Richard Hess taught a Viewpoints Training master calss in Estonia.

Acting Department Chair Visits Estonia To Teach Viewpoints Training Master Classes

Richard Hess traveled to Estonia to teach two Viewpoints Training master classes

Richard Hess at the Tartu Uus Teater.

CCM Professor of Acting and Department Chair Richard Hess recently traveled to Northern Europe to teach Viewpoints Training master classes to professional actors working in two Estonian theaters — Theatrum and Tartu Uus Teater.

Hess has shared Viewpoints Training master classes across the U.S. and internationally for the past 20 years. Initially developed for dancers in the 1970s by choreographer Mary Overlie, Viewpoints Training was then adapted for actors by director Anne Bogart and the SITI Company. It focuses on improvisational movement techniques that brake down two dominant issues performers deal with — time and space — into nine categories or “viewpoints”: tempo, duration, kinesthetic response, repetition, shape, spatial relationship, architecture, floor pattern and gesture.

Hess engaged the Estonian actors in a series of improvisational movement exercises where unified group action was the desired goal. “What you create with another actor is always more interesting than what you can create alone,” Hess said. “Needing and being needed are core principles of good acting.”

In the final exercise of the master class, Hess instructed the actors to pair up and — without speaking or planning — support a portion of their partner’s body weight to create a new shape that they couldn’t create alone. Hess first told them to support 50 percent of their partner’s weight, then directed everyone to support the entire weight of one person. “This requires actors to give generously and to be supportive in undeniable ways,” he said.

In the final Viewpoints exercise, Hess told the actors "all hands must support the entire weight of Karl Edgar."

In the final Viewpoints exercise, Hess told the actors “all hands must support the entire weight of Karl Edgar.”

“The Estonian actors were so powerful and focused,” Hess added. “There is an obvious muscular quality to their work and it was gratifying to see them embrace the master class with enthusiasm and bravery. Estonian theatre is extremely impressive.”

The actors traveled from theaters across Estonia to participate in Hess’ Viewpoints Training master class, he said. They gathered in Uus Teater in Tartu, Estonia and Theatrum, which is headed by playwright and director Andri Luup in Tallinn, Estonia. Luup, who is known for writing and directing the film “Kinnunen,” arranged for Hess to offer the master classes.

“The work was simply on the nose,” said participant Karl Edgar Tammi, a professional actor from the Teater Must Kast in Tartu. “I was introduced to a set of great exercises, improvisation, stage presence and awareness, creativity, working with partners, space and, of course, music. It was colorful, refreshing and inspiring. I will practice and try and mix it into the current theatre scape of Estonia!”

As chair of CCM’s Acting Department for the past 22 years, Hess has taught actors who work throughout the world on stage, television and film. He is no stranger to traveling internationally in the name of theatre. In 2011, Hess brought eight CCM Acting students and alumni to Kenya as part of the Dadaab Theatre Project. He returned to Kenya in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester teaching and conducting research at Kenyatta University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology. In 2015, Hess brought six students and one faculty member from Kenyatta University to CCM so they could participate in the 48-Hour Film Festival.

Look for a Village News post later this week about Hess’ upcoming production of Middletown, running in Cohen Family Studio Theatre Oct. 20-22 as part of CCM’s Studio Acting Series. Admission is free but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 17.

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Kenyatta University Cultural Exchange.

Experience the Cultural Exchange: CCM Drama Welcomes Guests from Kenyatta University

On Saturday, Oct. 31, six students and one faculty member from Kenyatta University will make the journey to Cincinnati to take part in CCM’s second-annual 48-Hour Film Festival.

Jean Akinyi, David Babu, Eric Mwangi, Kelvinson Muriithi Mwangi, Christine Njeri, Austin Opata and Professor Zippy Okoth will spend the following week in Cincinnati, attending classes at UC and experiencing the culture of the area, before participating in the film festival from Nov. 6-8.

You can keep up with their experiences by visiting CCM Drama Chair Richard Hess‘ blog at richardinkenya.wordpress.com.

In 2011, Hess brought eight current and former CCM Drama students to Kenya to take part in the Dadaab Theatre Project on World Refugee Day. He returned to Kenya in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester teaching and conducting research at Kenyatta University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology.

For the second installment of CCM’s 48-Hour Film Festival, Hess wanted to expose students to these same kinds of life-changing creative experiences. “The integration of our cultures and artistic viewpoints will challenge prejudices and assumptions, enlarging the world-views and possibilities of each participant,” says Hess. “Adding a Kenyan artist to each creative team is a meaningful way to affect every student in the CCM Film Festival.”

The general public is invited to the festival’s screening party at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8. Films will be screened in UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center.

