Luxembourg European Annual Theatre Summer School

2012 Theme Projects

All the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That's what makes theatre live. That's why it persists.

Stephen Sondheim
(composer and librettist)

SIBLINGS or No Siblings Like Show Siblings!

Brothers and sisters: Enduring friends? Rivals? Both? It's no surprise then, that such a complicated and extensive range of attitudes, loyalties and emotions inherent within sibling relationships are at the centre of so many great plays. At Summer School this year we will be exploring the sibling loves and loathings as dramatised by some of the world's leading playwrights. There are many, many examples to choose from and some of these are indicated in the project information below.

Graeme Du Fresne : Sister Songs and Brother Beats (singing and acting)
I have chosen some pieces from the worlds of Musical Theatre, Opera and film to explore our theme of Siblings. We will be concentrating on Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck, a 19th Century Opera based on the Grimm's fairy tale, and on two Musical Theatre shows about twins, Sideshow (about the Siamese twins Eng and Chang Bunker) and The Boys From Syracuse (a musical version of Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors). We will also be looking at Stephen Sondheim's Roadshow about the Mizner brothers, Willy Russell's Blood Brothers, as well as at the Ugly Sisters and Cinderella in Sondheim's Into The Woods. We may also look at the song Sisters from Irving Berlin's film White Christmas and something from Gene De Paul's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Given the nature of the theme, this option will be based around duets, but will additionally include some ensemble songs.

Annie Tyson : The White Water Rafting of Classical Drama (acting)
This year's theme of "Siblings" will be explored through the Jacobean repertoire. These dark, sexy and subversive plays pick up from Shakespeare and use language and form in ways that are truly experimental and visceral. They are plays that demand intellectual ferocity, bravery and at times, a willingness to examine the bleaker side of life – but they are also, even at their blackest, as the body counts pile up, funny and subversive. How, as actors, do we explore these contradictions?

Simone Coxall : Once Upon a Time There Was a Blank Page (devising)
On this course we will look at devising processes, especially in relation to adapting either a short story or a piece of fiction along the theme of siblings. Techniques to develop group devising skills will be used, ideas around building a character and dialogue examined and ways to create environments and atmosphere explored. We will look at techniques for taking an idea, developing it and then putting it in a performance setting. Ways to generate, edit and shape material will be examined and story-telling techniques explored. It is a course that places much emphasis on creativity and collaboration, and there will be a site-specific dimension.

Tony Casement : Acting Without the Fourth Wall (acting)
This course will concentrate on narrative theatre. We will focus on the siblings in Tim Supple's adaptation of Grimm's Hansel and Gretel (amongst others) and on Dominic Cooke's Arabian Nights (Shahazad and Dinarzad). We will explore the actor/ audience relationship and the challenges and opportunities that face an actor when they have to shift from playing a character to breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to an audience. The constant shifts between character/ actor/ narrator/ storyteller have become a routine skill and technique in much contemporary theatre. Additionally, we will be working on how to tell stories imaginatively, without set and props, etc.