Artist Gym is a creation and creativity workshop that allows participants to explore a theme through an artistic lens in a supportive environment. This workshop will be co-facilitated by graduate students Sarah Plotkin and Arlen Hancock, and undergraduate student Aurora Hannisian. It is co-sponsored by TEGA and Kidding Around.
For this Gym we’ll be exploring the theme of “Weight.” What weighs us down and how do those weights define us? When do we find empowerment and strength in the weight we feel? How can we break through what weighs us down to connect and grow with one another? In this workshop we’ll use theater, movement and writing exercises to explore these questions as a community.
Artist Gym is about bringing people together to create and generate work without the pressure to show a final product outside of the workshop. Facilitators will lead participants through a series of exercises that allow us to play, collaborate, and develop our skills as artists. Through this work we hope to ignite and enrich our creative practices as individuals and as a community!
All Emerson College community members are welcome, no prior devising experience necessary. RSVP here:
I'm bringing Artist Gym to Boston! All Emerson community members are welcome. Find us on Facebook or RSVP through the google form to reserve your spot on Saturday, April 6th!
Friday, May 25 at 7pm
Saturday, May 26 at 2pm
Tuesday, May 29 at 7pm
Molting is about shedding one’s skin and confronting one’s memories. The character illustrates the liminal space she embodies by using her own physical body and her molded body parts to explore the feeling of in-between-ness and the process of accepting herself. This piece is strongly influenced by the powerful women in the performer's family who have taught her to stand strong on her own two feet both in Japan and America.
Performer and Creator: Leah Ogawa
Director: Sarah Plotkin
Dramaturg: Sarah Machiko Haber
Sound Designer: Jess Hart
Musician: Joshua Marcks
Assistant builder: Neda Kazemifar
OBJECT MOVEMENT is a curated festival and developmental residency for puppeteers and object theater artists. The purpose of the program is to develop new work and advance existing works-in-progress that address social, political, ethical, and/or philosophical questions through puppetry and object theater, culminating in a festival of performances.
In a Victorian opium den, Willow sacrifices her life to pay off her father’s debt by working as a prostitute in an occult society called "The Cave." In this musical exploration of fairy tales, sacrifice, and spiritualism, Willow fights to find light not only in the grim and strange shadow-world around her, but also within herself.
“The Cave: A Folk Opera” is an award winning musical theatre piece inspired by the classic “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale and told entirely through original folk music. Blending concert-style performances with shadow puppets and lyrical choreography, “The Cave: A Folk Opera” is sexy, enchanting, and examines how far we go for the people we love. This dark interpretation of a beloved tale is not your childhood “Beauty and the Beast.”
May 17th, 18th, 19th, & 20th
Access Theater | 380 Broadway, NYC
Composed by Melanie Rose Thomas
Directed by Sarah Plotkin
Choreographed by Jenisa de Castro
Music Directed by Suzanne Karpinski
I am excited to be directing The Cave: A Folk Opera, written by Melanie Rose Thomas, this spring! We are holding auditions for the following parts in mid-January:
THE MASTER: Lead, Male, 30s, Baritone/Bass. The self-proclaimed “Master” of The Cave. He takes advantage of those in need by bargaining for their eternal servitude in his underground occult society. As with the archetype of “The Beast,” his self-loathing manifests in cruelty towards others. However, when Willow arrives in The Cave, his thoughts and actions begin to change, ultimately leading to his redemption.
ONDINE/LEILA: Supporting, Female, Late 20s, Alto. Ondine, sister to Willow, loses patience with her opium-addicted father and decides to start anew. Leila lives in The Cave, and is The Master’s lover. She came to The Cave by choice. Dark, Fiery, and Seductive.
THE FATHER: Supporting, Male, 50s-60s, Any vocal range. A loving father to 3 daughters, a ship merchant. After the loss of his wife, The Father tries to escape his pain in the opium den, which ultimately leads to his demise.
MUSICIANS: Seeking Piano, Guitar, and Cello. Folk instruments such as Mandolin, Harp, etc. also welcome to apply. Multi-instrumentalists strongly encouraged.
Full casting notice and information about how to apply can be found here:
In support of Electric Eye Ensemble's online auction I've donated a monologue coaching session. My normal rate is $80, but the starting bid in the auction is $35, so this is a great deal. The auction ends Monday, November 20th!
Learn more here! https://www.32auctions.com/EarthriseAuction
Other items I'm excited about are: 3" tatoo, Headshots, Studio time with a Sound Engineer, and Tickets to Manhattan Theater Club.
We're showing Earthrise again at the Dixon Place puppetry festival Puppet BloK, and to raise money to pay our collaborators, we're having a party!
Earthrise Party: Saturday, October 14th 7pm
More info and tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/earthrise-party-tickets-38066525001?aff=efbeventtix
Earthrise Performance: Wednesday, October 18th 7:30pm
More info and tickets: http://dixonplace.org/performances/no-1-chinese-plus-as-fast-or-faster-plus-the-healing-shipment-prologue-plus-earthrise/
On Christmas Eve 1968 the astronauts of Apollo 8 took a picture of the Earth and changed the world. It gave humanity a new perspective on our planet’s fragility and isolation in the universe. But now, 49 years later, the image of Earthrise is unimpressive. Using puppetry, movement and design elements, this piece seeks to reawaken the sense of wonderment and hope that the photo initially inspired.
Ensemble: Leah Ogawa, Evelyn Dumont, Renata Soares
Director: Sarah Plotkin
Puppet Builder and Puppetry Supervisor: Andrew Murdock
Sound Design by: Joshua Langman and C. Swan-Streepy
Movement Supervisor: Julia Corrigan
This past summer was incredibly busy and productive, but it wasn't one in which I got to show a lot of work. Instead my team and I hunkered down to collaboratively revise Welcome to the Doll Den, the devised musical we've been working on for the last year and a half. It was a unique way of working that was new to all of us, and ended up being a wonderful and thought provoking experience.
Here's how it worked: We got together as a group once a week to work on different aspects of the piece. This meant actors, designers, writers - everybody. Sometimes there were more people available to meet and sometimes there were less, but always we had a sense of community and a shared goal - we were working together to make this the best script it could possibly be.
We called these our Collaboration Meetings ("Collab Meetings" for short), and they focused on topics such as Memphis Speech Patterns, Civil Rights, Character Development, and of course Music. They were an opportunity for us to crowd source the intense amount of research and work that had to go into the development of the show, and support one another in making new discoveries.
By the end of the process we came out with a full-length show complete with 6 new songs, which we presented at a reading in late August. The collaborative revision process had a huge effect on what we presented and it is a way of creating that I will carry forward with me in all of my future work. If you'd like to read some blog posts from other people on the team about this unique collaboration process you can check out the Welcome to the Doll Den Blog.
Based on the great feedback we got at the reading we are now entering another round of revisions in preparation for a major production in the spring. To get updates about that and all of my work with Electric Eye Ensemble, join our mailing list!
Every year Sarah Lawrence College, where I went for undergrad, has an event showcasing the work of their alumni at Dixon Place in NYC. There's free food, cheap drinks, and a lot of really great work. This year I'll be showing a short segment of a piece I'm working on with Electric Eye Ensemble called Earthrise. On Christmas Eve 1968 the astronauts of the Apollo 8 mission took a picture of the earth, dubbed "Earthrise,” that changed the world. This piece is a short segment of a longer play that examines the implications of Earthrise on the environmental movement and the world.
The event is Sunday, May 14th at 7:00pm. More info here: