At Baker Demonstration School
August 2015 through March 24, 2016
Authentic Voices/ Totally True Tales at Baker
Taught by 2015-16 Drama Artist in Residence Brigid Murphy.
Authentic Voices/Totally True Tales is designed to help you to unlock your authentic voice through autobiographical writing. We will begin with in-class exercises designed to help you connect with your creative voice. This will help you to become familiar with the process of turning off your internal editor and allowing your writing to flow. We will spend several sessions generating material. You will then choose one of your stories to develop for a final workshop presentation in March, 2016. Through this process you will become a more confident writer, editor, and presenter, grounded in your own unique narrative. Your homework will include completing occasional writing assignments and fine-tuning of the pieces completed in class.
Please note: This class is the core class for the Drama Artist in Residence program for 2015-2016. All participants of Authentic Voice/Totally True Tales must commit to Fall semester and Winter quarter (January through March 24th) on the project. The work will culminate in required workshop performances in March, 2016 in Carlson Auditorium.
Please go to Ms. Wilson’s website for a more detailed description of the residency at www.lizannewilson.com.
Working with our Artist in Residence, Brigid Murphy and a core group of 32 student writers will examine a range of personal experiences. The writers will devise a script based on their work created during their Fall Arts Core classes. The stories will serve as inspiration and a catalyst for collaboration with students in music, visual art, technology and photography.
Continuing on as an ensemble in the Winter Arts Core quarter, January 20—March 24, 2016, AUTHENTIC VOICES students will rehearse and devise a culminating workshop performance from their autobiographical writing.
- Students meet Brigid Murphy and learn about her residency offered through Arts Core.
- Students sign up for Fall Arts Core courses. Students who sign up for Authentic Voice/Totally True Tales are committing to working together from the first days of fall Arts Core classes in August through March 24, 2016.
- Brigid Murphy teaches two AUTHENTIC VOICES Drama Arts Core classes—Each class will meet 2 days per week for 45 minutes each period. Brigid will teach one 45 minute class on TBD (section 1) and TBD (section 2). August 2015—January 24, 2016
- After Thanksgiving – all middle school students except AUTHENTIC VOICES Arts Core participants select one Winter quarter Arts Core class running from January 14, 2016—March 24, 2016 (four days per week for 45 minutes.)
Fall semester ARTS CORE classes end January 14th, so four day per week Arts Core rehearsals for the workshop performances will start the week of January 20 and run till March 20, 2016. Three performances for the Blue Ensemble and three performances for the Red Ensemble. Ensemble assignments will not be determined until after the Fall sessions of Authentic Voices.
We have a conference 1/2 day Thursday, March 10 and for a full day on Friday, March 11th (each cast will be called for 1/2 day) before opening. Conference day rehearsals will be an required rehearsal for the ensemble members. We will make adjustments so students may attend their individual conferences. Students will know the schedule before conference sign up day.
August, 2015—March 24, 2016
- January 20, 2016: Rehearsals begin 4 days per week Monday through Thursday.
- Feb 15-19—full week of Winter break—NO Rehearsal.
- 9 weeks to rehearse workshop performances from start of Winter Quarter.
- March 9th –early dismissal. We will work from 1pm till 3:15pm. Students will miss no class time on March 9th.
- Conference day –March 10th. We will schedule rehearsal so students can go to their conferences. We will provide a detailed rehearsal schedule of the Conference day rehearsals the week before March 10th.
NOTE: The following are mandatory rehearsals outside of school hours on Conference Day and the Sunday before the show opens.
Students must leave the following days open for the residency project rehearsals with Brigid.
- CONFERENCE DAYS during school hours:
- Thursday, March 10th (Baker has 1/2 day) Students have rehearsal 1:20–3:15
- Friday, March 11th (Baker Conference Day–no school –1/2 day rehearsal for red cast. 1/2 day rehearsal for blue cast, all day for Lighting and Stage Crews) and
- Sunday March 13th final technical and dress rehearsal. (1/2 day of rehearsal for each cast and all day for lighting and stage crews).
- Performances week of March 14-20.
- Performances will be no longer than 70 minutes.
PERFORMANCES: Each cast will do three performances.
Thursday, March 17 4pm/7pm.
Friday, March 18 at 4.
Saturday, March 19 at 4 and 7,
Sunday, March 20 at 4 with strike immediately following. Strike (putting everything away, clearing the theatre, moving things back into place on Sunday after the last performance—mandatory for cast and crew. Parents are welcome to join for strike.
