Umbria 2015: International Symposium for Directors


Session 1 | June 27 - July 11, 2015


Teaching ArtistsStephan Koplowitz (USA), Claudia Castellucci (Italy), Oh Tae-Suk (Korea) & Tina Landau (USA)

Session 2 | July 13 - July 27, 2015

Teaching ArtistsKok Heng Leun (Singapore), Sergei Tcherkasski (Russia),
Brett Bailey (South Africa) & Mohammad B. Ghaffari (Iran)

A training program for professional directors, choreographers, actors and others. Internationally renowned theatre artists conduct workshops and lecture/demonstrations. During the Symposium, participants will travel to Umbrian towns such as Orvieto, Perugia  or Assisi to get a taste of Umbrian art and culture. Performances at local arts festivals and community fairs are also included.  In addition, participating directors may conduct their own workshops to share insights and techniques with their colleagues.
Participants will be exposed to a variety of theatrical perspectives during the Symposium, from instructors who will expand their sense of what is possible in the theatre. Directors attending the Symposium see how prominent artists on the international scene create their unique productions. The workshops are participatory, and it is expected that all attendees will engage actively in the processes of the various teaching artists.


Site Specificity and the Director’s Eye
- Stephan Koplowitz -
This workshop will approach the act of creating works of theater and performance through exercises using the conceptual lens of site-specificity. The intention is to spark new approaches in text creation, character development, movement and production design in terms of set and sound. Working from specific sites in the region as a laboratory, participants will work on developing short performance works based on original or found texts.
Theory of the Background
- Claudia Castellucci -
The workshop focuses on the dramatic and dramaturgical importance of the background, whether visual or acoustic, on which the the actors play. Through exercises we will explore the relationship of live actors to their stage environment. The tools for the study will be literature, images of figurative art, music and film that demonstrate the importance of the background, leading to practical exercises in writing, design and mimic action.
Interpretation of Shakespeare with Korean Theatrical Methodology
- Oh Tae-Suk -
Master Oh will focus on how he adapts Shakespeare’s text and merges with Korean forms.  Participants will learn the production methodology and customized training process he uses with actors in the Mokwha Repertory Company.
Viewpoints for a New Generation
- Tina Landau -
The workshop will focus on expanding the actor’s awareness, spontaneity, and openness, using the method of Viewpoints as a primary, but not exclusive, tool. Participants will be introduced to ten individual Viewpoints as well as the ways in which they can be applied to a range of work including solo performance, traditional scene work, self-generated pieces, formal choreography, etc.
Directing Inter-Cultural Work
- Kok Heng Leun -
Singapore is a multicultural country, made up of different cultures, beliefs and communities, each with a rich heritage and history.  This is strongly reflected in many of the theatre works we create – involving intercultural collaborations, using different languages, integrating cross-cultural elements, and exploring issues related to our national identity as well as relevant political and social issues of the time.  This workshop will look at the dramaturgy behind intercultural work, as well as how to work collaboratively with actors, through their bodies, personal stories and experience. 
Theatre Stripped to its Elemental Core
- Mohammad B. Ghaffari -
We are looking for a theater stripped of artifice, a theater without the influence of cinema and television. We are in search of a theater that will engage the imagination of its audience, an audience as creative as the performers. Our subject is the subject of Man with all of His complexities and dilemmas. 
Russian School of Directing: Action Analysis
- Sergei Tcherkasski  -
The workshop will expose Method of Action Analysis (Analysis by means of Action) – a practical tool of translating a play to a work of stage art. The ideas of Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and modern Russian directors’ school will be revealed both in discussions and practical work.
Disorienting the Audience
- Brett Bailey -
Submerge the spectator within the world of the performance, so his experience is real, visceral, intimate.  Confront the spectator with rich, multi-layered images that require her active interpretation. Disturb, destabilize and disorientate so that the world can be seen afresh.  

