laurie tmbThe Synergic Theater Creative Process Workshop in Movement/Image/Sound Media

In our own words...
In others’ words...

“Project Synergy” began in 1974 as a self-proclaimed “conspiracy to commit theater” by a handful of Duke-Durham (NC) collaborators who Suzanne gathered in the Ark on Duke’s East campus, where she was on the dance faculty. Guided by Suzanne’s creative and artistic sensibility, they explored new dimensions in movement, image and sound media and applied the ensuing discoveries to an original performance and summer workshop.

mirrorsmediumFollowing those seminal two years, David organized the initial explorations into a creative process incorporating the solution of non-rational problems as a catalyst for discovering fresh possibilities within and among the people and media involved. For the next eighteen years, David and Suzanne continued to collaborate on evolving and teaching the Synergic Theater Creative Process Workshop, as well as applying its underlying sensibility to the creation of their own original productions.

aden swirlFrom the beginning, the Synergic Theater existed as an awareness, a perceptual framework, a perspective that deliberately defied definition, yet achieved new levels of insight when experienced first hand. Like the performances, the workshops clarified through that experience rather than its description; or perhaps different kinds of descriptions resulted from different dimensions of experience. Either way, here are a number of approaches in our own words and others to explaining “Synergy”:

3 shadwosFrom a formal description: “The workshop is designed to transcend the formal boundaries within and between sound, light and movement media in order to achieve a fresh creative perspective. This perspective is then applied to individual and collaborative improvisations utilizing the media involved.” (read all)

A more informal approach: “... see sounds, hear images, move inside out, speak upside down and generally encounter the raw material of life as it really is, was or might be.” (read all)

In others’ words...liz short

Workshop performance review: Liz Lee, Durham Morning Herald (read)

Comments from Synergic Theater Workshop participants:

Nancy Smithner—Theater Performer/Director/Teacher (NYC): "I have been writing material combining movement, script, music, lights etc. for 10 years now and am always searching for new ways of discovery. I felt that your method allowed one to reach inside oneself and draw out a wealth of imagination and ideas. It was really invaluable. You have got something fantastic there in your own style and I'm lucky I chanced into your world." read (handwritten)
Laura Fernandez—Performing Artist (NYC): "David and Suzanne Manning's Synergic Theater Workshop led us into direct contact with our creative and theatrical instincts, without opportunity for doubt. We were elevated into a state where first impressions reigned, senses mattered and essence emerged. Never knew this stuff existed before... now it's part of my theater vocabulary." Complete comments to come.
Nuria Olivè—Choreographer/videographer (Barcelona, Spain): “For me, to participate in the Synergic Theater Workshop has meant an open window on the world of creativity. I have had the opportunity to be involved with means that are closer to my emotions, my body's unconscious memory and the imagination, and therefore a deeper insight that technical burden and ongoing monotony kill if not redeemed at times. With Suzanne and David everything makes sense, has value and importance—they know how to make the difficult easy." read (handwritten, Spanish)
Mark Lerner—Philosophy student (NYC)"Suzanne and David offered a controlled space to bring out the spontaneity and creativity. It was extremely encouraging, and I learned a lot. I felt able to open up with these people, and within this environment.” read (hand and typed)
Dawn Knipe—Arts Administrator (NYC): "The well-planned, thoughtful exercises provided the freedom to create. As an arts administrator, I had developed a life style of rigid discipline and routines while working full time in New York City. I had become desensitized to the world around me. The Synergic Theater Workshop helped me to break down some of the barriers formed in my adulthood. As each session concluded, I felt myself opening to my environment." read (typed)

Caroline Raines—Dancer (KY): "This kind of atmosphere was good for me as a dancer. It brought many ideas into a whole new light. It was wonderful to use my movement with the other available opportunities—sound, imagery, lighting, etc.. The problems we had to solve made me think of myself not as a dancer but as a person evolving materials together. Choreography came a lot easier to me by being able to combine all these materials as a whole." read (typed)
Isabelle Morin—Artist (Nantes, France): "I enjoyed the rarely-offered opportunity to use the whole body (dance, sounds, images) as a first medium and the even rarer one of learning the management of the whole set (lights, music, sound & and the free use of costumes & props)." Complete comments to come.

Katy Matheson—dance writer (NYC): “What I loved were the exercises, which were carefully devised and based on extensive experience. They opened me to areas which I could not have as easily explored elsewhere or which I might not have thought to explore. I liked the wide range and diversity of the exercises as well as the organization of them and the fact that they were directed or guided for maximum effect.” read (typed)

Lynn Anderson—dancer (NYC/NC): “It is rare to find a space where one can be so immersed in their own experience and yet so connected to the other participants.  A very internal communication happens during the workshop between the members.” read (handwritten)

We're not sure exactly what this is or who wrote it, but it captures a lot of the content and sensibility of the 1977 "Bits and Pieces of a Midsummer Night's Theme" workshop presentation. read






copyright © Synergic Theater 2013