CoLab with D'Amour and Connelly

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
CoLab with D'Amour and Connelly

The Theater Studies CoLab (Collaborative Theater Making) course under the leadership of visiting artists Lisa D'Amour and Brendan Connelly proved to be a huge hit with students spring semester. Both artists are award winners in their fields - playwrighting for D'Amour and sound design for Connelly - and were praised for both their expertise and generosity by students.

According to senior Bailey Sincox, "The class was immensely impactful on my journey as an individual and a theater artist. Brendan and Lisa led us in a comprehensive and rigorous introduction to the world of experimental and devised theater. They provided access to a wealth of resources - film records of notable performances by the groups we studied, not to mention visits from the artists themselves. Lisa and Brendan were a constant guiding presence in our rehearsal process as we prepared four performances throughout the semester. They gave meticulous feedback at each juncture, giving us room to take artistic risks while also guiding us to be more effective.

"The two of them pushed us to be more creative at every turn, sharing from their own experiences along the way to contextualize our journey within the class (both the frustrations and the triumphs) in the framework of experimental theater and the theater industry as a whole.

"This class more than any other I've taken at Duke has mastered the balance between theory and practice, classroom experience and real-world application. I cannot thank Lisa and Brendan enough for all they generously gave to us as students this semester."

D'Amour had to skype into class a couple of times as she was mounting her play, Airline Highway on Broadway during the semester. And on other occasions, an impressive array of other guest artists visited class as living examples of the types of theater being examined, among them, Steven Sapp (UNIVERSES), Shawn Sides (Rude Mechanicals), Jim Findlay (former member Wooster Group, founding member Collapsable Giraffe) and writer and performer Jess Barbagallo.

"I hope such workshops will become a staple in the Department of Theater Studies, and that many more students will have the opportunity to grow as I have from this invaluable experience," says Sincox.