An Independent Day School for Grades 6-12

Learning Theater Technique from Distinguished Visitor

10th grade English studentshad a special Zoom Q&A session with Greg Pierotti, one of the authors and original cast members of The Laramie Project, thanks to the wonderful connections of MS English teacher, Tom Diggs. 

Greg Pierotti spoke to the 10th graders, who read The Laramie Project over the summer, about the interviewing process and theater practices of The Tectonic Theater Project. He emphasized the importance of gaining people's trust by listening generously thereby allowing people to find deeper levels of expression--which often ultimately resembled poetry. 

He explained how the Tectonic Theater Project's post-modern technique titled "Moment Work," is put into practice. The is a commitment to de-centering text, focusing on other elements such as gesture and light, and creating a series of moments. Once several moments have been created, they look for an "Organizing Principle," or a question the play is seeking to answer, that will become the lens through which they edit their moments.

The Brechtian "Alienation Effect" is central to this method of creating theater as it prioritizes story over mimicry or realism, and aims to remind you that you are watching a play and none of it is real. They believe this lack of immersion in the story inhibits any emotional catharsis and leads to dissatisfaction. Being unable to reach catharsis in the theater, they believe, audience members will be inspired to take political action and find catharsis in the real world rather than the imaginary world of the play. 

He was struck by the high level of thoughtful inquiry our students brought to thinking about this process and text. As always, the English Department was proud to share Crystal students with this distinguished guest.
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