Learn improv, mask-making at RAAC

RAAC Community Theatre has just the thing (or two) for beating the winter blues: In March, the theatre is offering two exciting workshops, one in improvisational acting, the other in mask making.

The improv workshop is taught by Washington, D.C. area actor/comic/teacher/playwright Renee Colarco on Friday, March 8, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 9, from 10 to 5.

Renee Colarco teaches improv March 8-9 at RAAC Community Theatre. Photo by James Meerdter.
Renee Colarco teaches improv March 8-9 at RAAC Community Theatre. Photo by James Meerdter.

Colarco describes the workshop as a “fun, yet focused workshop in the principles of improvisational playing. We’ll play some theater games, do some improvisational scene work and create pieces of ‘mini-theater.’ We’ll develop skills in trusting, listening and committing. And we’ll move a bit, so please dress comfortably. Be prepared to play, to have fun and to fully commit to your own genius!”

Colarco lives and works in Washington, D.C. and has been studying, teaching and performing comedy improv since 1987. Over the years, she has performed with Washington Improv Theater, Dropping the Cow and Precipice Improv. Her play “Short Order Stories” received the 2007 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play and her latest, “The Religion Thing,” has been nominated for a 2012 Charles MacArthur Award. She teaches playwriting at George Washington University and improvisational comedy at The Theatre Lab.

Tickets for the Friday workshop are $15; Saturday’s costs $50. The workshop is open to anyone 12 and older. To register, email raactheatre@yahoo.com and put “Improv” in the subject line. Space is limited though, so early registration is encouraged.

Peggy Schadler (left) leads a mask-making workshop March 16 and 23. Courtesy photo.
Peggy Schadler (left) leads a mask-making workshop March 16 and 23. Courtesy photo.

On the other hand, if exploring the magic of creating a new persona through a mask intrigues you, or if you are interested in learning to create forms using papier-mache, you are sure to enjoy the mask-making workshop taught by Peggy Schadler, creator and director of 1000 Faces Mask Theater. The two-day workshop is from 1 to 4 p.m. on consecutive Saturdays, March 16 and March 23. You can see examples of Peggy’s work on the troupe’s website, 1000facesmasktheater.com.

Schadler was introduced to papier-mache many years ago while working as a school volunteer. She felt an immediate affinity to the medium and found it a perfect way of expressing her interest in Joseph Campbell’s work on myth and meaning in diverse human cultures, past and present. In attending this workshop, participants can take part in an ancient and continuing tradition. Mask making is one of the earliest forms of human artistry, pictured in cave paintings from tens of thousands of years ago.

Schadler’s creativity and enthusiasm for making masks and the ways they can convey meaning is contagious.

On the first day of the workshop, participants will shape a clay form and build the papier-mache mask. After the masks have had a week to dry and harden, the last session is used to paint and embellish the masks.

The cost of the two-day workshop is $100 and includes all materials. To register, email raactheatre@yahoo.com and put “Masks” in the subject line. Reservations include directions to the workshop, which is being held in the artist’s studio. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.

About Patty Hardee 270 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.