Saratoga Theater Institute holds training sessions at Emory

Several Emory faculty and staff participated in a recent three-week training session organized by Theater Emory as part of the Olympic Arts Festival. The session featured the work of the Saratoga International Theater Institute (SITI), a New York City-based theater company.

Along with an artistic director from a Canadian theater company, a director from a company in Brussels, and actors from San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York, several Emory faculty and staff participated in the sessions. Faculty participants included Leslie Taylor, associate professor of theater studies, and Yvonne Singh, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in theater studies. Student participants included Richard Aronovitch, Anna Bahney, Ariel Bennett, Barry Carman, Maia Knispel, Park Krausen, Katherine Orr (a Bobby Jones Fellow from 1995-96), Matthew Pomerantz and Adam Richman.

Prior to the sessions, 46 participants trained with SITI Co-Artistic Director Anne Bogart and SITI members in Bogart's Viewpoints and the Suzuki Method of Actor Training developed by renowned director Tadishi Suzuki. The Viewpoints and Suzuki sessions were held in the Burlington Road Building at Emory.

Also a part of the Olympic Arts Festival was SITI's production of "Small Lives/Big Dreams" directed by Bogart and presented by Theater Emory at the Alliance Studio Theatre July 11-13. The work is based on the five major plays of Anton Chekhov and was inspired by the question, "What is the function of memory?"

"To me, the theater is about memory, about remembering the big questions pertaining to being human," Bogart wrote of "Small Lives/Big Dreams." "A great play lasts because it asks us to consider some important human issues. Is it true that if we are unable to remember our past, we have no future? If we lose our memory, will we lose our humanity? In approaching a play about memory, I chose to sample from the plays of Anton Chekhov. The characters in Chekhov's plays are haunted by the past while attempting to look tentatively into their future. At the end of the 19th century, Chekhov was experiencing premonitions about the great social changes that lay ahead. Now at the end of the 20th century, we look with trepidation and anticipation at what lies ahead of us. In light of these changes, what is the role of our memories? What do we do with the past?"

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