Dates and Times

  • Festival: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, through 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8
  • Public Screening: 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

Screening Location
MainStreet Cinema, Tangeman University Center
University of Cincinnati

Admissions to Screening
The 48-Hour Film Festival’s screening party is free and open to the general public. Reservations are not required.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

The Kenyatta University 2015 Exchange Program has been made possible by the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Family Foundation, and Neil R. Artman and Margaret L. Straub.

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Student filmmaker Christine Njeri working in Nairobi, Kenya.

CCM’s Second Annual 48-Hour Film Festival Welcomes Guest Filmmakers and Actors from Kenya

UC students are invited to spend a whirlwind weekend writing, shooting and editing short films during the second annual 48-Hour Film Festival. Co-hosted by CCM’s Department of Drama and Division of Electronic Media, the movie-making marathon begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, and culminates with a public screening of the student-created films at UC’s MainStreet Cinema at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8.

Based on the innovative “48 Hour Film Project” competition and festival, which launched in 2001, CCM’s 48-Hour Film Festival will challenge teams of students to bring their short films from conception to completion within a brisk 48-hour window.

Student filmmaker Eric Mwangi working in Nairobi, Kenya.

Student filmmaker Eric Mwangi working in Nairobi, Kenya.

This year’s student participants will be joined by six guest filmmakers and actors from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. These students will spend the entire week of the film festival in Cincinnati, attending classes at UC and experiencing the culture of the area.

Richard Hess, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance at CCM, orchestrated this cultural exchange.

In 2011, Hess brought eight current and former CCM Drama students to Kenya to take part in the Dadaab Theatre Project on World Refugee Day. He returned to Kenya in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester teaching and conducting research at Kenyatta University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology. You can learn more about his time in Kenya here.

For the second installment of CCM’s 48-Hour Film Festival, Hess wanted to expose students to these same kinds of life-changing creative experiences. “The integration of our cultures and artistic viewpoints will challenge prejudices and assumptions, enlarging the world-views and possibilities of each participant,” says Hess. “Adding a Kenyan artist to each creative team is a meaningful way to affect every student in the CCM Film Festival.”

GET EXPERIENCE NOW: PARTICIPATING IN THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL
Any UC student interested in participating in the CCM 48-Hour Film Festival is invited to apply online at ccm.uc.edu.theatre/drama/48HourFilmFestival. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

Every applicant will be assigned to a team. Team assignments will be announced at the festival’s kick-off event in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6. Participant will need to be available for the entire 48 hours from 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 through 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.

Below, watch 165 West McMillan, one of last year’s festival films.

Teams will be assigned a common prop, a common line of dialogue and a common theme, all of which must be included in each film. Teams will then have 48 hours to brainstorm, create job assignments, research, story-board, write, cast, film, score and edit a roughly five to seven minute-long film.

“The best way to fight prejudice is through exposure,” says Hess. “Six different teams of artists, made of Kenyan and American students, will be tasked with creating original short films over a 48-hour period. Working under the exquisite pressure of time, they will be forced to ask large questions, to listen and to leap into the void of creativity where the impossible becomes possible.”

The general public is invited to the festival’s screening party at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8. Films will be screened in UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center.

Dates and Times

  • Festival: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, through 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8
  • Public Screening: 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

Locations

  • Festival Kick-Off: Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
  • Public Screening: MainStreet Cinema, Tangeman University Center

Admissions to Screening
The 48-Hour Film Festival’s screening party is free and open to the general public. Reservations are not required.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.
____

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

The Kenyatta University 2015 Exchange Program has been made possible by the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Family Foundation, and Neil R. Artman and Margaret L. Straub.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Chair of Drama Richard E. Hess Receives Fulbright Scholar Award

Drama professor Richard Hess (right) led a contingent of students to Kenya in 2011 where they met refugees such as Abdi Rashid, a writer (left), who translated Hess' words to Somali.

Drama professor Richard Hess (right) led a contingent of students to Kenya in 2011 where they met refugees such as Abdi Rashid, a writer (left), who translated Hess’ words to Somali.

Richard E. Hess, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Drama at CCM, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach and research at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya during the 2013-­14 academic year, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

Hess’ research project, The Collapsible Space Between Us: Creating Artistic Identity through Theatre-­Making in Kenya, will allow him to work with actors as an acting teacher, on original devised theatre as a director and in educating theatre-­makers: actors who are story­tellers with strong identities interested in creating exciting physical theatre.

Hess is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2013-­14.

Hess first traveled to Nairobi in June of 2011 to create an original theatre piece with refugees from the Dadaab Refugee Camp and CCM Drama students. The Dadaab Theatre Project performed at World Refugee Day with support from the United Nations and the Great Globe Foundation.

“In Kenya I met a group of multi-cultural, international, multi-language strangers who used the currency of theatre to open hearts, share identities, and give voice to the unspoken,” Hess explains. “I encountered heroic bravery and tangible hope, and was surprised by the intense trust and humbling respect given to me so easily. The Africans made me feel valued as a teacher in a way I have never felt. I am eager to return.”

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