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You’re Asking Me To Do What???

Updated: Aug 3, 2018

Hi! Martha here!

When Dandelion Theatre asked me if I wanted to be a part of a devised work I jumped at the chance. I had always loved Dandelion Theatre having been a part of their The Make Ready events, both as an actor and a writer, and attending their productions. I gave a resounding yes without a clue what a devised work was. Coming to theatre after retiring from teaching there has been a lot I’ve missed. Even after getting an explanation I didn’t really know what to expect.

I was nervous to attend the first rehearsal but everyone seemed nice and supportive and some of the theater games were familiar. We also began sharing a variety of ideas: global, community based, and personal. This went on for many rehearsals and again, I wondered where it was all going.

L-R: Amber Hugee (Daphne) and Martha Hansen (Sylvia), Photo credit: Shirley Nannini

Then we began to improvise. Amber, a fellow cast member, was someone I felt I knew the first time I saw her. We actually thought we had met before but then realized we hadn’t. When the two of us improvised a therapy session scene together the rush of feeling and intensity that arose surprised me. It was wonderful! Ironically, it was the only improvised scene from the whole project where the recording we made of it mysteriously went missing. But it was the beginning of a series of improvisations that led us in many directions.

I have loved watching how all our characters have become more real, nuanced, richer and complex over time. In the shower, I would get insights into why a certain event occurred or what was behind a statement my character Sylvia made. Sometimes it would be an insight into her past. It was fascinating.

Photo credit: Shirley Nannini

The first time we read our improvised scenes in script form I was so surprised! It seemed remarkable to me that the words flowing from an improvisation took on a life of their own. And even the whittling, editing and shaping of the scripts were enjoyable. If something seemed incomplete we would just continue with the improvisation.

The first run through of this work seemed a bit rough and scary to me but as we kept rehearsing the moments became clear. All of us continue to grow and evolve with every performance.

I have relished every part of this process. The other ensemble members inspire me. I love watching them perform. How fortunate and grateful I am to be a part of Everything In Between.



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