For the last two months I have been taking the Intro to Too Much Light class with the Neo-Futurists. TMLMTBGB was my first taste of Chicago theatre when I came to the city for the first time in 2012. Since then it has remained one of my favorite weekend events and a model of truthful, exciting performance. I have wanted to take the class for many months but balancing a rehearsal process and extra-curricular work is always hard. I am so glad the dates worked out in my favor this time.
The class, led by Aristic Director Bilal Dardai and Ensemble Member Malic White, has been everything I expected and more. Each week we are instructed about a specific form of play, and come in the next week having tried our hand at creating one. We then show and critique our work to get a handful of polished plays we can pitch at the end of the process for our showing that is open to the community.
Which brings me to... our showing! My classmates and I will be doing our own TML-style show! We will be attempting to perform 20 plays in 40 minutes. Come join us at 3:00pm at the Neo-Futurarium to celebrate our work. The show is completely free so you won't want to miss it.
Follow the facebook event for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/870347153034603/
I have been taking the Beginning Level of Aerial Arts training at the Actor's Gymnasium in Evanston, Chicago. These classes have been a mental and physical struggle. This summer I wanted to work on expanding my physical range. Partly due to a years-long neck and back issue, and partly a loss of habit with exercise to make time for my studies, I feel as though Movement classes and physical work are my weakest disciplines, despite an intense interest in the physical theatre genre. I wanted to push my body outside its comfort zone, push to the limits of my flexibility and strength. The Actor's Gym program has been a wonderful facilitator for that process. Here are some mildly embarrassing photos for a "before" capture.
I also had the privilege of ushering for the Summer Intensive sections, and seeing both ensembles perform. The evenings were breathtaking, funny, and had me on the edge of my seat. I am hoping that this training will not only allow me to add to my special skills, but will get me excited and passionate about my body and physical capabilities.
This July The Theatre School hosted the Latina/o Theatre Commons (LTC) Carnaval: a festival of new Latina/o playwrights. Online platform HowlRound helped to produce. It was such an honor to be part of a school that provided a temporary home for hundreds of theatre artists to come together and celebrate these 12 new plays.
See an article in American Theatre that includes an interview with Lisa Portes, TTS faculty member.
As a volunteer for this event, the highlight of my experience was reading stage directions for Matthew Paul Olmos's new play, the living'life of the daughter Mira: a brave script with a new perspective on teen pregnancy. Lazaro completes a transformation to adulthood and responsibility in order to care for his newborn daughter Mira. Through poetry, comedy, and tension, the characters surrounding baby Mira voice their opinions about what is best for her, although the ephemeral and ghost-like Mira character is watching them all. The special bond between unborn Mira and Lazaro at the beginning of the play is touching and honest and charmingly important for young men to watch. (Also snaps to strong female characters and a script that passes the Bechdel Test.) It was an honor to work with such a warm and talented group of people: (left to right) Charin Alvarez, myself, Miguel Nunez, Wesley Toledo, Isabel Quintero, and Andrea Morales.
Meeting theatre artists within Chicago and from all over the country renews one's sense of community. This diverse group of theatre makers had a lot to say and teach each other which I got to witness through the readings themselves, organized Cafécitos for discussion, and evening events with performances.
Another remarkable feature of the event was receiving a USB drive with 60 new plays all written by featured Latina/o playwrights. I am excited to delve into these scripts over the next few weeks and become more educated about a writing community that is claiming its rightful place in our theatre world.
Did you attend LTC Carnaval? What was your favorite part?
About this blog
A place to post updates about what I am involved in as well as my experience navigating the Chicago theatre community.
Claire Allegra Taylor is a cultivator, investigator, and questioner of human relationships. She firmly believes that humans can always do better, be it in our treatment of the ones we love, our desire to fix epidemic social problems, or our care for our environment. Claire wants to use theatre as a means to show how this is possible. She would like to create work that is vibrant in its language and physical capacity that challenges a modern audience’s expectations.