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Seminar description

What are the ways a story can be wrapped around one performer? What happens when that performer is you? In this seminar, MK Tuomanen wants to examine works of solo performance. Students are encouraged to confront themselves playfully, writing from a place of honesty and vulnerability that celebrates experimentation and encourages bold artistic gestures.

This class is for you if you:

  • Want to explore solo performance art.
  • Are straddling performance and writing.
  • Are willing to go into playful vulnerability to discover story.
  • Are stuck in your biographical and devised work.
  • Are interested in learning more about MK Toumanen’s work and approach to writing.

What to expect:

  • Sharing and discussing your work and the work of your peers.
  • Exploring and experiencing with prompts, tools, and inspiration for your solo work.
  • In-class reading and discussion of excerpts of plays using various forms of inspiration.
From MK

Every body — as in every person’s body — has stories in it. This class is meant to give ourselves tools to be gentle with unlocking those stories. It also helps us clarify how we can build a constellation of theme, character and humor out of what might otherwise be heavy memoir. Even if a story isn’t personal, it becomes personal when you put it in a solo performer’s body. This course will help you think about what your “skin in the game” is — what are your personal stakes in telling this tale, and how can you design an experience for an audience and create a relationship with them that allows the story to sing?

MK Tuomanen

The playwright they, them, theirs
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based inPhiladelphia, PA
MK Tuomanen (they/them) is the 2017 recipient of the Haas Emerging Artist Award, named “Best Theater Artist” by Philadelphia Magazine in 2014. A graduate of the Lecoq School of Movement Theatre in Paris, they helped found two devising ensembles: Applied Mechanics, an immersive performance collective, and The Bearded Ladies, a queer experimental cabaret. In 2015, they cofounded Philadelphia’s first producing playwright’s collective, Orbiter 3, along with Maura Krause and playwrights James Ijames, Emma Goidel, Doug Williams, and Emily Acker. Their play Peaceable Kingdom, an allegorical retelling of William Penn’s arrival in Lenape lands, won the 2017 Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award, and was hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “deeply moving and utterly melancholy… with a sharp satirical edge.” In the same year, their play Marcus/Emma premiered at InterAct Theater and was nominated for the Independence Award for Best New Play. Says Tuomanen: “It was written from a place of urgency — a need for political and sexual liberation, a need to be released from cynicism into empowering joy.” Their solo show Hello! Sadness! was developed at the 2014 Dael Orlandersmith Solo Residency at the Kimmel Center, a performance described by critic Julius Ferraro as: “witty, wise, heroic, cruel.” An alum of The Foundry and InterAct Core Writers, Tuomanen’s work has been supported by Venturous Theatre Fund, the Philadelphia Foundation, and the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. As a director, they have recently toured John Jarboe’s Rose: You Are Who You Eat to the Guggenheim Works and Process and Cultural DC. They are a practicing Quaker and were the 2018 Friend-In-Residence at Haverford College. Their current project, Night Science, is supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and has been developed at the Wilma Theatre.

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