A searing and intense two week residency

We spent two weeks at Cornish College of the Arts in October with 12 Students from the college as well as 9 students from the inspiring organization Path With Art (an incredible Seattle organization providing art experiences for people transitioning out of homelessness) in the fifty foot by fifty foot rehearsal room of the Cornish Playhouse.  

Working in the space from 9am to 3am hammering out choreographic details, testing architectural ideas, brainstorming, composing music as well as running workshops with the students, the time was extremely productive and equally exhausting.  Residency time is magical.  More work can get done in a residency week than in an average two months.  Get in the zone and stay there!  Our Path With Art Students blew our minds with their willingness to dive into unknown territory, studying the art of interrogation with us and the mining of truth.  We are trying to find ways that interrogation can be used to discover important human truths.  This group of people ranging in ages from 17 to 75 carry with them such a wealth of wisdom and experience, and their questions and stories and explorations were very moving.  Eventually the Path With Art students became the interrogators in the performance to interview the audience.  During the training process, the Cornish College students were their guinea pigs - and it is difficult to express how moving these conversations were.  Between generations, between people with such vast life experiences, but with the common struggle to discover self, to find their voice and to find their place in a world that often has different plans for them.

 

Predator Songstress research continues

I met with Sarah Lippek and Joshua Kohl on December 7th along with several volunteer subjects at Olson Kundig Architects' offices to continue the process of finding the materials for the anti Heroine series DICTATOR chapter. Sarah Lippek is a private investigator and a lawyer who has joined us for one of these first and early development sessions of the creative process, in which she is helping us to develop techniques of questioning our subjects. She has been extremely generous in meeting and brainstorming some of the trials we are having- She tested me on her techniques :) Joshua was the first one, in her apartment, and I video taped. It was like a confession, I found it uneasy.

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

Ken Rowe, who is taping our session in these photos at Olson Kundig Architects, is a cinematographer helping us create some versions of the images that we would project in the ritual performance for finding the particular look of the each subjects. I have been working with people in this way since June, groups of 25- 30 invited public to 4- 7 fellow local artists invited through facebook to emails, and now half our team, one audience member and Sarah, who I have officially met in one of our work in progress show/parties.

(I have been  flying the drone too for test drives after our videographer Leo played with it for a while and now has passed it over to me.) I have been interviewing social activists and conducting these experiments with my fellow artists.. I started to feel I am really guided into the right direction. Yes, its TOO MUCH ideas and things that don't and should'nt make sense together, as if the different planets I am creating seem like THEY ARE NOT in the same solar system- but I felt a glimpse of possibility that in the near future... IT WOULD :) :D I kind of wanted to cry.

I have met with our Degenerate member Alan Maskin this week to brainstorm further, met with others of the team and my head is a little bit full, but , BUT overwhelmed with joy- after so much feed back from fellow artists and friends - I felt like I found something like a tiny millimeter of gold in this last taping- it feels like a break through ! I want to deeply thank the people who helped all of this to come together.

I wanted to change the expected perspective, but it wasn't until actually doing these experiments that I am starting to feel like I am finding what I am looking for. I am looking forward to 2014 to jump start this very ambitious project.        -Haruko

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

photo: Joe Iano

 Mr. Drone test drive in the park  

 Mr. Drone test drive in the park
 

In rehearsal with Kronos Quartet

(by Joshua)  I have to confess to have been very nervous to go into rehearsal with Kronos playing my music on Friday.  They have been my heroes for decades, and to have them in the room at the service of my score was pretty overwhelming and humbling.  But the nerves went away after about 5 minutes into the three hour rehearsal.  Their generosity, laser focus, clarity, alertness and humility set me immediately to the task of realizing what I had set out to achieve with this piece of music.  With Kronos, not a single second was wasted.  Literally.  David H's intensity made everything move forward so quickly, and the gentle and generous nature of John and Hank was extremely warming - as if they were holding out their hearts. There was nothing extra, just a full dedication to the music in the moment.  Each of them lend such a clear vision and selfless communication to their work.  John said to me at the after party, that at some point they realized that when we (the general we) find ourselves insisting on doing things a particular way - a down bow for example - most of the time, we are stuck to this idea because it is easiest for us.  But that if we make a habit of trying things other peoples way - or the hard way - we discover much more and find even much better ways of doing things.  So I come out of this magnificent experience inspired to bring this perspective of efficiency, generosity, focus and dedication to all of my rehearsals in the future.  Thank you to everyone who came and worked on this project and to everyone who came to witness it.

photos by Bruce Tom

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Gearing up for November 16

Haruko and I (Joshua) are in the studio getting a feeling for the Neptune stage by taping of the little stage size in the dance studio. The score has been revised and the stage is nearly cut in half from the previous version! Kronos Quartet and the singers will take up half of the already shallow Neptune stage depth! So we have to rework the choreography to avoid collisions. It is a challenge with this very athletic piece.

Transient
Transient

Video Shoot "Warrior"

On Sunday we completed a video shoot for "Warrior" from our new work Predator's Songstress with filmmaker Ian Lucero at the gorgeous Triple Door in Seattle. This is the first cinema-like shoot of our work and it has really come out stunning! Can't wait to share this one. Finally a chance for Ian to really take artistic lead and produce a shoot the way he wants (without shooting over audience heads and around venue restrictions). A very exciting next step for us for sure.

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In the studio

We have been working at the Cornish College for the Arts' dance studio for the past month.  This has given us the amazing luxury of time for working on our newest project.  Its in that raw state.  We sometimes don't really know what we are doing.  Following a thread.  Following the seeds that we believe in but don't quite understand.  Yesterday we invited 20 mostly strangers into the studio with us to experiment on some ideas we have been throwing around.  We had an amazing group of people who took a chance and dove into the work with us. 

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DAE In Jönköping, Sweden

DAE Joshua and Haruko here in Jönköping, Sweden to receive the Music Theatre Award from the International Theatre Institute.  We gave our presentation yesterday and have been witnessing some incredible presentations from the other awardees. Marcos Franciosi and Valeria Martinelli's (Argentina) magnificently chaotic work El Gran Teatro De Oklahoma, Kirsten Dehlholm (Denmark) and her breathtaking visual piece War Sum Up inspired by Manga, Oscar Bianchi's Thanks to My Eyes (Italy)with one of the most incredible male counter-tenor singer / actors I have ever seen.  Can't wait for all of the other presentations coming over the next three days!

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Looking to June

We are currently in conversation with Seattle Theatre Group about putting together a work in progress showing of our newest Predator's Songstress chapter at the Moore Theatre / Moore Hotel in June. We had an amazing tour of the catacombs of the theater and the Hotel searching for a location.  What strange and amazing buildings!!! This weekend we are assembling the team for a 6 hour brainstorm session to figure out what this beast actually is.

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