Short plays are “… a place for encounters not journeys, epiphanies not ideologies.” – Steve Waters on Beckett & Mamet’s short plays
Encounters. Epiphanies. This is at the heart of Autism Communty Theater’s games, improvisations and short scenes. Encountering the other; that “aha!” moment of connection, epiphany – there’s someone else here! (and the encounter is transformative – even if fleeting.)
Luckily we don’t need to introduce Beckett or Mamet to our actors for these connections. “Short plays” can be introduced using “Knock, Knock” jokes. Yes!
Theatre provides so many opportunities to promote nonverbal communication between actors. One effective way is to use what I’ll call “nonverbal beats.” Scenes are made up of beats (changes in character or action) which can be staged with nonverbal moments of joint attention, reaction or a physical gesture. Nonverbal beats in theater actually heighten the action or dialogue that precede them; the silence gives more weight and resonance to what has just occurred.
For this first post I felt as if I should write some sort of huge three- or five-year plan for ACT Workshop, but “THE PLAY’s THE THING!” and I want this blog to be about playmaking and theater games with this special and diverse group of actors with autism spectrum disorder.
Today I want to talk about how we are starting our scene work for The Breman Town Musicians.
Do you remember that tale? A donkey, dog, cat and rooster all set off on the road to Bremen town to play music. They meet some robbers, scare them away and . . . never make it to Bremen Town to play music.