The Collaborative Art


By Lauren Leonard

One of the first courses I had at Temple University as an undergrad studying theatre was called “The Collaborative Art.” It was an introduction into the world of theatre that explained how all the parts and pieces make up a production.

Coming from a high school that had little in the way of formal theatre instruction (we made up for it in enthusiasm), my understanding of the life of a show came mostly from my years of ballet. I knew there was a world behind the wings, but didn’t understand its complexity. Nowhere in my Nutcracker were visions of sound and lighting cues and the people who create and execute them.

It wasn’t until college that I began to understand the challenge and potential of uniting producers, designers, directors, dramaturgs, choreographers, directors, stage managers, technicians, and actors around the goal of giving life to text.

Working collaboratively means the ideas are plenty and the responsibility for cultivating them is shared. It’s a wonderfully freeing and supportive way of working. Collaborating on EBP projects does not just occur in the traditional ways, but also in drafting a script and, as is the case with our Fringe show Mother/Daughter, with other artists on an evolutionary project.

Mother/Daughter is a composite telling of the dynamic relationships between mothers and daughters. It is a continuation of themes of womanhood discussed in our earlier work and perpetuates our belief that greater inclusion leads to richer storytelling and broader audience appeal.

At the Fringe Festival, Mother/Daughter will be presented as a “meaningful draft.” Those seeing the show will be treated to seasoned actors presenting robust characters, but not  a complete, linear story. That story is still being written in collaboration with two other artists: photographer Joanna Nowak and audio-documentarian, Hillary Rea.

Nowak and Rea have signed on to explore the themes of Mother/Daughter in their respective mediums. Their interpretation as well as feedback generated from Fringe shows and information from a survey on our website, will inform a final production to be mounted in February 2019.

Because it will evolve, the piece you see at Fringe may be a distant relative of what you will see in February. And so goes our version of The Collaborative Art.

Lauren LeonardComment