16 Nov 2012, 1:09 PM by frank, Life Stories
On November 12th, students of Urban Arts Partnerships Academy Theater program, Life Stories, had the opportunity to sit in on rehearsals for The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and write about what they saw. Here are their thoughts!
WOW is something I can say right off the bat. Did I just experience that? Did I just see one of my favorite actresses? Best believe I did! All thanks to Urban Arts Partnership. I love this program so much. It brought me way closer to my passion, which is acting. Not only did they give me a chance to perform on an off-Broadway stage, but I learn more and more each class with Julia & Franks help.
Some of my classmates and I were offered to attend the rehearsals of, "The 24 Hour Plays" at the American Airlines Theatre, where there were movie stars including, Vanessa Hudgens, America Ferrera, Jason Biggs , Eddie K. and more. As we watched the plays that we were assigned to, we would take notes and observe on how they rehearse.
At 11am, when I first received my play, the first thing I did was read it and find the genre and the characters objectives and almost immediately, it's time to see their first rehearsal! It was exciting watching Vanessa Hudgens act on a Broadway stage instead of on TV. She was having fun with the script and that's how I feel like it should always be. When I was in The 24 Hour Plays I was just so focused on trying to remember my lines! I was nervous since it was my first time, but at the end of the day you’re suppose to enjoy the play as much as the audience and the directors do. I didn't realize how hard The 24 Hour Plays were for the directors. So it's good to see their smiles after the entire finished product.
When I watched the plays I started to notice that these movie stars make mistakes as well! I don't know about you, but I felt if they were on TV, they would be perfect on stage. But no, they had their laughs and their mistakes, which made me realize acting is a really hard thing to do and that it's ok to always make mistakes because it will get you to improve more and more.
I really appreciate Urban Arts Partnership for letting me experience such great opportunities, Thank you so much! I had a great time.
While everyone was on stage rehearsing their lines and figuring out the blocking for "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing", written by Adam Bock, starring America Ferrara, Rachel Dratch, Jason Biggs, and Eddie K. Thomas, I was sitting in the audience observing their every move. It’s only several hours before The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway starts, but I noticed how comfortable they were on stage. It seemed like everything came so natural to them; even through their first run when the director corrected them and he kept throwing out new ideas in order to make the scene look better. The cast members didn't complain or give attitude they just listened and followed orders. They worked well together and cooperated with each other, which made the scene funnier and very interesting to watch.
I’ve had a love for acting ever since I was a very young girl. Watching others that feel the same as I do brings me a sense of comfort to want to continue to pursue my dreams as an actress. It is an amazing feeling to be able to get on stage in front of an audience and be someone else. You can be poor, rich, a teacher, an astronaut, a doctor, a child, an adult the stage brings so much to life. The scene that they worked on brought zombies to life with a twist of romance. My favorite line was when Julie who is played by Rachel Dratch tells Alison that she is going on a date and Alison says, “J dating?” Julie says, "No I'm Z dating" This is when Alison figured out that Julie was going out with a Zombie.
After the first run through I was able to catch them on their lunch break and ask them a few questions. I asked Jason Biggs if he preferred to work in theater or film, and he replied "They both have its benefits but something about theatre not having edited performances that makes it exciting.” When asked what he liked best about the project, he says he likes the opportunity to support the youth, which is a great feeling. I also approached America Ferrara with the same questions and her reply was "The 24 Hour Plays are fun and a great experience that helps you think on your toes. It is also a great cause" I then asked her if she was more comfortable with comedy roles or dramatic roles. She stated, "I am comfortable with both, but it is always great to spend a day with laughs".
As a student of the Urban Arts/ Life Stories I am proud of what I have learned and all of the people I have met. I have many friends from different areas in NYC that I may not have met without this program. Watching my development and the development of others is inspirational. Learning the do's and don'ts of acting and theatre language that I am unable to obtain in an ordinary school environment; makes me appreciate the experience of The 24 Hour Plays even more.
Recently, iʼve gotten the chance to see the rehearsal process big time actors take while getting ready for The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. The 24 Hour Plays happen in one day, and from beginning til the end, every moment spent around actors and directors was incredible. My teacher Julia Grob gave us helpful tips on how to approach actors and take notes on their rehearsal.
