LPAC Open Rehearsal

Here are some of Gerry Goodstein's photos from the Open Rehearsal at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, December 2, 2011.

Rebecca Whittington Ross & Taylor Gordon in "Arnie's Ballet"


Nathan Kosla, Christian Serrano & Robin Gilbert in "Arnie's Ballet"

l-r: Taylor Gordon, Christian Serrano (in air), Nathan Kosla in "Act One, Scene 1"


l-r: Mark Peters, Taylor Gordon, Christian Serrano, Rebecca Whittington Ross & Robin Gilbert in "Act One, Scene 1"

 l-r:  Robin Gilbert, Debra Zalkind, Nathan Kosla in "Zelda & Brooke on the Freeway"





The Morning After

l-r:  Taylor Gordon, Rebecca Whittington Ross, and Debra Zalkind in the dressing room

l-r:  Nathan Kosla, Robin Gilbert, Christian Serrano

Warm up onstage:  Mark Peters, Nathan Kosla, Christian Serrano, Taylor Gordon, Rebecca Whittington Ross

Toni Foy, LPAC's Artist Liaison/Assistant House Manager, against the LPAC doors.

What a great experience our LPAC Residency has been! To have been in a place where the arts are cherished and nurtured, with a fine staff making everything perfect for us was sheer pleasure! The latest chapter culminated in an "Open Rehearsal" last night, in which we premiered the brand new "Arnie's Ballet," a new monologue for Natasha (which will open the second act), and a completely restructured "Act One, Scene 1." I presented a history of the project and gave a demonstration of the Life Forms animations used in the work. We also performed "Zelda and Brooke on the Freeway" (with live dialogue this time, instead of the pre-recorded dialogue we used previously), and Debra and Mark took their turns with monologues from multiple characters (i.e. Mark as Edgar and Boris, Debra as Natasha and Zelda).  In looking at what we've got now I think that the addition of much more dance and movement was the right decision, and the next step will be to continue on this track, giving dance a more prominent place throughout. --Felice Lesser




Countdown to Our Open Rehearsal at LPAC

Steve Hitt (Director of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center), and Handan Ozbilgin (Director of LPAC LAB Program)

l-r  Taylor Gordon, Mark Peters, Christian Serrano, Rebecca Whittington Ross, and Robin Gilbert in "Act One, Scene 1"

Debra Zalkind (guerilla fighter), Mark Peters, and Robin Gilbert in "Act One, Scene 1"

Robin Gilbert and Christian Serrano in "Act One, Scene 1"

Christian Serrano and Rebecca Whittington Ross in "Arnie's Ballet"

Debra Zalkind in "Zelda's Monologue"

Robin Gilbert & Christian Serrano with Debra Zalkind (guerilla fighter) in background in "Act One, Scene 1"


Residency Report

l-r Christian Serrano, Taylor Gordon, Robin Gilbert, Rebecca Whittington Ross, Nathan Kosla rehearsing "Zelda's Ballet."

Rebecca Whittington Ross & Taylor Gordon rehearsing a section from Act One, Scene 1.

As our LPAC LAB 101 residency winds down to the last few precious weeks, I look back and think how lucky I have been, to have had the opportunity to work uninterrupted, with no pressure to mount a performance, in LaGuardia Performing Arts Center's glorious facility, with the most supportive and dedicated staff I have ever encountered anywhere -- and of course with my own wonderful dancers.  We've made a great deal of progress in the past two months -- enlarging and totally rechoreographing "Arnie's Ballet," beginning work on "Zelda's Ballet," completely restructuring the entire beginning of the play, revising much of the script, and experimenting with many other things. To complete the residency we will have an "Open Rehearsal," to share what we've done with you.  Please join us on December 2nd at 7:30 pm, at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center's "Little Theater" (directions can be found on LPAC's website).  -- Felice Lesser



Expanding the Choreography

The cast of "Arnie's Ballet"  l-r Taylor Gordon, Nathan Kosla, Robin Gilbert, Christian Serrano, Rebecca Whittington Ross


Taylor Gordon and Christian Serrano in the "lift" section. Behind them, unseen, are a trio of dancers, performing the "tie up" phrase from the original production.

l-r: Taylor Gordon, Robin Gilbert, Rebecca Whittington Ross in the beginning of "Arnie's Ballet"

l-r: Robin Gilbert, Nathan Kosla (back), Rebecca Whittington Ross, Christian Serrano, Taylor Gordon (front) in "Arnie's Ballet."  The trio dances a phrase composed of material from the original piece, while Robin Gilbert and Nathan Koslo circle the trio in a newly choreographed section.


One of the things I'm trying to do now is to see how much of this show can be realized through dance. Will there be too much "sensory overload" with dialogue, video, choreography, music, coming at you simultaneously? Or will it all work together? In approaching the challenge of completely rechoreographing the show, I'm beginning with the dances themselves near the end of Act Two.  First up -- "Arnie's Ballet," a comic piece (set to the "Waltz of the Hours" from COPPELIA) that has spies breaking into a ballet (created by a novice choreographer in a choreography competition), stealing the show.  In the original version of "Funding the Arts" I had radically cut the second act dances, as the show was already almost two hours long.  But now that the script is tighter, I can expand the choreography.  The first version of "Arnie's ballet" ran about a minute in length, as I had drastically cut the music.  But here I'm using the entire piece, which runs almost four minutes, giving me a lot more time to develop the jokes. "Arnie's ballet" was originally a trio (2 girls & 1 spy), but now we have five dancers (3 girls & 2 spies), and by the time "Funding the Arts" is performed again in a year or so, I hope to have even more.  I've kept some of the original choreography but am using it differently.  For instance there is a phrase where the girls "tie up" the spies, then knock them out.  This phrase ended the original dance, but in the new version I have moved that phrase to the middle of the piece, changed its location (from centerstage to a less conspicuous area, upstage right), then repeated it twice more (with different people dancing it), as background for an entirely different "lift" sequence (see second photo with Taylor Gordon and Christian Serrano) happening simultaneously, centerstage.  And the sequence now concludes with a much better "joke" (which I won't ruin by divulging). -- Felice Lesser