Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Studio Series Experience by Lisa Skvarla

Last year I had the opportunity to do the Studio Series at Freehold Theatre. I was recently in a solo performance class, and the studio series gave me the opportunity to take it to the next level. My solo show was called "My Father's Daughter." It was a tribute to my father, who had recently passed away. The studio series expanded my work in progress that I did in class and made it more polished, working toward a professional performance.

In the beginning, we were able to choose our own director and crew. I chose Teresa Mosteller as my director and Kathryn Skvarla, my daughter, as my crew and assistant director. Both were familiar with my content and the story I wanted to tell. Freehold set us up with a mentor, Elizabeth Heffron, who helped us out in our rehearsal process. We met with her in the very beginning and again at the end. She was very helpful in pinpointing what needed clarity, what worked, and the direction we needed to go in our story-telling.

Teresa and I met once a week, and as it came closer to performance day we met more often to tighten the work. Each artist was given a maximum time limit of 15 minutes. I was fortunate because my show was already 15-plus minutes, so all I had to do was shave some time off. It made me focus like a laser beam on what I really wanted to say.

Freehold also added a layer of luxury by letting us add lights, sound cues, and music. The lights really made a difference in telling the story, and the music we selected was from the big-band era -- perfect for setting the tone of my dad's time. One of the songs we selected was the actual song my father and I used to dance to out on the patio at night. The music added so much beautiful expression. During dress rehearsal, the lighting crew was very helpful in meticulously setting the lights and working with my director on getting the sound cues perfect.

Opening night I had the jitters! I was really nervous! The only people who had seen the performance thus far were my classmates, Teresa and my daughter. I had no idea what to expect. It was a FULL house! I have to say I was extremely surprised to hear the reactions from the crowd. I definitely found out immediately what worked and what didn't. The audience was fantastic, and the enthusiasm for the show was tremendous. People were laughing, crying, cheering and mournfully quiet. I felt so supported, loved and connected to the audience.

Afterwards, the feedback ranged from "You touched my heart" Grown men were crying-Yes,crying- and saying "I know your father, I know what he stood for" One woman thanked me for bringing her boyfriend back, for restoring his faith in live theater! Then, to top the event off, one woman came up to me and said, "When you are ready, I would like to produce your show." Wow! That doesn't happen everyday. I met people who I can now call friends. My confidence increased as a first-time writer, and my creative abilities as an actor skyrocketed. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.

Thank you, Freehold.

******************************************************************** Join us for Freehold's 2014 Incubator Studio Series running two weekends, March 27 - 30 and April 3 - 6 with Program A & B in the first weekend and Programs C & D in the second weekend. Reservations Required via Brown Paper Tickets (Pay What You Can at the Door).

No comments:

Post a Comment