Week following the performance—debrief, reflect and evaluate.
Baker 2015-16 Artist in Residence
Brigid began her creative life as a dancer, receiving a B.A. in performance and choreography from Columbia College, where she was the recipient of the inaugural Annual Alumni Concert. Brigid eventually moved from dance to solo performance, performing throughout Chicago, and New York City. However, Brigid Murphy is best know as the creator and host of “Milly’s Orchid Show”, a variety show hosted by the wise cracking country singer Milly May Smithy (Played by Murphy). It’s home has been the 800 seat Park West, where it plays to sell-out crowds. “Milly’s Orchid Show” has also had two runs in New York City, at Performance Space 122 and La Mama. The show has featured, on a regular basis, such renowned artists as Eric Bogosian, Lisa Kron, David Cale, David Sedaris (a regular for many years), Nora Dunn, Frank and Malachy McCourt, Robert Klein, Ira Glass, Poi Dog Pondering (with whom she played saxophone ’93-‘98), as well as the Chicago premiere of Blue Man Group and Sex in the City and Two Broke Girls’, Michael Patrick King. Also included in the mix are a variety of acts from dance, music, and short films, to fire eaters, marching bands, and Mexican lariat champions. Brigid was commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago to create an opera themed version of the show, and by the Chicago Theatre Group to inaugurate the opening of the Albert at the new Goodman Theatre.
Her M.F.A. thesis film “A Prince in the Projects” has been screened in festivals throughout the country as well as in India and Australia, and it was licensed for presentation in schools across the country. Her screenplay, “Maggie Was Here” was selected as a finalist for the Sundance Writing and Directing Lab. Brigid was featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibit: “Art in Chicago 1945-1995, she received the Alumni Award from Columbia College for outstanding contribution to her field. As a MFA student she received the Follet Fellowship, the Rosebud award, and the Albert P. Weisman scholarship. She was awarded the Grigsby Award for her contribution to solo performance.
Brigid’s musical play, “Without A Song”, directed by Jessica Thebus, about her experience with cancer, completed a sold out workshop production at The Goodman Theatre in 2005. She has been teaching for over 16 years and currently teaches at The University of Chicago’s Graham School, DePaul University, and Columbia College. Much of her teaching is based on a class and technique she created to help students connect to their creative voice through autobiographical writing. She also offers this class to the community at large in both private and group classes. Many shows have been generated through this method that she’s directed and produced among them are three evenings of solo performances for Live Bait’s, “Filet of Solo”, the critically acclaimed ”Golden Corral,” by Josef Steiff and “North Pole-South Pole” by Tom Reilly and Anne Purkey. She also adapted, produced, and directed Harry Nilsson’s “The Point” to sold-out audiences at The Old Town School of Folk Music. In the summer of 2013 she wrote, produced, and directed a new musical featuring the music of Poi Dog Pondering. It premiered at the inaugural Three Oaks Theatre Festival in Three Oaks Michigan. In 2012 “Milly’s Orchid Show” celebrated its 25th year. The shows are now being created for the next generation of audiences, the kids.
Resident Artist—Brigid Murphy
Drama Teacher– Lizanne Wilson
Visual Arts Teacher—Ms. Toole
Music teacher—Mrs. Guerra
Technology Teacher – Ms. Crawford
Photography– Ms. Fisher
Social Worker — Ms. Smith
Ms. Mozer is the Director of Teaching and Learning and she is a huge supporter of the residency. Ms. Mozer spends the bulk of her time working with the middle school and we welcome her insight and administrative skills.
Assistants: (Tentative) 2 Interns from Northwestern School of Theatre and Communications will work with Ms. Murphy and with me as assistants on the performance part of the project from January through March.
2015-16 Drama Artist in Residence FAQ’s.
What is the AIR Project at Baker?
Brigid Murphy is our Artist in Residence in Drama for 2015-2016. Baker has an artist in residence every year. The residencies run on a three-year cycle of Drama, Music, and Visual Art.
When does the residency take place?
August, 2015 through March, 2016
What do you mean by a workshop production?
In a workshop production, the work is the focus. We will have basic lighting and an environment created by students. The process is the focus of a workshop.
What is the core group?
32 students who elected to take Ms. Murphy’s Authentic Voice Arts Core class from August through March. The Core Group will write the material for the workshop.
Who is Brigid Murphy and why did Baker choose her to be the AIR?
