Sept 10-Sept 15

Final Log.

The first week of Telling: Orlando rehearsals was profound and timely. I am always humbled at the courage and truth that the performers share. Their willingness to be vulnerable in the face of telling their stories to hundreds of strangers, is always inspiring. The fact that one of our rehearsals took place on Sept. 11th, just deepened its' resonance. Each story being told in that room is directly connected and impacted by that fateful day.

I hope you attended the Conversation on Sept.12th. It was really quite enlightening and entertaining, and I was proud to up there with such talent acts the boards, representing the theater artist. 

I am so grateful to have had this opportunity given to me by Creative Pinellas, and to be able to share this small slice of "a day in the life' of a freelance theater professional. There are so many out there, doing amazing work, and I am fortunate that I have been recognized so generously for mine.

The monies from this grant provided me with (financial) breathing room, and freedom. 

The  fellowship funds were utilized for travel and lodging (travel back and forth and weekends overnight in Orlando add up!) It subsidized my being able to direct TRU at Studio@620, and to start the ball rolling, and purchase art and other supplies, for A Parkinson's Collective.

Thats all for now. It has been quite a ride, and I hope you've  gotten some pleasure in following this blog, and gained a little more insight into the world of the freelance artist! Thanks for checking.

Lisa

 

Aug 29-Sept 9

Oh Hermine!

Focus was closed on Thursday and Friday, which meant that I had plenty of time to prepare for next week, and our first weekend of rehearsal for Telling: Orlando. Plenty of time to sit with the script, check in with the veteran performers on changes they'd like, and get all travel and lodging accommodations set up for the month (Will be in staying Orlando every weekend thru Oct. 2). Also able to double check all systems go with the Orlando Fringe (which is where we finally landed a rehearsal space), FHC for all updates on media and publicity, and again, little more time to just sit with the script. Luxury! I think I used my Hurricane Days well. Very excited for first rehearsal today, having everyone in the room, and hearing the incredibe tapestry these stories weave. Last minute errands yesterday getting all necessary supplies (including coffee and snacks...VERY important) binders, markers, pencils, etc..... Always challenging to set up shop away from home base.

Looking forward to the Conversation at freeFall on the 12th! Hope to see some friendly faces, and eager to hear  all about projects from the other recipients. See you there?

AUGUST 15-26

SO MUCH HAPPENING.......

Focus Academy has had a fantastic start to the school year. 95 kids with DD/ID are receiving weekly drama therapy. That is a first in the state of Florida, and perhaps in the country! Finding a full time job for a drama therapist is easier in states where drama therapy is a recognized form of psychotherapy, such as New York, New Jersey, and California. So...yay Florida!

 

And the big news........ the script for TELLING: ORLANDO has arrived! Powerful and poignant, I've begun to break down the text, work on the blocking, and gather photos, and music, and other technical elements for performance. I've been working with the veteran performers on gathering biographies and getting ready for media and publicity opportunities. Everyone is excited and eager to begin rehearsals September 9th. 

No doubt September will be a full month, between working full time 8-4 at the school, and commuting on weekends to Orlando, rehearsing for TELLING: ORLANDO.

 

No rest for the weary.

 

August 1-14th

FATE: so, as the god/dess would have it, I have been offered gainful employment. This is always, always a catch-22. I love my free time, my liminal space, the time that most people feel needs to be FILLED with something.  Free time for an artist usual means the time they use to fill, doing whatever it is that they do for art...that hopefully translates into the way they make their living. As a theater artist, I know free time for me means piecing together jobs and projects, and while most people find it unnerving (and believe me, it is) it is also liberating to be able to stitch together a life of artistic endeavors. So I am always anxious when I lend my time and creativity over to full time employment. But this is good, it's within my field of study, drama therapy. I will be the full time drama therapist on staff at Focus Academy in Tampa, a charter high school for children with Development and Intellectual Disabilities. www.focusacademytampa.org. A great organization, that sprung from a drama therapy group, The ACT Project, that I ran with Loretta Gallo Lopez from 2009-2014, and a group of determined parents. SO, while it's good, and provides me with all the trappings...I mean benefits.... of full time employment, I always feel a little sad, as my time for other projects becomes less and less.

However, I will be heading to Orlando every weekend in September to stage Telling:Orlando, and am expecting the script to arrive to my inbox any day now. Always exciting to have the interviews solving translated into script form. 

I am also producing again this year  HA!Man......Francois LeRoux and Joke Debarre. This time for one night only, November 16, so I am feverishly scrambling to get them set up with a poetry workshop and performance in St Pete. Francois is an improvisational cellist from South Africa, and Joke is a spoken word actor from Belgium. Last year they did a house concert, an evening at the Dali, and one at Studio@620. This will be the 3rd year I have brought them to the area.......their talent, insight, and human connectivity is always a much needed breath of  artistic and creative freshness. More on them later!

 

July23-31.

Well---TRU closed July 24. A TRU-ly wonderful production. Saturday and Sunday the audience were swinging from the rafters. I can't help but feel we were just getting our momentum. Another week, and we would have sold out each performance. Such is life. 

Spent the week doing all the customary things one does when closing a show.....making sure the appropriate people are properly thanked, returning all the borrowed items, and focusing on the next project. Which is, of course, TELLING: ORLANDO. In circling back with the theater space, where the performance and rehearsals are happening, come to find out the space that we were to have for rehearsal is no longer available (due to staff changes and vacations at the organization, things apparently fell through the cracks). The week was a mad scramble of back and forth emails, phone calls and inquiries. Luckily, we found an even better space, and begin our rehearsals Sept. 9th. Next week begins the phase of planning and scheduling with the individual performers, which is much like herding cats, but always works out in the end. Patience and planning skills required.

As for A Parkinson's Collective, things have come to a screeching halt. One participant is currently in the hospital, and two are on vacation. Hopefully as we move into August, we can get things back on track. A start up group is always a challenge, and getting folks to be dedicated and consistent takes time. I have faith, though, as there is a need. 

 

Thats all for this week. I will leave a few pics of the closing weekend of TRU.

 

July 11-22

What a whirlwind! TRU is up and running at Studio@620, and has gotten rave reviews. That has occupied most of my time these past 11 days. Elizabeth Brincklow was spotted in the house last week, and I believe we will have another visitor from Creative Pinellas in this weekend! Please don't miss this fantastic show about the fascinating writer Truman Capote! Thru July 24th. Here are the reviews thus far.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/st-petersburg/article/BWW-Review-Mark-Chambers-Impresses-as-Truman-Capote-in-TRU-at-The-Studio-620-20160722

 

http://www.cltampa.com/arts-entertainment/theater/article/20828236/mark-chambers-as-truman-capote-in-tru

 

But please...come out and experience this for yourself!

July 4-10

Started with week with a bang! Couldn't resist. This week continued rehearsals for TRU at Studio@620, layering technical elements, and plotting emotional journey with the actor, Mark Chambers. Friday afternoon was spent in Tampa at the WMNF studio, interviewing on Art In Your Ear. It was great. Here is the link, in case you missed the interview.

www.wmnf.org

The weekend was spent in the dark theater, doing technical rehearsals. Lights, props, set, sound. Pulling it all together. Opening on Thursday, July 14th. We'll be ready.

 

 

On a Telling Project note, on Thursday met with some folks at USFSP Student Veterans Association. They'd like to do a Telling Project on campus! Exciting stuff. We shall see!

June 27-July 3

  • TRU rehearsals Tuesday June 28- Sunday July 3

Great, productive week!

Tuesday, June 28, our first official rehearsal for TRU. As always, it's a balancing act of starting out slowly, but pushing forward, toward that place you hope to arrive. I love theatre, I love (and at times despise) the delicacy of the collaborative process. But what rare treat this week has been. Such a privilege to occupy my time and the creative space with Mark Chambers, a consummate professional, and one who mingles his artistry and craft together with such attention and care. I know it has only been a week, and the time will fly by, but I am savoring every moment in the rehearsal hall with him. 

Set up publicity for Tru. Interviews next week with WMNF, and Creative Loafing. Papering local with posters and cards.

  • Telling: Orlando

Met with Patricia Putman at Florida Humanities Council on Thursday June 30, to discuss contracts for rental spaces in Orlando for the 3 performances at Orlando Shakespeare Theater.  Working with performers schedules to stand approve a rehearsal schedule, so we are able to secure rehearse space at OST.

Setup meetings for future Telling Projects. One meeting set next week with SVA at USFSP, and following up with one in Ft.Myers.

Max Rayneard of Telling Project says all transcribing has been completed, and he has begun working on the script. 

June 20-24

  • Monday-- first production meeting for TRU. As we are working with a low budget, and hence a skeleton production crew, there is much to discuss, and delegate. I am still always surprised how a "simple"set is always harder to achieve than a huge spectacle! It went well, and Studio@620 is always a great place for collaborating. Lining up press and publicity for the actor, Mark Chambers, and confirming rehearsal times and space. First rehearsal is Tuesday the 28th.  Later in the day, the cocktail reception at Studio@620 for the donors was lovely, and everyone is highly energized about this production. 
  • Tuesday--a meeting for A PARKINSON'S COLLECTIVE (APC). Just one group member showed. Summer is always a tricky time, but good ideas came out of it, and a reshaping of the group and it's goals is in the making. Ultimately, we are looking to have an evening of performance/art exhibit/interactive installation sometime late Fall or early 2017. We will be off for a few weeks while I am directing Tru, but am encouraged with the direction the group is headed in, and getting all members in the same room. Probably not until the end of July.
  • Wednesday-- spent the day communicating with the veterans for Telling: Orlando, getting confirmation for their participation (it's never assumed they will continue after interviewing) and getting bios, as well as schedules. It's always tricky to schedule non performers for rehearsals, because they aren't  accustomed to allotting so much time to working on something. I do find if I relate it to boot camp and training, I usually get them on board. I always keep in mind when making the rehearsal schedule, they don't have the stamina (or deep love the craft!) of a professional actor. I keep it to 4 hour blocks. It's going to be tricky, I don't have a stage manager or any production support, and their schedules are varied. I'll be doing a lot of back and forth to Orlando. The bright spot----they all said yes! 
  • Thursday--combed through TRU script-worked on blocking and technical cues. Met with Bob Devin Jones at Studio @620 to discuss APC performance idea. As always, the answer was YES!
  • Friday--spent a few hours in a sound studio doing an audio transcription of a telephone interview from Telling:Orlando for Max and The Telling Project. The interviewee had a thick Florida accent, and Max had a hard time understanding the dialect. I, on the other hand, have a pretty good ear for it, so offered to find someone with a recording studio. I listened on headset, and would then repeat and record. It was more difficult than I anticipated, not just because it was 2 hours, but it is the story of a mother losing her only child to war. Hard to keep it just about recording. 

