November 9, 2004
To Whom It May Concern:
This past weekend my students and I experienced the dynamic teaching of Living Theatre members, Lois Kagan-Mingus and Jerald Goralnick. The students participated in an active workshop that focused on performing The Living Theatre's play on the death penalty, NOT IN MY NAME. The play, a 12-minute protest piece designed as street theater is highly engaging visually, and exciting aurally because of chanting, singing and choral speaking. Although the main message is about breaking the cycle of killing, NOT IN MY NAME also presents a variety of viewpoints. During the workshop and rehearsal process the students learned theater skills, which were linked to visual images and the text of the play. As students moved through various movement and vocal exercises, Jerry and Lois would then relate the work to the text, carefully building and explaining the intention of each moment.
Throughout the highly organized workshop Jerry and Lois sustained an atmosphere of learning and excitement where creativity and risk taking flourished. Most of the students in this particular class are non- performers. Jerry and Lois worked beautifully as a team encouraging and challenging the students with innovative exercises. They are patient, helpful and very articulate teachers.
In addition to relevant theater games and skill building, Jerry and Lois spoke of the history of the Living Theater, the issues surrounding the death penalty, and their political philosophies. The discussions they led were lively and extremely meaningful to all of the students. They helped students to see a variety of viewpoints concerning the death penalty, and they remained open to differing views. Their purpose is to get people to think about the issue, and our students are now engaged in learning more about it. One student said that the experience in this "workshop with Jerry and Lois and the performing of the play NOT IN MY NAME has been the highlight of my college career."
Aside from being wonderful actors, Jerry and Lois are truly inspirational teachers and very generous people. We will always want them to return to Skidmore to either recreate NOT IN MY NAME or to explore through their theater techniques other social and political issues. We had a most memorable weekend.
Carolyn J. Anderson, Professor
815 NORTH BROADWAY
SARATOGA SPRINGS NEW YORK 12866 518-580-5000
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