Brigid brings her years of experience as a performer, writer, filmmaker, dancer, editor and director to the Authentic Voices residency. Her work is extraordinary and I am thrilled to have her join us for eight months in residence for our 2015-2016 school year. (See Brigid’s Bio above.)
What does “authentic voice” mean?
Authentic voice is your voice: Words only you can say, stories only you can write in a way that is specific to who you are, how you speak, how you perceive the life you alone are living and have lived.
It is the expression that comes from your deepest truest self. ~Brigid Murphy
Will I have a lot of homework?
You will have some homework editing and transcribing your writing. Sometimes you will have writing assignments to do at home. Remember, this is a completely different kind of writing than what is customary for a sixth through eighth grader. You will be listening to your “authentic voice”. Working with Ms. Murphy will give you many tools that can make writing and creating work for presentation exciting, challenging and surprising.
What about academic classes? Will this take away from academic work?
No, students in the AIR project are required to keep up with their schoolwork. This residency promises to improve students’ skills and increase both academic and artistic skills. You don’t need to worry about your other classes. We have planned carefully to weave the residency into the fabric of middle school next year.
What is Ms. Wilson’s role in this?
Ms. Wilson is producer of the workshop. She designed the residency and she is a co-teacher of the Arts Core classes in fall semester. The Authentic Voices curriculum is Ms. Murphy’s.
Where is the funding coming from?
Funding for the Artist in Residence at Baker comes from the Baker Demonstration School operating budget. Baker values arts integration and the funding is part of Baker’s commitment to the arts.
Why can’t this be a school-wide residency Pre-K–8?
Great question! With the current funding for the residency, we were able to hire a significant artist to make deep connections with students who choose to work with her. Ms. Wilson hopes to connect, through the drama curriculum, the themes and ideas from the residency throughout her work with her students in grades one through five. Howard Gardener says,
“The greatest enemy of understanding is coverage. As long as you are determined to cover everything, you actually ensure that most kids are not going to understand. You’ve got to take enough time to get kids deeply involved in something so they can think about it in lots of different ways and apply it…”
Brandt, Ron. Educational Leadership. “Authentic Learning” April 1993. pp. 4-7.
We are committed to providing authentic arts integration to our students and to do that, we have to make choices about where to utilize the resources each year. This year, the project is focused on middle school.
Why aren’t we doing a published play?
I sensed it was time to investigate our students’ voices. With over 100 middle school students, our old model for productions became obsolete. Our students were hungry for a platform from which to speak through art. So, we are creating our own piece(s) this year. It’s time to hear your voices on our stage.
I’m not sure I want to sign up for the Authentic Voice Arts Core? What if I don’t like it?
If you choose this class, you must make a commitment to work with an ensemble of writers and artists. Being nervous about taking the Authentic Voice class is normal. We’ve never offered this kind of class before at Baker. Ask yourself if you are up for a challenge. Do you want to explore your creativity? Do you have a yearning to make art? Ms. Murphy and I are committed to creating an experience in class where students can make discoveries and challenge themselves as young artists and writers. I am very excited about Ms. Murphy’s time at Baker. If you want to work hard and stretch yourself as a creative person, you will like this class.
How do you know this will be such an amazing experience?
I know because, this Spring, I had the chance to take class from Ms. Murphy! I tried it so I could speak to you about the experience and plan and organize the residency with an understanding of Ms. Murphy’s work. Taking class with Brigid Murphy was a wonderful experience. I wrote a number of pieces for performance and I enjoyed the class so much, I plan to continue to write using the ideas Ms. Murphy has taught me.
Do I have to be a great writer to sign up for the Authentic Voice class? Do I have to love writing in order to sign up?
No and no! Sign up if you want to learn and grow and try something new and exciting. You must commit to taking responsibility for yourself and for your work both in class and at home with your homework assignments. “Being a great writer” is not a requirement for the course. Willingness to work hard and a committment to collaborate with your classmates is more important than your writing skills.
What if writing is difficult for me?
This is a different kind of writing class. You will do lots of facilitated in-class writing. This class offers a new way to approach writing. If you don’t like writing but you love to think creatively and work hard, I encourage you to sign up for the class. If you have some concerns about the writing in the class, please speak to or email Ms. Wilson.
Ms. Murphy will be at Baker on Monday, June 1 at 1pm to introduce her residency with the other Arts Core teachers for the Fall semester. You can always stop in to my classroom or email me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am available in the drama studio at lunch and by appointment if you want to have a more detailed discussion.
Ms. Murphy and I look forward to working with you next year!
Ms. Wilson, Drama Specialist