WORKSHOPS I Offer:
Physical Storytelling; Using Impulse for Creative Process
"Impulse and action are concurrent: the body vanishes, burns, and the spectator sees only a series of visible impulses. Ours then is a via negativa - not a collection of skills but an eradication of blocks."
- Jerzy Grotowski
What happens when we let our physical impulses run free, when we set the analytical mind on the back burner and move and create spontaneously? As children we play with imagery easily and without inhibitions. As we grow older, we tend to become more restrained and self-conscious. However, our bodies are still packed full of stories, emotions, memories, ideas; the fabric of our identities. Through physical exercises and forms we can access that dormant energy and creative materials that lie within and let them out to play.
This class will explore various physical theater techniques to generate stories and ideas. Methods will include Viewpoints, Grotowski’s plastiques and corporals, improvisation, clowning, Linklater vocal techniques and Monica's own brand of developing solo material. Through energetic physical exercises students will play with character, movement, sound and imagination, and rely on the genius of impulse to set free new discoveries.
That's not a bank; that's my Theater: Site-Specific Theater as Tool for Social Change
Grassroots organizers use various points of intervention to pressure their targets as artists showcase their work in different spaces to draw in audience from new angles. When activism employs art, those points of intervention can be transformed into stages to set the narrative of the drama; reframing the story and taking the power of the oppressor into the hands of the people. The bank lobby can be a dance hall. The LNG compressor station can be an opera house. The privately owned public space fountain can be a synchronized swimming pool. In this workshop, we will learn some basic street theater techniques for drawing focus, moving as an ensemble, creating striking images, playing with creative impulse and imaginative associations and how to communicate meaningful narrative in simple concrete forms that will translate political messaging at an actual site of injustice. And then we will take these new skills to the “street!” Breakout groups will devise mini pieces to perform around camp.
In grim times, we find ways to shine more brightly. We must nourish our spirits to become strong warriors.
We will explore movement and vocal exercises that focus on release and freedom of the body, grounding, meditation, self-healing energy work, physical theater & usually end in some relaxing partner or self massage.
This is going to be about pleasure and power.
Contact Improv Basics
Explore the joyous freedom of improvisational movement. We will begin with the foundations of weight sharing and build up to dancing more fluidly with a partner, communicating through playful interaction and ending with a free for all jam.
Monica Hunken is a solo performer who creates docu-adventure shows including; Reading the Water, Blondie of Arabia, The Wild Finish and Hunker Down. Her plays have toured internationally to Romania, Australia, Greece, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, England, Wales, Norway and have been nominated for a NY Innovative Theater Award for Best Solo Performance and won the First Place Audience Choice Award in the Apostrof Festival, Prague. Monica earned her BFA in Drama from the Experimental Theatre Wing and MA in Educational Theatre at NYU and had additional training in Amsterdam, at the Grotowski Center in Poland and finished her Masters at Trinity College in Dublin. She has taught in Thailand, Greece, India, Australia, and in the states at Harvard, New York University, Shakespeare Santa Monica and The Free University among others. Monica is also a dedicated activist who has worked with Occupy The Pipeline, Rev. Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping, bicycle dance troupe- NYBikeDance and is a trainer with Beautiful Trouble.
More Responses from Students:
"I have taken physical theatre workshops in Australia, Poland, France and the UK and Monica's class is definitely on par with the leading physical performance teachers out there. As far as value for money goes. This class is a steal. The great thing about working with Monica is that she is a successful practicing Artist also. Her methods are drawn from her own experiences as an international touring artist. Also, it's a lot of fun. Highly recommend for working professionals and beginners."
"I took one of Monica's one-day performance workshops - her approach helped me become more fully-embodied, and more intimately connected to the stories I wanted to tell in my work. Monica has a unique gift for helping the people she works with open up and find the truth in their own lives, which helps fuel their artistic work. Athletic, bold, and highly recommended."
"Monica creates a safe, inviting space that allows participants to keep an open heart and take risks! Monica gave me a better understanding of Grotowski methods and the purpose of the tools we learned. I loved the way she incorporated viewpoints into the workshop. I gained a better understanding of how I can use my body as a means to communicate story and emotion. The class was physically challenging in the best way possible. I learned some great vocal warm-ups and even some great forward and side rolls (which I never thought I could do!) I left feeling revitalized and inspired to create new work and breathe some life into my current work."