Posts Tagged ‘8 Roles’

My Friend John Wulp: A Man of Many Roles

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

My friend John and I have known each other for 44 years. He is 88, I am 69, and when I recently told him for the first time that I love him, he laughed and said “OK”.

My friend John Wulp, in 1977

My friend John Wulp in 1977 

In 1973, my husband, Roger Morgan, introduced me to John as a Photographer, Scenic Designer, Painter, Playwright, Lyricist, Broadway Producer, Chef, Professor and Entrepreneur; I thought he was joking.  Over the years, however, I watched as this exceptional man collected Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards, while somehow managing to found the Playwrights Horizons Theatre School along the way.

As John Guare wrote in the introduction to John’s 2003 autobiography, John Wulp: ”Wouldn’t a bewildering array of identities imply no identity at all? Maybe, but in Wulp’s case that elusoriness of identity, its very multiples, become part of his intriguing and powerful persona.”

John is a solitary fellow; he’s never married or sustained a longterm relationship. Over the decades I’ve watched him listen to his muse (though he never called it that) as he seemingly stumbled into his next project. His unflagging spirit was inspiring. 

About a year ago John began to phone me from his home in Vinalhaven, Maine, to read me poems he’d written. Poems, John?  I’m not a poetry person!  Maybe that’s what appealed to him, because he kept calling for weeks, and I listened to not just a few poems, but hundreds… he said he just couldn’t stop. 

In fact, a collection of his poems was released a few weeks ago: 

Cormorant Time – A Madman’s Journal – Poems Written in a Time of Fever

So John has added yet another role to his life. 

CORMORANT TIME 

Cormorant time
Is devouring me
Alive
Each day it eats
A part of me
The very heart and soul of me
And yet I feel
More alive
Than I’ve ever felt before 

Published by Hugh Martin, edited by Philip Conkling: ISBN 978-0-692-80513-8 © 2016  

John with his portrait of neighbor (Name) Crossfield

John with his portrait of Foy Brown, a neighbor in Maine  

 

Recently I was compelled to call John to let him know how important he’s been to me over the years, and that he was my model for an artistic life.

It was when I told him I loved him and he laughed and said “OK”.

It meant so much to me.

“OK”.

Theatrical Intelligence: What Does It Mean And Why Does It Matter?

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Summary

A dear friend asked me recently, while looking oh-so-confused:  “What IS Theatrical Intelligence, anyway?”

I was mortified. 

I thought to myself, I’d better write A SUMMARY to explain what it means and why it matters.

So here goes:

Theatrical Intelligence is a system that identifies and captures your unique area of talent in order to bring it into your work and your workplace. It’s based on the theatrical production model, which is built on the foundation of all theatre: COLLABORATION.

Why does this matter? 

73% of Americans describe themselves as not engaged or actively disengaged at work1. This is disturbing!

I’m convinced that we all come into the world with multiple intelligences2., and as we morph into grownups, somehow it disappears. Theatrical Intelligence is a system that can bring it back to life; it re-defines the way we engage in our work and in our workplace. I call it “the fun part of being smart”.

The system consists of EIGHT ROLES, SIX PRINCIPLES and EIGHT PHASES.

A. THE EIGHT ROLES are the professionals required for a commercial, theatrical production. ONE (or more) role probably describes you:
1. PLAYWRIGHT
2. PRODUCER
3. ACTOR
4. DIRECTOR
5. DESIGNER
6. MANAGER
7. TECHNICIAN
8. CRITIC
 
B. THE SIX PRINCIPLES are shared by every person working on the production:
 
1. EVERYONE SHARES THE SAME GOAL 
The success of the show is top priority for every stakeholder. 
2. EVERYONE SHARES AN EQUIVALENT RISK 
If the show is a bust, if tickets don’t sell, the show closes and payroll stops.
3. COLLABORATION RULES!
Everyone knows what everyone else does, and respects it.
4. THE WORK MATTERS
The show has some personal meaning to every professional working on it. 
5. FAILURE IS YOUR FRIEND
It’s the quickest way to learn.      
6. SUCCESS REQUIRES THE COURAGE TO STEP INTO THE UNKNOWN
Entering unexplored territory leads to defining tomorrow’s standard.  
 
