In 2009, we began working with a group of actors who dedicated themselves to the development of Tell It Slant, a play by Sharmon J. Hilfinger with music by Joan McMillen. This development process extended over three months, during which we rehearsed three to four times a week. The script and music were fairly well developed when we started the rehearsal process; what remained was to create a performance ensemble and devise a physical reality for this play about Emily Dickinson. Under the direction of Rachel Anderson, this group of eight actors and one pianist created what we now refer to as the Slanters Performance Ensemble. The first run of Tell It Slant (Pear Avenue Theatre, 2009) was entirely sold-out, so we took the production toSan Francisco, Southside Theater,FortMason, in the spring of 2010.
The formation of the Slanters Performance Ensemble has greatly influenced how we are developing our next BootStrap production, Hanging Georgia. Working together since June, 2008, the Performance Ensemble has a common language for collaborating and a high level of trust. Having the continuity of a working performance group is a dream come true for us!
Take a peek at our process on our Current Production page. The video clip is from an improvisation in our first Hanging Georgia workshop. This may look like a choreographed dance to you, but it was created completely spontaneously. Workshop Director Rachel Anderson asked two of the actors to make shapes inspired by three of O'Keeffe's abstract painting, and the rest of the actors were told to frame them. Joan McMillen (piano) and Susanne Wong (violin) improvise the music as the actors work. Take a look!