Curtain Razors - Experimental Theater, Regina
Michele Sereda was a sessional lecturer at the University of Regina Theatre Department from 2005 – 2008, and currently guest lecturers at the University of Regina in the areas of Film, Inter-Media, and Theatre. Since 1998, she has created numerous programs for the separate and public school systems, First Nations communities, and corporations, among the province and within Western Canada. If you would like Michele to construct a work shop to meet your needs please contact her for more information. | (306) 757 5291

The workshops I created for corporations and such are public speaking, how to listen and respond to deal with phone calls and conflicts, reading body language to develop better communication skills.

Beginning actors workshops for young directors in year three and four. As well an informal conversations for the fourth year directing class on directing professional and non-professional actors.
Working on the Idea of Presence for visual artists to understand the relationship of performing for Live Performance Art practices.
Acting 160: Beginning Acting and Acting 260: Companion class. A six week course in Devised Theatre for second year students in the Acting Program.

• The majority of these programs were collective creation programs so students and teachers could develop, write, create, produce, and present their own work.

• The process was a physical process that went back and forth between practical application of physical acting exercises with theory.

• Sourcing the exterior world to draw from and make work.

• A focus on the principles of Peter Brook, Antonin Artuad, early Stanislavski.

• Independent study with One Yellow Rabbit, Experimental Dance and Theatre, Interrarium Banff Center of the Arts, to name a few

• UMBRA -unique moving beautiful residencies of art. Attached is the successful proposal. I was the artistic director and participated in two projects - Haircuts by Children and the making of the film with the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative with artists Ann Verrall and Ramses Calderon.

• Characterization, voice and movement, theatre/dance creation, and performing performance art actions.

Lac La Biche, Alberta

• Helped with the creation of a two week project on the history of the Metis people with a whole school of 150 students

Programs were developed for First Nations communities in Saskachewan, Alberta and the Yukon

• Focused on collective creation techniques that started with a physical practice that employed yoga, qui gong, and inviting special guests to teach Tia Chi. This was paired with a voice practice that was rooted out of Richard Armstrong's work - The Extended Voice, paired with Kirsten Linklatter's ideas on Freeing the Natural Voice, and Patsy Rodenburg's - the Royal Shakespeare's Vocal Coach methodology's and techniques.

• Various acting and improvisational techniques to create and to cast. Once again drawing from Ariane Mnoushkin's ideas on collective creation, Bertol Brecht's sense of performing and dissecting, as well as Peter Brook's and Yoishi Oida's principles of performing - letting the body tell first and then starting to see what unfolds. These projects all culminating in making multidisciplinary performances that utilized song, movement, storytelling techniques, acting, film, voice over, staging, lighting, sound, and props. The content came from the community. In the Yukon we dramatized two legends out on the land - one was called The Giant Worm which told the history and founding of the Watson Lake area. The second year I went up there, two Kaska legends were performed between old people and teenagers in small intimate performances in cabins with audiences the size of 20.

Kahkewistahaw First Nation:

•Three years developing, creating, and training teenagers to make their own ensemble theatre company and write and create plays on issues that are directly affecting them and their community. The first was called The Task at Hand, a piece on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Other artists who worked with me were Erroll Kinistino, Mark Dieter, and Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot.

• The second year it was the same group with new participants. We created a work called Faye - based on the opera Phaedra - the greek's oldest play on suicide. We sourced that to make a contemporary version of our own play set on the rez. Artists who worked with me on that project - Erroll Kinistino, Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot, Shane Bellegarde.

• Both these projects, The Task at Hand and Faye, played at two conferences and toured up to Northern Saskatchewan in a remote community called Stanley Mission.

• The third year we developed a piece called The Party which focused on bullying. Stephy Acoose was the artist who worked with me.

Artist in Residence at Payepot School, Piapot First Nation

• Robin Brass and myself created a twenty minute multi-media performance with everyone in the school on the theme of We Are All Treaty. Other guest artists were Brad Bellegarde and Chris Merk, along with Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot.

• Artist in residency with the whole school K - 12. Focused on Telling The Story where we dramatized through movement, storytelling, and tableau vivant six legends. Poject completed in May 2012.

Acting to me is state where the performer needs to find a point where they can simply release and respond to the environment to let something authentic and truthfully come out and be what we call the “shared experience.” Through a physically based practice the performer learns through the body to read impulses, and to find connection to intuition and intellect. A set of performer responsive skills are developed to communicate with a tuned, sophisticated system comprised of the sound of the voice, the movement of the body, the reading, reacting, and playing with space and gaze, and the understanding of private and public relationships to build dynamics.

The other layer added to this system is placing the participant in states of imbalance or unknowing, basically experimenting with notions of chaos, and unpredictability, to remove preconceived notions of what one should think they should do, rather than just do. The practitioner develops an organic truth and process to perform and direct from. Intuitive and intellectual systems marry with each other, being in constant communication to aid the performer in discovering, and opening resonances that want to slip out and be expressed.

As the internationally known theatre director Peter Brook said, “It is always a mistake for actors to begin their work with intellectual discussion, as the rational mind is not nearly as potent an instrument of discovery as the more secret faculties of intuition. The possibility of intuitive understanding through the body is stimulated and developed in many ways. If this happens, within the same day there can be moments of repose when the mind can peacefully play its true role. Only then will analysis and discussion of the text find their natural place.” (Brook 1993, 20th Century Actor Training, page. 179)

This same approach is utilized for directing. Having the performer go through a series of explorations that question them about impulses, where the voice and body is placed physically, and how that relates to space and gaze developing dynamic, characterization, and the overall interior and exterior architecture of the work. My directing approach is an organic process. It is lead in tandem with the actor and the director, and often cues being taken from the actor. As Ariane Mnouchkine from the Theatre du Soleil states,

“. . . But directing, has nothing to do with positioning; it has to do with opening the soul. You have to manage to crack the souls of the actors and the character like a coconut so that you can see what is inside. I can wait and search for days for something which will surprise me. There is something of the voyeur in this profession. You wait for the moment where an actor reveals himself.” (Ariane Mnouchkine and the Theatre due Soleil, page. 29.)

This philosophy and pedagogy of theatre draws from the sources of western and eastern philosophies of performing specifically focused on Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski, Antoin Artuad, later Stanislavski, some elements of Michael Chechkov, Le Coq and Yoishi Oida. Physical training influenced by yoga, contact improvisation, elements of Feldenkrais, Alexander, Mitzfah, and elements of extended voice work.