C. THE EIGHT PHASES One (or more) role “takes the lead” in each of the phases, supported by other roles as required. The remaining roles fade into the background, active if necessary, according to the phase of production. 
 
1. CREATION  
Leader: PLAYWRIGHT 
Support (if the work is commissioned): Producer
2. DEVELOPMENT 
Leader: PLAYWRIGHT 
Support: Actor/Director
3. PRE-PRODUCTION
Leader: PRODUCER 
Support: Director/Designer/Manager/Technician
4. REHEARSAL
Leaders: DIRECTOR/ACTOR
Support: Producer/ Playwright/Manager
5. PRODUCTION* 
Leaders: MANAGER/TECHNICIAN
Support: Producer/Director/Designer
6. TECHNICAL REHEARSALS/PREVIEWS* 
Leaders: DIRECTOR/DESIGNER
Support: Manager/Technician
7. OPENING 
Leader: CRITIC
Support: Playwright/Director/Actor/Designer 
8. RUN OF PLAY
Leader: PRODUCER
Support: Critic/Playwright/Director/Actor/Designer/Manager/Technician
 
*5 and *6 are concurrent phases

It’s a great gift to have spent almost 50 years in the theatre industry. It has given me the opportunity to observe the impact of theatre on a wide range of non-theatre folks. It’s fascinating and fun. I’ve led Theatrical Intelligence workshops that have opened new perspectives and exciting possibilities to many who begin in that 73%, and then happily join the 27-percenters.

So I’m continuing to define (and refine) the concept. Please let me know if you’re intrigued by this, or if you have any questions. And thanks in advance for helping me spread the word about Theatrical Intelligence… it really is the fun part of being smart!

 

1. Feeling Good Matters in the Workplace: Jan 12, 2010, Gallup Management Journal.

2. Multiple Intelligences: Harvard Professor Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences differentiates it into specific  “modalities”, rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general ability. Gardner introduced the theory in his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple IntelligencesHe has been acclaimed as the most influential educational theorist since John Dewey.

 

A Theatrical Love Story

Thursday, September 8th, 2011
 
I’d like to introduce you to a great love of mine. Mind you, I’m not alone: hundreds of other theatre professionals continue to participate in our love circle of 33 years, including my husband.
 
Please meet THE ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE (EST). 

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve been a member of EST since 1978. My husband and business partner, Roger Morgan, is a founding member who signed the original articles of incorporation in 1968, alongside EST’s Founder, the late Curt Dempster

EST is a safe haven for several hundred theatre professionals who apply for free membership based on:

1) the quality of their work

2) their commitment to collaboration. 

Actors, writers, producers, directors, designers, managers, technicians and critics (the 8 Roles of Theatrical Intelligence I write about on this blog), become “Ensemble Artists”.

THE ENSEMBLE in the theatre’s name = its members.

STUDIO = a “theatre gym”, where members gather for vigorous workouts and candid de-briefs from fellow members and the artistic staff.

THEATRE = Place: 549 West 52nd Street, Hell’s Kitchen. In spite of its grit and an occasional mouse, it is passionately loved by its users.

These three elements = THE ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE, which provides a lifeline to creativity throughout the best (as well as the worst) years in the lives of its artists.

Since its inception, EST has developed an astonishing 6,000+ plays. More importantly, it continues to nurture its artists for as long as they care to be nurtured, using its own collaborative technique.

With a current annual budget of $1.3 million, EST has been recognized by the American Theater Wing, the NY Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk Awards and Village Voice Obies; collectively, its members have won Pulitzers, Oscars, Tonys, Golden Globes… the list goes on.

So why does this trashy little place matter so much to its members?

