I saw and experienced first hand that the body & imagery work that Monica does so well truly does work and is very effective. She created a safe environment where I was able to physically manifest all of my wildest dreams. No matter how badly my day is going, her class lifts me up. Monica has fire, passion, an extraordinary sense of play, a wonderful sense of humor, and beautiful insight to teach and inspire all of us.
— Ben Curtis
 Workshop at Brunnenpassage in Vienna, Austria

Workshop at Brunnenpassage in Vienna, Austria

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.  

 

Splendid Wellness

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.

 photo by Hunter Canning

photo by Hunter Canning

Teaching Bio:

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.

I took a physical storytelling workshop with Monica in a small group setting (6 students) and didn’t know what to expect. I’m an experienced performer, but not an actor, and had no theater training background. The class blew my mind — the exercises Monica led us through dissolved my defenses and self-consciousness, and made me think about my body as an instrument of expression in a way I never had before. She created a safe space for us all to be vulnerable, take risks, and tell the truth, and I felt I could really trust her as a teacher and guide. I feel like I made some real discoveries and connections in her workshop that continue to reverberate in my approach to communicating and being present in a performance setting
— Ellia B.
I had a really amazing time. It was important for me as an out of work actor to remind myself how important it is to always keep moving. Keeping yourself fit is very important in our line of work but also keeping up physical exploration. I benefited mostly from realizing how much information and material is stored in our physical body and how it can lay dormant unless your discipline yourself to let it out to play. play with yourself more often and art will flow. Thank You Monica.
— Jessika D. Williams
PAYMENT

 

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." 

-Melissa C.

"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."

_Chris Cook

"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."

-Ana H.