Monday, August 10, 2009

Margot Lasher on "Attunement"

David Klein and Naomi Flanders
Newton Baker, Soren Pfeffer, David Klein, and Naomi Flanders

Monday, August 10 - "This is the week before the performance, and I actually think we are going to pull this together.

"These photos are from the dog trainer scene which we worked on endlessly. In one photo Dog meets Attack Dog (Soren Pfeffer) and the Trainer (Newton Baker) is screaming at Human to put her dog on a leash. But the two dogs know that they are fine together – it’s just the humans who don’t know what is happening. So, in the other photo, Dog turns to Human and tells her—non-verbally—that everything is ok. You can imagine the difficulties in this scene: a lot of action and a lot of non-verbal communication. The blue dog on David’s t-shirt is Beanie. David does wonderful sculptures of this blue dog, which you can see at

"I’ve learned a huge amount about performance and directing from Irene Facciolo, David Klein, and Naomi Flanders. I understand much more about how a play gets onto the stage. They’ve been great in many ways. And Newton, Soren, and Kristin (who plays an old woman in one scene), who are not actors, have given insights that have been really important in the development of the whole.

"Our work reaffirmed something I already knew, that the quality of energy among the cast is crucial, and that is the most important element in this play too. At the foundation is the close, deep connection between dog and human. Without that, the play is dead.

"In the play, the human is a human and the dog is a dog, and the tension between their world views goes throughout the play: the dramatic tension is based upon their difference. But the amazing thing, for the play and for our real lives with our dogs, is the flow of energy between them, the attunement to each other that connects them. In the sense that they are tuned into each other, and want to understand each other, they are connected and they are the same.

"Without the N.A.S.A. grant and the support of everyone at Flynn Center, I would not have learned any of this stuff about the process of performance. And I think Irene and the actors have learned a lot too. I have my own blog about the relationship between dogs and humans, and I’d love to have any comments, positive and negative, about the play. You can find my blog at"

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