a lasting sense of connectivity and theatrical community
I sidle through the door of rehearsal room 16T at Ripley Grier Studios to observe the work my students are doing in the master classes. The ensemble is seated in a casual but active arrangement by the door facing the master class leader as he describes a scenario and offers a mask for an intrepid volunteer. I find a spot unseen and unnoticed and settle in to watch. I marvel as the shy student I came to check in on, the one who just moved here the month before from Florida, who was placed on her own in an ensemble without a peer from our school, blithely steps forward and volunteers to go first – to put on the mask and dive into the activity. She launches bravely into the scenario – waking up as a being on the beach for the first time to explore and experience her surroundings and sensations. She does so without any hint of hesitation or self-consciousness. I’m amazed at her fearlessness as I watch the quiet new kid from IB Theatre Arts year one explore the space with moves that have a dancer’s grace and a primal feel. She loses herself completely in the task as she utilises her whole being to discover her new world. As I as revel in her work and relish the opportunity she has to slide out of her teenage shell and simply play in a supportive space, I’m again inspired and grateful that there is a means to provide this wonder for my students. It’s yet another experience ISTA has created for my young charges and myself at New York TaPS.