Bad Acting for Performers
with david berstein
Bad Acting for Performers is a workshop in developing what I call "Showmanship." Showmanship is a dynamic and inherently dramatic relationship with the task of performing itself. In cultivating Showmanship, we have to get in touch with the desires we have as performers, the expectations the audience has of us, and how we navigate between the two.
We will approach performing as an act of direct engagement with our audience, and explore how the audience's expectations of us - demanding that we be "entertaining" or "interesting" - affect how we engage with them. Using techniques of postmodern theatre and the aesthetics of queer performance, we will get in touch with how these demands feel, how one can fulfill them using the power of our own activated personality, and how we can choose to pull against those demands for thrilling effect.
I am interested in all the ways one can break expectations in order to indirectly fulfill them. We'll abandon the false constraints of "polite naturalism" and tap into the gleeful excess of the drag queen. We'll ditch dramatic text and play with found poems and pop songs. And we'll fall down the rabbit hole of our own inner anarchist to ride the wave of "doing things wrong," an impossible task that to me is a shortcut to true spontaneity.
The workshop is designed to teach performers how to charge every moment onstage with dramatic energy, regardless of what they perform. It will hopefully reveal something about how they've instinctively worked in the past, and free them to take more risks, and find more joy, in the future.
et kursus udbudt i samarbejde med Niels Erling, Teaterhögskolan, Malmö
David Bernstein is a performance artist and teacher based in Toronto. His most recent full-length work as writer and director, “Nashville Stories,” premiered at the SummerWorks Festival in Toronto, at the Theatre Centre Mainstage in August 2017. Previously, his evening-length piece "Cherry Corsage (Who Would Have Thought it Figures)" premiered at the Citadel Theater in Toronto in July 2015. David is an artistic associate and guest teaching artist with Toronto-based contemporary dance company Rock Bottom Movement.
With choreographer Alyssa Martin, he co-created Rock Bottom's dance/play hybrid “string quartet no.14 in g major,” which premiered in June 2017 at Ryerson University's Parodos Festival and will be revived in December 2017 at the Citadel Theatre in Toronto. He previously collaborated on their evening-length work "MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS," presented at Toronto's NextStage Festival in February 2017, and their short-form work "Dolphin," which premiered at the SummerWorks Festival in 2017.
He also creates interdisciplinary work with Brooklyn- based collaborator Jaime Wright. Most recently, their short form performance "GURU" was presented as part of Movement Research's Fall 2016 season at Judson Church in New York City. Their evening-length piece "Too Many Lenas 3: Let Them Eat Cake" was workshopped off-Broadway at Ars Nova, and premiered at the New Ohio Theatre in July 2014 in New York City. He studied drama at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, attending the Stella Adler Studio and the Experimental Theatre Wing.