To use myself as an example, I dared to write, direct, produce, and spread my wings as an artist at EST. I had never stepped into any of these roles before.

In 1987, EST actress Christine Farrell asked if I’d join a group of leading ladies in an evening of our own making. She knew that we’d never be cast in the same play, and she simply wanted to be onstage together for a change, instead of competing for the same roles. EST member Pamela Berlin joined us as DIrector.

We wrote, workshopped, disagreed, re-wrote, disagreed better, re-wrote better, learned to trust, performed, published and produced MAMA DRAMA, a collaborative piece that is still performed in academic and community theatres nationwide.

My development as a leader is directly attributable to EST. By the late-80’s I was sick of performing, but I wasn’t trained to do anything else. I wanted to work ON a play instead of IN it. Because EST members are able to initiate their own projects, I did. I wrote. Directed. Managed. Experimented. Convinced people to work with me for free.

It became clear to me that I could bring a project to life by identifying strengths in my collaborators that they didn’t necessarily know they had. The trick was to reflect them back so they were somehow quantifiable.  Each time this happened, a profound level of trust was established in the group and we often believed that together we could do anything! (This was frequently followed by a spectacular and unforgettable failure.)

Immediately after the experience of writing, directing and producing, I shifted my career, a direct result of exploring these roles. Writing is now one of my great passions and part of my daily life, and it would never have happened without EST. It’s where I discovered my “CEO shoes”, and they fit so comfortably I never wanted to take them off.

Curt, Christine, Leslie, Rita, Annie, Donna, Marianna and Pam changed my life.

There are many EST stories just like mine. Why? Because this theatre is the place to try out new stuff and know that it’s OK to fail. In fact, absence of failure is a bit suspect, and falling flat on your face is certainly the quickest way to learn: check out the 6 Principles of Theatrical Intelligence.

And at EST, once a member always a member, so we get to fail again and again!

These days I’m back at EST experimenting in yet another role: Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. 

I believe it’s essential to spread the word about this model of creativity, and work to ensure that it builds a financial foundation for its future. Because EST is not only a theatre that is deeply loved – it is a theatre that knows how to love back.

What could be better than that?

 

Photo above left: The Ensemble Studio Theatre by Christopher Cayaba

Photo above right: MAMA DRAMA, clockwise from left: Leslie Ayvazian, Christine Farrell, Rita Nachtmann, Anne O’Sullivan, Ann Sachs (seated, center). Not pictured: Director Pamela Berlin, Donna Daley and Marianna Houston.

If you’d like to see what’s going on at EST: please join us!

 

Theatrical Intelligence Workshop: NYC

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

There is more to what you do than meets the eye.

And it cannot be seen through a regular lens...

Learn to look through another lens: use Theatrical Intelligence.

What is Theatrical Intelligence? It’s a process that uses theatre concepts to impact work performance. In this workshop you’ll identify the role(s) you were born to play by tapping into one or more of its 8 roles as your own creative strength.

Join us in a supportive, collaborative environment, and discover “the fun part of being smart!”


The ACADEMi of LIFE

presents

A Theatrical Intelligence Workshop

THE MUSE HOTEL

130 West 46th (6th & 7th)

$195. (lunch included)

REGISTER HERE (Click CLASSES)


WORKSHOP LEADER:

ANN SACHS: President and CEO of Sachs Morgan Studio, former leading actress on Broadway; award winning entrepreneur and founder of Theatrical Intelligence.

“There is no joy in living without joy in work.” Thomas Aquinas


Rocco at TCG: Back From Peoria

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Rocco Landesman

Rocco Landesman

Rocco Landesman had just gotten off the plane from Peoria on Saturday when he arrived at the Theatre Communications Group Fall Forum. We were a group of about 120 TCG theatre members and board chairs, gathered at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea. (Full disclosure: I am neither a theatre member nor a board chair; I had received special permission to attend.*) Everyone in the room was honored that Rocco had carved out the time to meet with us so early in his tenure at NEA, and we were eager to hear what he had to say.