I first walk into the theater early Monday morning. Everything is still quiet. I get the script ill be working on. it was a comedy, ironically one about Sam Rockwell who was one of the actors in the play. The play was called “Reservation for Rockwell” by Johnathan Marc Sherman. The cast consisted of great actors: Justin Long, Billy Crudup, Olivia Wilde, and Sam Rockwell. I was honored being able to see the process it took for them bring the script to life on stage. Seeing how they all connected on stage amazed me.
Rehearsal is very important during The 24 Hour Plays for the actors and directors. There isn’t much time on stage for every detail to be perfected. This is why you need to be focused at all times. While I was taking notes, all thoughout the rehearsal the actors were laughing, but I still noticed how hard working they were. I remember hearing the cast before their first rehearsal on stage saying “Own It”. And to be honest, they did! They were on top of their lines and cues. Second rehearsal was quick because they were focused, I saw how each actor took directions very well as the director gave them, especially bringing the characters from the writing to life.
I didn’t get the chance to ask them questions because even on their break they were going over lines and making sure they became the character as best as possible. Being able to experience the The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway opened my eyes. The cast worked very hard in bringing the characters to life. Through out their process from getting the scripts, to rehearsing to the stage, I saw them grow and develop skills towards their final performance.
02 Aug 2012, 10:28 AM by frank, Urban Arts Master Classes
This marks the 5th summer of implementing The 24 Hour Plays: Off-Broadway at the end of the Life Stories Youth Ensemble academic year and beginning of the summer intensive. The weekend, presented by our long-time partner Montblanc, is a great opportunity for our veteran students to partner with new members of the ensemble to showcase their talents, participate in team building activities & learn from industry professionals.
The creative process for The 24 Hours Plays: Off-Broadway began at 10am on Saturday, July 14th when a group of 4 writers (former UAP playwriting students) and 17 actors (new & longstanding members of the Life Stories Youth Ensemble) gathered at the Urban Arts office to work on writing and acting exercises with Urban Arts Teaching Artists Julia Grob and The New Group member Matthew Klein.
The program kicked off with an orientation to help the writers and actors prepare for the long weekend ahead. Each participant brought a prop, presented a special talent and divulged something that he or she has always wanted to do on stage.
The next team activity was a character generating workshop where each actor was given prompts from which to create a short monologue.
While the actors continued their ensemble building exercises, the playwrights began to get their ideas flowing. At the end of the day, the actors left the writers to draft and edit their plays. With the help of Matthew Klein, they began by continuously writing without pause for twenty minutes. They were then able to use that content to start drafting their final pieces.
On Sunday morning, Guest Directors Gbenga Akinnagbe, Gina Rodriguez, Raviv Ullman, and Michael Kenneth Williams joined the cast and crew at The Cell Theatre. Artistic Board Chair Rosie Perez also stopped by to give performance notes. Over the next nine hours, the plays were blocked, staged and rehearsed. The shows were performed at 7pm for a group of family and friends, it was a packed house!
CAST & CREW
By Anthony Naranjo
Directed by Michael Kenneth Williams
Assistant Director Anthony Naranjo
Benjamin Phillips - Bradford
Kayla Robinson – Reese Peace
Hannah Dahm - Sarah
Maria Paredes - Lola
Krysten Washington - Lisa
By Chris Patterson
Directed By Gbenga Akinnagbe
Assistant Director Maxine Batchler
Isaiah Alicea - Fred
Frank Olea - Tony
Celine Cabrera - Rosa
Oladimeji Akinwande - Mark
By Anuradha Golder
Directed by Gina Rodriguez
Assistant Director Maynor Alas
Haskiri Velazquez - Scarlett
Shanasia Robinson - Katherine
Eunisha Tucker - Chelsea
Shawn Telesford – Taylor
By Jorge Garzon
Directed by Raviv Ullman
Assistant Director Diogenes Martinez
Ferdinand Oquendo - Ben
Roderick Velazquez - Marcus
Zierah Robinson - Stacy
Katherine Alba - Gwen
Thank you to Presenting Sponsor Montblanc, the staff and board of The New Group and Urban Arts Partnership, our Guest Directors, and our audience! Special thanks also to Nancy Manocherian, Kira Simring and everyone at The Cell!
18 May 2012, 4:52 PM by frank, Urban Arts Master Classes
On Wednesday, May 9th, Montblanc North America President and CEO Jan-Patrick Schmitz led a Photography Master Class at Newcomers High School in Queens, his second session with Urban Arts students.
