In the last five years, Anna Fuerstenberg has directed two of her plays; Blind Dates has been produced, updated and reissued. It is also in the "deal memo" stage of being written and produced as a musical film. Tale of Two Cities, an adaptation of Dickens' novel, was produced at the King Center in Denver, Colorado. The writer has participated in the Telefilm seminar with The Krakovian Nose and is under contract to write the film script for that film noir. In 2008 she dramaturged and directed CROSSROADS, a musical, at the Centaur Theatre in Montréal. She also toured the Gaspésie for the Playwrights Guild of Canada and gave workshops and performances in various cities.
Tale of Two Cities
Blind Dates Two
*These titles have been suggested by the author based on the activities that he/she proposes to students.
It is, however, up to teachers to verify whether the titles are appropriate for their groups (age and education level, specific context, etc.).
Teaching staff are invited to contact the author for clarification on this aspect and assistance in preparing their groups for his/her visit.
Proposed approach and type of activities
Before arriving at any given school, Anna Fuerstenberg asks the school or the teacher to send monologues, dialogues and texts that students have written and she conducts a workshop when she arrives. She asks the teachers to send her a text which is being read in class and she conducts workshops on how to perform that book or story in class. She conducts a series of theatre exercises, writing exercises and performance exercises in a context chosen by the teacher. She offers a complete theatre workshop centering on reading, writing and communication skills.
Examples of activities
- Depending on the needs of the teacher, theatre and playwrighting can be used to enhance the assigned literary texts or to create new and original texts.
- The teacher would find the "burning issue", the students would do the research, and the artist and participants would work together on creating a performance text that best conveys the point of view of the class.
- One example is a month-long project on teenage pregnancy in an all-girls high school. The teacher and students decided on the issue and did the research .. and even wrote some of the monologues. When the artist arrived, she was able to help shape the material into a viable performance piece.
- ln younger classes, the work focuses on using the theatre exercises and games, on teaching real skills and on cooperation...
- One example is the creation of a giant acoustic rhythm machine involving ten or twelve children. They must maintain their part of the rhythm while listening very carefully to the efforts of their classmates.
- For older grades, the artist asks the teacher to assign certain exercises and monologues before she arrives and in her capacity as a dramaturge the artist helps students to polish and develop their work.
- ln younger grades she does theatre workshops ... how to take an old story and make it new ... i.e. take all the Canadian icons and incorporate them into fairy tales ... Iike the three Iittle beavers or Little red riding tuque.
- The artist uses a series of exercises and games to teach the basics of performance and story telling and cooperation.
- At the secondary level, the artist and the participants deal with how to turn a "burning Issue" into a performance piece.
- How to take a text in prose and bring it to life as "Reader's Theatre".
- How to create a monologue or dialogue "with a distinctive and individual voice".
- How to build a "character arc" in a story.
Other examples of activities
- Theatre games for mime speech diction and story-telling.
- Collaborative theatre games and building stories.
- Writing for the stage and performance skills.
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