Incite/Insight Winter 2019 FINAL Incite Insight Winter 2019 - Page 16

16 I n c i t e /I ns i ght W i n te r 20 1 9 “What Do I Call Myself?” Blurring Roles, Sharing Responsibility, and Expanding Possibilities Through Collaborative Theatremaking in TYA WR ITTEN BY  JADA CADENA, LINA CHAMBERS, SAM PROVENZANO, ALLY TUFENKJIAN, AND KRISTON WOODREAUX I n April 2018, five theatremakers put on a play: This Girl Laughs, This Girls Cries, This Girl Does Nothing by Finegan Kruckemeyer. From the start, we knew we loved this play and felt in our bones that we had to produce it some way or somehow before we split ways from the University of Texas at Austin. The trick was—we wanted to produce this play in the same way that we might if we were devising it from scratch. Kruckemeyer’s play is written with a poetic storytelling style wherein characters move between the present and the past, narrating action of each scene, and often directly addressing the audience. We felt that as an ensemble, we not only perform, but also direct, design, and market ourselves. Within our rehearsal and performance process, we found the difficult, joy-filled, and eye- opening experience of working as a collaborative ensemble: all as leaders, all as followers, all serving this story. To reflect on our collaborative process, we asked each other the following questions in this interview. We were excited to share ownership and agency of the writing process just as we had with the devising process, honoring our ways of working in the rehearsal room and the lineage of collaborative writing from past practitioners. What was your role in this project? Sam Provenzano: How is this both an easy and impossible question to answer? When I walk into the rehearsal room each day, I know what my role is: to have an eye on and in the play, know my lines, imagine what the best version of the moments are, try to accomplish those, listen to my colleagues, consider their feelings while also considering the story, offer ideas, know when to stop talking. So a role? Maybe dir-actor-turg? Or just theatre- maker? Kriston Woodreaux: We found our roles as the project evolved. For example, I design marketing materials for every production I work on as a way to keep my graphic designing tool sharpened. I happened to share them with the team and before I knew it, we were ordering posters of those designs and laser printing shadow puppets. Everything we had in our tool belts went into this production. Jada Cadena: I was hired to do a very particular job: create music for the show. I decided to call myself an integrated sound designer because the music for this show was both live and pre-recorded audio tracks, with both digital and natural foley sound effects. My role transcended “musician” as I became an outside eye in the rehearsal room and helped my ensemble members navigate the collaboration process. Lina Chambers: I play the role of Beatrix so I am an actor in the show, but I also contributed directorial insight. If someone were to look at every moment of the show with a dramaturgical microscope, my thumbprint would be over many of the performance choices, the aesthetic design and even logistical emails back and forth. However, all of my collaborators had just as much input on those areas. The process was a stop- and-start-and-rewind-and- try-and-try-again dance that each of us moved through with different amounts of ease or difficulty depending on the day. Ally Tufenkjian: Defined roles can certainly be helpful in making sure that labor is distributed fairly and that expectations are clear. But at the same time, I wonder how they limit us. What I find noteworthy is that this process has asked us to both define and redefine ourselves based on what we did as opposed to what we were called.