Jun 202013
Sissel Bakken, Matthew Ingraham, Hanna Bondarewska, Christopher Henley and Rachel Silvert

It was so very thrilling to be able to observe today’s rehearsal of Act 3, especially as it was the first time that I was able to see the play that I know so well being enacted, and Hanna’s vision of the play being brought to life.  My immersion into the play and the connection with the characters were instant as the actors, Matthew playing George and Christopher impersonating Thomas, have by now become the protagonists. Watching them perfecting their powerful performances under the direction of Hanna, and with the help of Rachel, made me realize how far the team have come. They are half way through the rehearsals, and will shortly move the trials onto the actual stage at Flashpoint. At this stage the focus of their work is on re-working selected scenes in search of that ideal combination of words, movement, expression and interaction, which would bring about the ideal effect in a most powerful way possible. Cannot wait to see future rehearsals with all three characters present….

The Third Breast–Work in Progress

During the break I had a moment to talk with the team and ask them about their impressions of where they were at and the process of getting there.

Matthew and Christopher talked about the process of bringing ‘The Third Breast,’ written in socialist Poland of 1970s, to its American 21st century context. They mentioned the importance of working on the English text with its translator, Sylwia Daneel, adjusting lines to make them ‘flow’, and at the same time getting to know the characters, internalizing the soul of the play and memorizing parts. Differences between the European style of directing and acting (more prescribed and structured) and the American one (more freelance and actor-centered), and the constructive ways of dealing with them, were also raised. The actors emphasized the importance of each rehearsal, as well as informal team meetings, in dealing with the issues as they arise, and in building up their awareness, knowledge and confidence both on individual and professional level.

Hanna focused on the importance of group development strategies, which have been in place since the team’s creation. She said that the cast and crew had decided to set up their own ‘commune’ as a vehicle to identify with the play, but more importantly, to get to know each other better and feel more comfortable as a group. Each common activity, be it meditation, energy work, music, dance, movement or ritual inspired by Native American traditions, has created a new level of unity, deeper realization of importance of nature, peace and harmony, and has brought new insights into the play and its characters. The ‘commune’ is very much looking forward to their trip to Mount Jackson planned for the end of June which will allow them the opportunity to consolidate the work they have done to-date, on both professional and personal levels.

To see what they have accomplished, Get your ticket now

Jun 022013
Hanna Bondarewska, Christopher Henley and Matthew Ingraham

Hanna Bondarewska, Christopher Henley and Matthew Ingraham

As we work to create the commune within Iredynski’s The Third Breast, the team has been discussing what our perfect communes would look like.  It is interesting how each one of us has such distinct visions of what the ideal way of living should be.  And yet, somehow, they seem as though they could fit together.  Below are some of the thoughts each of us have expressed during rehearsals so far.  We invite you to read them, and ask yourself: what would your perfect commune look like?

Sissel (“Eva”)

I can’t imagine living in a place cut off from the world.  However, my perfect world would be one no financial worries.  No violence.  A place where I could live doing what I love, and everyone around me could also do what they love; It should be a good mix of interests and passions.  Where I could be outside when I want to be and exercise regularly.  I would want to be able to travel, to teach and share with others.  I want to connect with people who are passionate in life and about what they do.  I want to be able to read and have interesting discussions.  It would be nice to have a place both near the ocean and close to a city.

Christopher (“Thomas”)

The really really striking thing about the world today is how global society has become, and how the character of individual places has been compromised in a really unfortunate way.  When I first moved to New York  in the early 1980s, I felt like, oh wow, I’m here like 15 years too late, I’ve missed all of the excitement.  But now, everything is chains where there used to be blocks and blocks of independent clothing stores and record stores.  The whole neighborhood is gone. All the places that really made me think about what made New York really exciting then.  Now looking back it’s like, 1983 was the golden age.  Culture was so much more shared, unified.  Now I have no idea who these magazine covers are and why I’m supposed to know them.

