characters’ idea of the American Dream is and what the cost of that dream might be.

After some discussion, we broke into groups of three, one supervisor, one entry-level officer to conduct an interview, and one higher-level officer to act as the interviewee. It was helpful to see the supervisors working in the moment, giving quick tips to entry-level officers on how to conduct their interviews.

Next, we did an exercise to find what the first moment of the morning was for each officer, and then exploring their first moment after arriving at the office. After creating a few of these moments, we put everyone in the same room at a welcome party for newbie officer Georgie Rutherford.

These improvisational exercises were an excellent ending to the workshop.  We found several ways to resolve office conflicts, as well as positive moments of working together within the group. We discovered a lot of character behavior, inter-personal dynamics in the office and ways in which the audience can connect with our Lush Valley officers.



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