discover what this show looks/feels like) and in those few days we learned so much about the possibilities of this production. We did a lot of group improvisation and through that I got a sense of how people moved as individuals, as a team, etc. We played a lot! We also frequently dialogued with the actors, picking their brains to see if they had any ideas and always checking in to see how things felt. Though I trust my instincts, as a movement director it’s essential that I know how the actors feel. If something looks right to me but feels awkward or strange to the movers it’s worth knowing why. ASC: How do you work with directors, designers, and actors? What is your role in the rehearsal room? Stephanie: It can be tricky when you have lots of “captains” (other directors, etc) in the room, but for me it’s important to have confidence in what I bring to the table. Yet, I must also be open to other ideas. You can’t walk into a rehearsal room believing it’s your way or the highway because you then lose the opportunity to have new discoveries and be inspired by others. My job is to have a vision for the movement of this play while also being open to collaboration. That’s what being on a team is all about.
Latinos and Chicago Today The foreign-born population in the United States has tripled in the last four decades, and is currently 12% of the total American populace. This increase in immigration, significantly from Latin and South American countries, can be seen in Chicago with its approximately 28.9% Hispanic population. This strong Hispanic influence can especially be seen in the following Chicago neighborhoods: Humboldt Park (with a large Puerto Rican population); Pilsen, Little Village, and Back of the Yards (with a large Mexican population).
Workshop participants present their devised choreography. ASC: Do you work with the sound designer to decide on the musical world of the play, or are those decisions made by the director? Stephanie: Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer), Tom Arvetis (Director) and I very quickly established a feeling of trust and respect for each but since the music relates to everything (movement, acting, etc) it’s other. It’s interesting because all three of us have crossed over into for us to work as a team. each other’s fields at one point in our careers. For example, Mikhail Magicalnecessary Realism has experience in dance choreography and Tom is both a musician Magical realism is a style of writing that combines detailed ASC: What was reality the casting Did you use movement and sound designer. I direct my own multi disciplinary music/dance descriptions of objective with process suddenlike? and often casual company and am also a musician. Ultimately, as Sound Designer, and choreography to audition actors? supernatural occurrences. Magical realism is not simply Mikhail will have the biggest hand in determining the musical world Stephanie: We used the 3 day workshop as a callback and explored fantasy writing because it is as grounded in improvisation a recognizable such things movement (withworld and without with modern conveniences rather than a technique, world withvocal different themes), body percussion scatting, and exploration of magical magical rules. Themovement term wascreation first introduced by a German artmoments in the play. Most of what we did was framed as popularized by Central and Southan exploration Actors collaborate on an improvised movement piece. critic, but was eventually versus an audition. We really just wanted to play together American writers and is oftenasseen as a brainchild ofauditioning the oral actors. and engage people… not directors tradition and storytelling to that Magical Through native the process we area. were of course able to determine skill sets and make casting decisions based on what the realism writers include Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Isabel Allende, and Joseshow Luis needed Borges.but we wanted it to be a process founded in the development of ensemble (not competition!).
ASC: What images and themes do you hope audiences will leave the show with? Stephanie: These stories all feature young people with strength and purpose. I hope our young audiences are able to take a piece of what they see, reflect on who they are and know that they too can create their own magic. ASC: What advice do you have
--El Cadejo – In Salvadorean, Costa Rican, and southern Mexican folklore, el cadejofor is aspiring young actors, either a black or white large dog with red eyes and goat’s hooves that follows travelers dancers, and choreographers? at night. The white cadejo protects and guides, whereas the black cadejo brings death. Stephanie: Keep a journal and down your ideas/stories/ Sometimes El Cadejo is portrayed dragging a chain, because its name derives fromjot the adventures. It’s great to have Spanish word for chain. a place where you can express
--El Chupacabra – El chupacabra is well-known in Puerto Rican and South Americanyourself without fear of being judged, etc. culture as a bear-like creature with spines on its back that sucks the Take dance, music or acting classes blood from goats and other livestock. The Bigfoot or Yeti of Latino if you can. If not, create on your culture, its myth is so widespread that is has appeared in modern own! Get a group of friends American entertainment on television shows such as “The X Files.” together and make dances or put --El Coqui – While this creature is not imaginary, its mystery has puzzled locals and scientists for years. This species of frog is found only in Puerto Rico, and is known for its beautiful singing. The name “coqui” comes from what the male frogs often sing in the evening, which sounds like “Ko-kee.” The myth states that when the frogs are removed from Puerto Rico they no longer sing. However, Coqui have become invasive species on many tropical Stephanie (center top) addresses the group. islands where their singing has been heard.
on a show for your family & friends. Just have fun. There are no rules!