One often ascribes, legendary performances by famous actors as realistic and immersive. So the first statement that Dan Rothenberg, the Philadelphia-based director shoots from the hip, “When I got into theatre I wanted to do non-realistic work although the dominant style in American theatre is ‘realism’.
” The famous director whose productions have won the prestigious Off- Broadway Theatre Award and is a teacher at Princeton University along with his own theatre company, Pig Iron, is geared to conduct the Ordinary / Extraordinary workshop in the city.
Thinking actors, directors and drama teachers — and all ideal for a workshop in the same go can be quite mind-boggling. Rothenberg explains, “When I worked with Joe Chaikin, he was interested in ‘the ordinary’: the feeling on stage that nothing is happening but something still invites you in. This brief workshop will offer actors and directors a taste of that state and that style.”
Nudging one to push the envelope of “me, myself and I” acting, Rothenberg says, “The work with the ‘ordinary’ is as much a process of looking at the stage as it is a process of learning to move and sense the forces at work while the actor is on the stage.” The master of physical or experimental acting, then, avers, “In all my teaching, I invite the actors to step aside and look at what the other actors are doing. I don’t believe in ‘losing yourself’ in your performance; I want to work with actors who can adjust their instrument.”
The self-confessed “curious artiste” draws inspiration from all over the world including his training that included French, Polish, and Swedish along with American influences. “More recently I worked with Toshiki Okada, an acclaimed experimental director and writer from Japan. It opened up new vistas for me, new possibilities in performance,” he gushes.
On the same note, he shares, “I hope to do the same for the participants in India. I aim only to invite actors and directors to experience a particular way of seeing ‘what is exciting’ on stage.”
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