I don’t know Rocco well, although he was our Studio landlord for a few years. As he walked in I didn’t so much assault him as take the opportunity to congratulate him on his provocative entrance into his new role, and to express my hope that he wasn’t discouraged by his critics. His response: “Ann, I’m 62. I’m not about to change now.” I don’t know why I expected anything different, but it was so reassuring to hear those words I almost threw my arms around him and kissed him on the lips. I tend to be a little over-the-top in situations like this, so decided against it.

Rocco opened his talk by telling us about a “gruesome meeting on the Hill” recently, after which he told his wife Debby it reminded him of a favorite old country song: Joe South’s These Are Not My People. Then he told us that he was relieved to be here, because “…you ARE my people!” Vigorous applause. It  felt good to be included.

He drew a parallel between the theatre as “the most aspirational of activities” and the Obama administration as driven by aspiration. In his no-nonsense-get-to-the-bottom-line style, he respectfully referred to our President as an artist “…who has faced the blank page” and succeeded in that perilous journey. And he spoke passionately about the theatre as “…the most essential, the most basic and primal of all human activities; the activity that appeals to our deepest needs and impulses.” It was stirring. “I mean it’s gossip – we’re overhearing people talk when we go to a play!” Impeccable timing.

He went on to explain that if we hadn’t heard about “Art Works” yet, we would soon, with its triplicate meaning :

1. Art works on the wall, as in “a piece of art”.

2. Art works to transform lives, as in his case, he was changed forever when he saw Long Days Journey…

3. Art IS work!  As in: there are 5.7 million arts related jobs in our country.

Rocco spoke from his heart, and didn’t refer much to his scribbled notes on a yellow pad. He admitted that the Chairmanship is still so new to him he hasn’t figured out how it works. He is comfortable in his discomfort, however, and is not afraid to fail. It is one of the reasons I’m so excited about his arrival in Washington; he is living proof of the Theatrical Intelligence principle: failure is the quickest way to learn.

He was a good sport and answered a few questions we had submitted earlier in the day. His lack of endorsement for ‘No Child Left Behind’ was palpable: “It leaves too many children behind who could be saved by arts programs.” He spoke of a charter school in New Orleans which gave him a glimpse into an inspired program, as he watched young children start the day singing Fats Domino songs.

And he answered my question (don’t even ask how thrilled I was) which was “By what measure will you define your success at NEA?” His answer was to tell of the crusty old New Englander who was asked his advice about what makes a happy life. His answer: faster horses, younger women, better whiskey, and more money.

Rocco: I’ll let the first three go, but without a doubt the way I’ll be judged is by how much money I can bring into the NEA. What can I say? I am optimistic. And with apologies to Mel Brooks – perhaps my optimism is delusional –  I can’t help it, I’m a broadway producer.

Applause. Standing ovation. Exit.

My opinion? Perfect casting.

*I was meeting Futurist Jack Uldrich, a Twitter pal, who had presented a stimulating talk on “unlearning” earlier in the day.


Welcome!

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Are you wondering what Theatrical Intelligence is? Simply put, it is a process I have developed based on the theatrical production model, to bring joy and creativity into the workplace. It’s the fun part of being smart!

It came about as a result of my personal career shift from working IN the theatre to working ON the theatre, which (for me) meant working in a more businesslike environment.  My first three blogposts form a trilogy describing the way my professional experience gradually grew into this new venture.

Theatrical Intelligence has six principles and eight roles (listed below).

Peak performance - an "A" in lights

THE SIX PRINCIPLES

1. Everyone shares the same goal
2. Everyone shares an equivalent risk
3. Collaboration rules
4. The work matters
5. Failure is your friend, and the fastest way to learn
6. Success comes with the courage of stepping into the unknown

THE EIGHT ROLES

1. Writer
2. Actor
3. Director
4. Producer
5. Designer
6. Manager
7. Technician
8. Critic

I will be blogging about this concept (and related subjects) and you are invited to join the conversation.  

Cheers!