Jan-Patrick is not only a champion of Urban Arts Partnership, but also an avid photographer who has amassed a portfolio of millions of images. After lesson-planning and preparation with Teaching Artist Seren Divine, Jan-Patrick stepped into the after school photography class to share his experience and passion for portraiture with 22 students.
Jan-Patrick kicked off the session by explaining concepts essential to portrait photography: story, shape, structure, color, depth, lines, and, most importantly: light and shadow. The class then looked at examples of each of these aspects of composition.
The class broke into small groups, collected their cameras, and shot their own portraits at stations that offered natural light, artificial light, and hot lights. Jan-Patrick worked individually with groups, providing pointers and encouraging their creative ideas. He also offered a few students the opportunity to work with his SLR camera and 180 degree lens.
After the shoot, the class viewed a few samples of the work generated during the Master Class and reflected on how much they learned in just a one-hour session. (Examples below). Jan-Patrick encouraged the young photographers to keep shooting and learning, ending on an observation about the universal nature of the art:
"Body language can say so much. Even if you don't speak the same language, body language tells a story. That is one reason that photography is so powerful."
“[With photography] You can express yourself – it can tell others how you’re feeling. I learned how to use a corkboard to give light from the other side and focus on the face. I’m so excited!” – Sarah, 11th Grade
18 Apr 2012, 12:19 PM by keith, Middle School
We recently conducted Parent Workshops at two of our partner schools in Manhattan, IS 528 in Washington Heights and MS 258 Community Action School on the Upper West Side. These hands-on arts workshops give our students' families the opportunity to experience what students have been working on in our programs.
At IS 528, we held two music-related workshops- a digital music production class led by teaching artist Karamba Sise and a drumming workshop taught by Harold Akyeampong. In Karamba's workshop, parents listened to examples of original music created by the students and then explored making their own tracks in GarageBand. In Harold's workshop, parents explored using congas to create various rhythms with their hands and drumsticks. A short video clip of the group working a beat using drumsticks is below:
Teaching artist Katherine Toukhy also led parents through a visual arts workshop that used the work of Haitian and Dominican artist Fireili Baez as inspiration for participants to create original pieces in watercolor and collage that celebrated the female form. The group enjoyed experimenting with watercolor technique and creating their own works that reflected the way that Baez refelcts her cultural identity in her work.
At MS 258 Community Action School, the workshop centered around issues related to bullying and cyber-bullying. Students and parents came together to discuss the kinds of behaviors that constitute bullying, and how cyber-bullying is different from other kinds of bullying behavior. After viewing examples of web videos created by young people to tell their stories of how they overcame challenges related to bullying, the group created their own video to help spread a positive anti-bullying message:
09 Feb 2012, 5:05 PM by keith, Middle School
As part of the Expanded Learning Time pilot program at MS 258 Community Action School, teaching artist Brendan Boland has been partnering with Ms. Dyer, the school's math teacher, to lead a math and art integration program. Students participate in the program as part of the school's "Saturday School" academic enrichment program. Brendan and Ms. Dyer's program uses the arts to help students understand math concepts in new ways.
The group has been focusing on topics related to measurement, graphing, coordinates, positive and negative numbers, scale and proportion. Their current project involves students using a grid to help them create their own drawing by enlarging an image by surrealist Paul Klee. Students will then create an even larger version of the image by drawing and painting on pieces of canvas which will be assembled like a puzzle. The group also plans to shoot a video documenting how their painting comes together.
"We've been working on grids. We have to measure out the grid to make our drawing. It's kind of hard to make sure things are not too big or too small. It's a fun way to learn math and art at the same time." - Heaven, 6th grade
"We are working on "Sinbad the Sailor" by Paul Klee. We're learning how to find the coordinates, which relates to math, and how to draw carefully, which relates to art. My favortie part was drawing the fish and the sailor and looking at all the details. I like learning art and math together because it helps us learn math better. I think this project is really fun." - Iyanatu, 6th grade
- The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway: Our Students Report!
- Academy Summer Program Kicks off with The 24 Hour Plays, Presented by Montblanc
- Jan-Patrick Schmitz Photography Master Class at Newcomers High School
- Parent Workshops at IS 528 and MS 258 Community Action
- Math and Art Integration Pilot Program at MS 258 Community Action School
- Debut Gallery Show at UAP Offices
- Parent Workshops at PS 48M
- Experimental Videos at MS 258 Community Action School
- Happy New Year and PS 40 has an I Teach I Learn
- PS 48Q's animation class