Working with a group mixed with Mad Scientists and Monsters (I will let you decide who is who) known as the Monsterpiece Artist Collective (MpAC) we are constantly exploring new creation through Monster Labs. These labs combine practical work on new shows, skill building, and creative exploration. The goal is to walk through the hallways of our collective mind, open each door, kick down the ones that are locked and knock down all the walls until we find what we were looking for. Sometimes that becomes a new show like Moldavia-on-Hudson in 2014, a full scale production created from our work in the Lab. Below two MpAC members talk about an early Lab and where it took them.
Sunday's MPAC was a blast! We started with going around and telling our worst Shakespeareance. From there, we wrote positive adjectives about each other and really learned how everyone saw each other. It put everyone in the right mind set to create. Then, the games began. We were divided into groups and were tasked with different sketches. My group had to do "cartoon characters in the future/reunited" in the spirit of Brett Royal's Dog Sees God. Another group had to take the opening monologue from Love's Labors Lost and rework it as a spell for the witches from MacBeth. The last group did a completely silent scene in the vein of the second act of Noises Off. They were all immensely different, but equally as good. We took time apart to put everything together, came back, and performed them. Then, most importantly, and frequently overlooked, we discussed what happened. We talked about what the process was like, what worked, what didn't, and ideas that came up unintentionally. It was such a wonderfully positive collective of artists to get to play with. Can't wait for the next one!
-John Detty: Monster in residence
As John pointed out this process was a really fun and exciting three hours! More importantly, however, these activities serve as a conduit for true creation. As a fellow member of the collective, I feel that there is nothing greater than finding a group of people with whom I share a true and safe connection. During the meeting, we were able to push aside things like petty competition, fear of failure, and our own personal insecurities. Without doing so, we would not have been able to create really good art. In the coming months, we hope to continue this work by pushing ourselves with even more thought provoking artistic endeavors. Beyond the actual work, we strive to deepen our understanding of artistic expression by constantly discussing questions such as: What was exciting, what questions do I have, and what did this make me feel? Asking questions such as these forces us to delve further, and challenge our own understanding. Questions break down barriers that need to be broken, and push us past our own preconceptions. For example, during the Love Labor’s/Witches mash up the actors, through creative expression, took an otherwise light piece and turned it into a provocatively serious piece. Through their art they smashed through what we previously knew about the monologue and shaped it into something completely different. Or during the cartoon scene, a suitcase became a casket for the character Snarf; changing our perception of the suitcase completely. It is this kind of work that makes me so excited. I love breaking down original thoughts and turning it into something completely different. I think that’s what we, at Monsterpiece, do: tell provocative stories, break down notions, pretty much be the most fearless monsters on the block.
“A mind once stretched by a new idea, can never regain it’s original dimensions” -Oliver Wendel Holmes