June 13-17 Orlando

I've been in Orlando the past couple of days, in early preparation for TELLING: ORLANDO. I, along with Max Rayneard of The Telling Project, were scheduled to conduct interviews with local veterans. I selected 8 applicants from the submissions, and in collaboration with Florida Humanities Council and University of Central Florida, arranged to have them on UCF campus, so the interviews could be recorded and added to UCF RICHES program, as well as UCF Community Veterans History Project.

As one can imagine, the interviews are quite intense. They are approximately 2 hours in length, and cover early life and recruitment, boot camp, time served in the military,  and reintegrating back into the civilian population. Of the 8 scheduled, 5 actually showed (not unusual), and 1 of those ended up being a phone interview, as the interviewee had injured a knee, and was unable to make it to campus.

This particular round of interviews was tinged with the residue of the very recent massacre at Pulse Nightclub, that had taken place not far from where we were. A sadness permeated the process, which inherently already has an air of tension and trauma. Listening to the UCF staff discuss the tragedy, I was taken back to my own experience living in Manhattan on September 11th, and the strange quality that life took on, in the days that followed. I also wondered how the veterans we were interviewing were impacted. Some I asked, some I didn't. But I was aware of the sharp contrast of once being a soldier, to now being a civilian, in what, for all intents and purposes, was an attack on our citizens. 

Now,  I will follow up with the interviewees, thank them once again for their continued service, and make sure they are up for the month long rehearsal  and performance commitment in September. If they are not, it is totally understandable, and we hope another veteran will be available to be interviewed to fill the spot.  Max does the Herculean job of transcribing the interviews and creating the verbatim script for performance. We  will work together on shaping the script into what we think will tell the veteran's and family member's stories well, and what will serve the performance.  

I am ...looking forward?.....to working on this, with all of the complications and implications that the recent tragedy imbues on the process.

 

It so happens I will be working on a couple of other projects simultaneously. One is a directing a production of Tru, a one man show about Truman Capote. It opens July 14 at the Studio @620. Production meetings start next week, and rehearsals start the 28th. If you'd like to come see what that's all about, feel free to come to our reception to meet the Mark Chambers (Tru)  on Monday the 20th, 5-7pm  at Studio@620.

 

A Parkinson's Collective is slowly gaining momentum. I am working closely with 3 local residents who've been diagnosed with PD, to get the group running and meeting regularly. We've had one successful gathering so far, but summer is proving to be a difficult time to get everyone in the room together! In the meantime, I am working with the folks at American Parkinson's Disease Association (ADPA), Florida chapter, on getting a flyer up and word out to the greater community. The ADPA endorsement will  help a great deal.

Lisa Powers Tricomi

Lisa Powers Tricomi is a drama therapist, educator, and theatre professional, with over 25 years of experience. Combining her extensive background in theatre performance, production, and direction, along with expertise in the field of drama therapy, she offers a unique form of engagement with group participants, performers and audience. Whatever the select group, from veteran population, to adults and children diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, to people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, her goal is to engage people in order to improve their lives through self expression, by listening to them, opening them thru expressive arts, and helping them to find and tell their stories.   

Over the next several months, Lisa will be working on 2 projects. Telling: Orlando is a project designed to bridge the widening gap between the veteran and civilian populations, through performance. In collaboration with the nationally acclaimed Telling Project, and the Florida Humanities Council, follow Lisa through the process of working with local veterans and family members, to stage and perform their stories of service. From recruitment through the interview process, from pre production to rehearsals in September, get a week by week picture of what goes into creating a performance piece, using non performers, from ground zero.

A Parkinson’s Collective is a nascent artistic community, designed specifically for people diagnosed with PD and their caregivers. It is not the goal of the group to teach techniques of how to deal with Parkinson’s, as a support group. Rather, the goal is to provide a venue and opportunity for self expression through art ( performance, dance, visual art, music, and writing). An holistic approach of mind, body and spirit, to both the arts and PD, that is accessible, fun and life affirming. As a result, participants will experience a large spectrum of benefits, including being a part of an artistic community, and building that community with a shared purpose, thus creating less isolation. Follow the emergence and blossoming of this group and its participants, and deepen your understanding of the power of self expression through the creative arts.