THE BARR HILL PLAYERS
"uniting the philosophical-contemplative and the pastoral-picturesque"
~Author Wallace Stegner on
the town of Greensboro
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY THE TERM - WARRIOR ARTIST?
Toughness is a characteristic not often associated with actors. However, it has been my experience that actors are some of the toughest, most courageous individuals I know. They are willing to throw themselves into physically, vocally, and emotionally demanding situations with only a few strangers for support. They confront most people's worst fear - putting oneself out in front of a judging audience - every day, and meet it with poise and eloquence. They run towards the things that scare them: towards heartbreak, towards loss and uncertainty, but also towards great joy and humor. They do these things night after night, and strive to stay open and vulnerable to these powerful experiences no matter how many times they go through them, refusing to callous over or let them diminish in effect. This is what it means to be a warrior artist to me. Not just to be willing to wade into the uncomfortable, the challenging, the emotionally difficult, but to maintain an open heart and compassion for yourself and your partner while doing so. To dare to hold onto a childlike sense of wonder and play in the face of rigorous, demanding work is to embody the strength of the warrior spirit. Those that are willing to do so have my utmost respect.
WHY WILDERNESS SURVIVAL SKILLS?
I often get asked: "Why the nature stuff? Don't get me wrong, it's certainly a nice location and I enjoy working outside in the fresh air, but why do we spend time on wilderness survival skills like learning to lay a fire without matches, shooting a bow, or picking wild edibles at an acting intensive?"
There are several reasons, but first, if you are feeling stuck and find yourself asking that kind of question, it may be because you are viewing your acting training too transactionally, and I would encourage you to focus less on acquiring more "acting skills" for your resume and more on developing yourself as an artist and person. Your time spent here will be most useful to you if you can empty your cup. Particularly for those who rarely get the chance to leave their hectic urban lifestyles behind, this place can help cut through stubborn habits and tenacious worries, and re-open a mindful space for you that you've forgotten you'd lost.
I don't introduce wilderness survival skills because I expect you to ever have to use them... Maybe if you get stranded during an Alaskan camping trip, replace Tom Hanks in the next Cast Away or just decide to go primitive paleo for a while you will use them, and I'll be glad for you, but that is not the point. I present them for the qualities they can bring out in a person: awareness, confidence, self-reliance, and an acceptance of the uncomfortable and the imperfect - all useful for an actor's work. Above all though, we practice them precisely because they are new skills. Even if you think of yourself as a generally outdoorsy person who likes to hike and camp, etc. many of the skills we practice will almost certainly be new to you. The act of engaging with these skills, learning by curiosity, trial and error, and actually looking around you brings out that inner child, that unselfconscious sense of play that we all too often stifle because we are worried about the judgments of others, and which is so important to our work as actors.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Think active and minimal. We'll be outside almost all day every day, so layers and ankle-supporting shoes are important. Other than that, you'll only need basic essentials. Everything else - food, supplies, reference books, fun things to do, etc. - will be provided.
WHY MARTIAL ARTS?
Obviously, the martial arts are useful if you expect to be involved in any amount of staged violence. However, their applications to the actor's craft are much broader than just that. The martial arts teach the physical competency required to make bold physical choices safely, but also the focus, discipline, and respect required to work with a partner in high-intensity situations. They teach how to give and receive impacts (emotional and physical) without hurting your partner, and they provide the opportunity to confront your limits and then find the courage to let someone else help you expand them.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Our intensive is primarily targeted towards college-aged students and recent graduates, although any young performer over the age of 18 is welcome.
WHAT IS GREENSBORO LIKE?
Greensboro is a 600-person town on the banks of Caspian Lake: a popular vacation destination for its many hiking and horseback riding trails. There are grocery stores, pharmacies, and other shops within 10 minutes, so you can pick up any necessities you might need for the week should you forget to pack them. Greensboro is also home to Circus Smirkus: an award-winning international youth circus, The Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residency: a chapter of the mirror Repertory Company in New York, and the Highland Center for the Arts, which operates out of their new 250 seat thrust theater.