Dec 27 – Bye George!

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While writing my blog my focus has been on myself (and rightly so I should think – it is my blog after all), but today’s blog is dedicated to my teachers, and specifically George Lewis. I’d like to publicly thank my teachers for their incredible dedication and patience in dealing with me.

During the year and a half I have been taking classes I have had four wonderful teachers. George Lewis, Annette Toutonghi, Amy Thone, and Geoff Alm.

The first class I took, Intro to Acting, was with George Lewis. Here is a bit I took of the Freehold page

“…George Lewis (Founding Partner, Associate Director) has been working in the field of movement theatre for over 30 years. His background includes extensive study in corporeal mime with Etienne Decroux in Paris, in the Biomechanics of Meyerhold with Russian master teacher Gennadi Bogdanov, and circus skills at the National Circus School in Paris. His work is deeply steeped in the tradition of ensemble theatre and original creation: he has worked with Mirage and Studebaker in Boston, Omnibus in Montreal, and the Sykes Group in Seattle. He has been teaching acting and movement across the U.S. and Canada since 1978, and currently teaches for the Dalcroye Society down at Cornish College for the Arts, and as core faculty at Freehold.”

George is a great teacher. George is intimidating (and not just to me). He pushes you gleefully, sarcastically, out of your comfort zone, and sometimes you hate him for it. I took the Intro to Acting, Movement, and Personal Clown classes with him, and especially in the case of Clown, because he was the teacher.

I almost didn’t sign up for clown because it sounded intimidating enough and the fact the George was teaching it made me even more scared. I actually had signed up for an improv class instead, but then I switched. I knew the fact that clown scared me so much, was probably an indication that I needed to take it. So I did.

It was a profound class, and I am grateful that I took it. Even more so now because George is leaving Freehold, at least for the while, and who knows when the opportunity to work with him will come up again. Here is an article about him leaving here.

Universally my teachers have been supportive and encouraging, which I know is their job, but they seem to really enjoy it (then again, they are actors…hmmm). Still, I am going to think it is genuine.

The other night I got to see them perform. Freehold was having a benefit and going away party for George. The teachers all did little scenes. It was great to see. I haven’t really seen any of them perform, with the exception of Annette Toutonghi, whom I just saw in The Women at ACT Theatre recently.

I enjoyed all the performances. They were good, which is what you would hope since they are supposed to know their stuff so they can teach it to me. Although I guess they only have to be better than me, which at this point wouldn’t take much.

After the benefit there was a going away party for George. It was very touching to see. He was sad about leaving and started to cry. Robin Lynn Smith the other founding member of Freehold there, started to also cry. Other people cried. It was very emotional. I got to say goodbye to George and got some last words of encouragement from. He said it was great working with me and that I should keep going. When you hear stuff like that from someone you respect, what can you do? I plan to keep going.

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