Had a great weekend in Fayetteville, NC, where I went to visit my friend Dr. Michael Martin, the director of Choral Activities and Music Education at Methodist University. I had met him a few years back through my work as a presentation coach and choreographer for barbershop choirs (thanks to Dr. Bill Adams and the Austin Chord Rangers for bringing me into the barbershop world!). (If you want a nice mental picture, think of me in Austin, TX in the late 90s developing a dance routine for fifty men, aged 16-90, to spice up their rousing rendition of “Rubber Ducky.”)
Well, Michael liked my teaching style, and he was intrigued by the idea of my mask work. But he’d never seen it. He took a leap of faith and secured funding to bring me to Methodist to give a lecture/demonstration for the public on commedia dell’arte and mask performance. Then he asked arranged a workshop for the Music and Theatre majors on physical theatre. So, that’s what I did! Friday night was the lecture/demo, during which I brought out my masks to illustrate the history of commedia, as well as where I’m going with it in my present work. I can confidently say that Brighina, Stupino, and Punch rocked the house! On Saturday morning, we had about 30 majors all strutting and slouching around, creating original characters from the ground up. Enormous fun–plus, I got to visit with Michael and his family, and learn a little bit about Fayetteville. Next up: Gould Academy in Bethel, ME in two weeks!