VCAM Fall Break Performance Intensive: GREAT AMERICAN ADVENTURE with Lightning Rod Special
October 18-21st, 2023
Deadline to Apply: Monday, September 25, 2023
Open to Tri-College Students
Application: apply here
Contact: jweissin [at] haverford.edu
Info Session with Lightning Rod Special
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Join Philly-based theater company Lightning Rod Special for a four-day on-campus intensive on our methods of performance as research. Alongside four LRS professional practitioners, you will train with us and learn our methodology for creating original performance work. The intensive will culminate in an informal sharing of new short pieces. Total beginners and advanced performers of all kinds are welcome. Did we mention: field trip to Six Flags?
Each LRS piece starts with a thematic curiosity along with a set of unanswerable questions. Our next show, slated for a premiere that will coincide with the semiquincentennial of the Declaration of Independence, explores American mythmaking. One site of focus for this work is the American amusement park. Our process often begins with in-the-field research, so we will don our cultural anthropology hats as we enter a popular den of manufactured amusements and fabricated thrills: Six Flags Great Adventure. We will observe rhythms, behaviors, routines, architecture, landscape, and more as we study how amusement parks reflect, obscure, and advance a particular vision of America and a particular tradition of American mythmaking.
Lightning Rod Special is an award-winning Philadelphia-based company that collaboratively creates original performances through research and experimentation. Recent works include SPEECH (a poisonous love letter to cancel culture, FringeArts 2022), The Appointment (a musical satire singing and dancing through the absurdity of the American abortion debate, “Best Theater in 2019” in New York Times), and Underground Railroad Game (a time-traveling fever dream about American race relations, 2017 Obie Award for “Best New American Theater Work,” among the “top 25 shows in the past 25 years” in New York Times).
Wednesday, Oct. 18th from 3-6pm
On our first day we’ll meet each other and engage in foundational exercises in performance presence, rhythm, and space. LRS will introduce concepts used in our process of devising theater, and we will dip our toes into the themes we’ll be exploring throughout the week: American pageantry, patriotism, consumption, and capitalism.
Thursday, Oct. 19th from 11am-5pm
On day two, we’ll travel for all-day on-site research at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. We’ll make close observations of the people, places, and things in the park.
Friday, Oct. 20th from 11am-5pm
Day three we’ll return to the studio at Haverford. Through experiments, improvisations, and assignments, we’ll create and rehearse short performances based on what was most compelling at the park. These pieces (like most of LRS’ work) may vary wildly in both form and content.
Saturday, Oct. 21st from 11am-2pm
On our last day we’ll hold final rehearsals, then share our works in process informally for each other (and, maybe, some invited friends?). We’ll end our time together reflecting on what we’ve made, and on the idea of performance as a form of research. We hope to leave you with techniques you might bring to your own work.