Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meet our Playwriting TAs: McKenna and Carlo!

For the first time in the Studio program history, The New Victory Theater is offering a Playwriting Studio Week! Should be a blast where kids will end the week with a mini-performance and actual pages of their own original scenes! Meet McKenna and Carlo, the duos who will be mentoring the kids through five days of brainstorming and writing.

Carlo D'Amore
New Victory: In addition to being a New Vic teaching artist, what else do you do?
McKenna Kerrigan: I am an actor and I am working on an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts at Brooklyn College.
Carlo D’Amore: I am an actor, writer, producer and creative director at Live IN Theater Productions. I create immersive, interactive theatrical experiences.

NV: What is your education and artistic training background?
MK: I have a BA in English and Women's Studies from Wesleyan and studied theater at summer programs at Atlantic Theater in NYC and Steppenwolf in Chicago. I worked with a movement-based company in Philly called New Paradise Laboratories for ten years and am now a company member of Target Margin Theater in New York.
CDA: I have studied in the U.S and internationally in everything from clown and Shakespeare to directing and teaching.
McKenna Kerrigan
NV: Where have you traveled for your career in arts or arts education?
MK: Many, many places- among them: Ireland, Chicago, South Carolina...and this summer...Alaska!
CDA: Across the U.S and Central and South America

NV: Why is it important to teach arts education in schools? Outside of schools?
MK: In schools, sometimes art is the only thing that students show up for. Providing a hook that makes school a pleasure is a valuable service that is rarely focused on, and I am proud to have that job. Outside of the school system, you are often freer to let the students lead and take the time to build an ensemble so the focus can be on the process.
CDA: It's very important because a lot of the kids we work with don't get much (if any) arts education. Art is what keeps society evolving, understanding and compassionate.

NV: Why are you excited for the upcoming Studio Week?
MK: I am thrilled to be teaching with Carlo for a week because he makes me laugh all the time and has ideas that always surprise me. Also, I know the kind of creative, smart and energetic kids the New Vic attracts and exploring different ways to create story with them is going to be fun!
CDA: The New Vic is my favorite place to teach because of the artistic excellence of the ensemble I work with.

NV: What’s one secret, special or “hidden” thing you love about New York?
MK: I love the Vale of Cashmere in Prospect Park. It's the best place for a quiet picnic in the shade.
CDA: The people

NV: Something unique about you?
MK: I played soccer in college in Ireland for the National University College Galway.
CDA: I am an avid improviser.

Carlo in THE RYAN CASE 1873
NV: How would you describe the playwriting/creative process and why is it exciting?
MK: I have only been a part of making plays collaboratively, and the exciting part of that is there is a tremendous amount of creative energy in the room. While you are responsible for contributing, you do not have to be in charge; you can trust that the whole group is going to make something great together. You come up with ideas and solutions that you would never have discovered on your own.
CDA: It can be very lonely, but what's exciting about it in a workshop like Studio Week is the juice of all these creative minds come together and receive the support and encouragement to explore. And then [afterwards] to see what you came up with develop into a fuller expression of being human - that's amazingly empowering.

NV: Who are your favorite playwrights / what are your favorites?
CDA: The classics Odets and Miller but mostly Tennessee Williams. [My favorite plays are] A Street Car Named DesireWaiting for LeftyGolden Boy.

NV: What has been your most memorable moment as a performer or artist?
MK: I worked on making a wonderful play with Target Margin Theater about the friendship between Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams while they were making Camino Real on Broadway in 1953. That was a very satisfying process that took three years, and performing that show was just heaven.
CDA: Too many to pick one but when I do solo work (monologues or performing alone interactively with a group of audience members) the basic back and forth communication that happens between performer and audience is delicious.

NV: What has been your most memorable moment as a teaching artist or educator?
MK: I have had many great times working with students; the highlights all seem to include times when students are working together to create the work they are going to perform. Whether they make the work by writing it, improvising from an idea or throught movement and dance, the performances are always more exciting because the kids have been a part of it every step of the way.
CDA: Watching kids play creatively and seeing the incredible things they can come up with when they are given the space and time to do so.

Your kids ages 11-14 are invited to join these master playwrights and incredible teachers for five days of writing and playing this July! Information here.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad people are being introduced to our teaching artists who are also amazing professional artists. Here is an article about NYC summer theater which features Carlo's current production (it also happens to mention the play I am in too.)