Teaching Artists

STEPHAN KOPLOWITZ is an award winning director/choreographer known for creating original site-specific multi-media works for architecturally significant sites. His site work aims to alter people’s perspectives of place, site, and scale, all infused with a sense of the human condition. Since 1984 he has created 66 works and has been awarded 46 commissions. He is the recipient of a 2004 Alpert Award in the Arts (Dance), a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, a 2000 New York Dance and Performance Award, “Bessie” for “Sustained Achievement” in Choreography and six NEA Choreography Fellowships from (1988-97).
CLAUDIA CASTELLUCCI co-founded Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio in 1981 with Romeo Castellucci and Chiara Guidi. In the company she deals with the composition of texts, both dramatic and theoretical, in addition to being an interpreter. After writing Santa Sofia-Teatro Khmer, manifesto of an iconoclastic theatre (1986), she began her own metric and melodic research. She also performs her own texts. She’s active in the visual arts field. Her published works include: Il teatro della socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, dal teatro iconoclasta alla super-icona (Ubulibri 1992).
OH TAE-SUK is the Founder and Artistic Director of Mokwha Repertory Theatre Company. He is a renowned playwright, director, an Emeritus professor at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, and the former Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Korea. Oh is the author and director of over sixty original plays known for their unique methodology utilizing traditional Korean aesthetics, mythology, dialects and performance disciplines.
TINA LANDAU is a writer and director whose work ranges from large-scale site-specific pieces to Broadway to Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.  Tina is the author, with Anne Bogart, of The Viewpoints Book:  A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition, as well as her own works: Space, Beauty, 1969, and the musicals Floyd Collins and Dream True.   Tina has directed plays by Chuck Mee, Paula Vogel, Tarell McCraney, Tracy Letts and others. Tina has won the United States Artist Fellowship, and many other awards.  She has taught at the Yale School of Drama, Columbia University, NYU, Harvard University, along with the SITI Company and La MaMa Umbria.  
KOK HENG LEUN is the Artistic Director of Singaporean theatre company, Drama Box. He is also one of the few effectively bilingual theatre practitioners in Singapore, with extensive experience, having directed over 80 English and Mandarin plays. His works have been seen in India, Austria, China, Macau and Taipei. Heng Leun has received many awards in his career, including Outstanding Young Person of Singapore Award (2006), Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Culture Award (2003) and National Arts Council Young Artist Award (2000).
MOHAMMAD B. GHAFFARI was born in Iran. He joined Peter Brook’s company in 1971 performing at the Festival of Arts in Shiraz. He worked as an actor with Ellen Stewart at La MaMa ETC in New York, where he also directed. He assisted Jerzy Grotowski at Columbia University where he taught acting. He directed the first international performance of traditional Ta’ziyeh at the Festival d’Avignone in 1992 and the Festival d’Automne in Paris. In 2002 he directed Ta’ziyeh plays for the Lincoln Center Festival.  He played the lead in Shirin Neshat’s Overruled at PERFORMA 2011. In 2013 he was a consultant and participant in Asia Society’s Iran/Modern symposium on Shiraz Festival of Arts.
SERGEI TCHERKASSKI is a theatre director and Head of the Acting Studio at the St. Petersburg Theater Arts Academy (established in 1779). He holds PhD for his research into director’s education in the Russian theater school. His second dissertation clarifies lines of succession of Stanislavsky’s ideas in the international theatre of the 20th century (Stanislavsky – Boleslavsky – the Method Acting). Tcherkasski’s books include Stanislavsky and Yoga; Valentine Smyshlyaev – Actor, Director and Teacher; Sulimov’s School of Directing. His students have become award-winning actors and directors including the nominees and winners of the Golden Mask Award.
BRETT BAILEY is a South African playwright, designer, director, installation maker and the artistic director of the performance company THIRD WORLD BUNFIGHT. He has worked throughout South Africa, in several African and European countries, and in the UK. His works have played across Europe, Australia, Africa and Latin America, and have won awards, including a gold medal for design at the Prague Quadrennial. He directed the opening show at the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg, and from 2006-2011 the opening shows at the Harare International Festival of the Arts.

EXCURSIONS: While most of the time will be spent in workshops at La MaMa Umbria, at least one day has been set aside for excursions to nearby cities. We will attend at least one performance event at a local arts festival, which may include Umbria Jazz in Perugia, Spoleto Estate, Todiarte Festival in Todi, etc. There may also be opportunities to see additional performances on an ad hoc basis. The group will visit nearby towns such as Perugia, Umbria’s capital, Deruta, where world-famous ceramics are still painted by hand or Assisi, where the famous Cathedral of St. Francis has reopened after extensive renovation and reconstruction. In addition, we will share an old fashioned Italian tradition, a sagra, or community celebration dedicated to celebrating the specialties produced by small Umbrian villages (such as truffles, olive oil and wine.) Sagras typically include an abundance of locally prepared specialty foods, local wines, entertainment, costumes and games.

EXTRA WORKSHOPS: In addition to our internationally renowned guest teaching artists, there will be an opportunity for you and your colleagues to share exercises and techniques with each other in late night sessions. You may propose a special workshop to offer in one of the late (after dinner) sessions. Use the space on the registration form to describe what you would share. Not all proposals will be accepted based on time and space availability.

CREDIT: The La MaMa International Symposium is accredited through Sarah Lawrence College. While the Symposium is geared for working professionals, some slots may be filled by university students, who may get credit (2 credits for one session of the Symposium and 1 credit for the Retreat) for their participation through an arrangement with Sarah Lawrence College. For more information, please contact La MaMa at (212) 254-6468.

FEE: $2,800 for one session / $5,400 for both sessions. Fee includes all workshops, housing and meals, ground transportation from the Rome airport to and from La MaMa Umbria, excursions by bus, van or car, including tickets to performances at a local festival, entrance fees to museums and other points of interest.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Space is limited. Registrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Registrants must fill out the Registration Form. Space is secured with a deposit of $1,000 due with the registration form by May 15, 2015. $100 of the deposit is a non-refundable processing fee (unless the Symposium is already full when we receive your registration). All fees should be paid in US dollars in the form of checks or money orders payable to La MaMa ETC. In the case that a participant cannot attend the Symposium after having paid, 50% of the fee will be refunded if the participant cancels by June 20, 2014. After this date, the fee will not be refundable.