By August Strindberg / Directed by Shana Cooper / Yale School of Drama / 2007
At Yale School of Drama we began our collaborative process on a production of August Strindberg's The Ghost Sonata. In this chamber play Strindberg sought to create a work as suggestive and evocative as music, and a world that was simultaneously ordinary and endlessly mysterious. We took the specificity of Strindberg's intention as a challenge to invent a theatrical language that was uniquely Ghost Sonata. Throughout the rehearsal process we crafted a new rehearsal method using what we called Essence Pieces. These solo performances created by the director, actors, and designers attempted to unearth a visual and physical language that could express the core truths of Strindberg's story. We found that witnessing an Essence Piece was like swimming in someone else's imagination, and the theatrical process enabled our artists to unlock Strindberg's seemingly impenetrable text. This Essence Piece Process became the foundation of our work as a company.