            An other element of communes that I would find very attractive is nudity, or not wearing much clothes.  That’s one of those restrictions that just doesn’t make sense.  What it it, 91 degrees today? And we’re all very, very dressed.  It’s just very freeing.  It’s this taboo that you’re allowed to break on stage, but you can’t just walking up and down the street.

Mathew Ingraham (“George”)

I believe in a place that is corrupted and organic.  A place that is self sustaining and free of deception and lies.  A place where I can live with all of my friends and family and we are all kind and loving towards each other.  A place where we can all do what we love.  I would be able to perform and read and write.  I can have a safe environment where I can have and raise my children.  An environment where everyone is supported and encouraged to do what they love and follow their hearts.  A place where there are rolling fields with vineyards and farms.  There would be lots of hours running and lots of puppies.  The horses would run through the rolling fields and everyday would be beautiful.  When it rained it would be a warm nourished rain that revitalized the earth.  Everyday would be a celebration of life.   It would be a place where you could learn and share knowledge with multiple creative out

Hanna (Director)

Above all, I believe in peace, love and happiness; passion for life.  We would start each morning with exercises to open people up and feel the good energy from nature.  In my commune, everyone would respect each other, listen to each other, love.  There would be no jealousy or envy (which is really what creates all the war and misunderstanding in the world).  We would use different cultures to help people understand each other better and thereby accept each other’s differences.

Rachel (Stage Manager)

            It would definitely be located up in the mountains, surrounded by trees and valleys, rivers and clean, fresh air.  We would be self sufficient, energy-wise.  Wind and water generators, possibly bio fuel.   There could be a communal farm.  it would be a completely democratic and egalitarian society.  One person, one vote.  I think I would create a place where people could enter and exit on will. for example they could work outside the commune and still live in the community.  In that vein, the Moshav model in Israel is appealing to me.

Do you want to find out what we came up with?  Come and see it, get your ticket now!



Jun 012013

Friday, May 24, 2013

ThirdBreastcast (449x144)

Here we are, sitting on the sofa watching the movie, “Dinner with Andre,” and we are all so connected, listening to two different perceptions of the world and humanity. Where are we all going? Are we really turning into automatons which live in a habitual kind of way? Who we are is defined by our actions. Are we all driven by money? All those questions come to mind.

We take a break and give each other a massage. This helps us to feel closer, safer and we all feel a moment of true sharing, true giving without expectations, without needing money.   Money which turned us into robots who work to survive, pay bills, do specific tasks and fulfill our habitual way of living. Do we want to escape from that?  Do we truly feel happy?  Oh boy, are we truly dying as a civilization? Are we able to truly use our senses and truly see, feel, smell and taste what life is really about? Even as the characters in the movie ask these questions, so do we. How can we find the answers?

And now that we have finished the movie, a bit tired after a long day of working, rehearsing, digging through Iredyński’s words on paper, trying to understand the characters’ motivations, where are we? There are so many thoughts that come to mind, so many feelings that are hard to describe. I just want to live…but what does that truly mean? What would a truly idealistic world, one that I would love to live in, look like? What could I do to make this world actually come to be?

My first instinct tells me to just simply love and appreciate what I have, take a big breath and enjoy life, every moment of it. I have always wanted to love and be loved, but is this really possible?  I do not want to be pessimistic; Rather, I choose to believe in goodness and to be optimistic. I’d rather see the sun on a stormy day trying hard to break through. I’d rather live with a smile on my face in the most tragic moments and try to send most of my love to everywhere around me, I’d rather see people smile than in pain. I’d rather see the beauty in the world. But how that can be possible in the face of all the tragedies around the world?

The simplest thing would be to shut down the internet, TV, radio and go into the bushes and live in harmony with nature. But is nature truly safe? This beautiful nature can destroy all living creatures through tremendous hurricanes, tornadoes that can completely wipe out all villages and everything in their way. So, is it possible to live in true harmony with nature? Or maybe we should again come back to simplicity in life, as Taoism and other spiritual and religious faiths suggest, and accept what every day brings. We really only have the power to change our own behavior, and so we cannot change the whole world….unless we change the world through the way in which we live ,and add to this world what we give. That’s the key, isn’t it’?