Our Mission and Vision
Iron Age Theatre makes sense of history in context and provides a safe space for audience and actor to encounter radical ideas. Iron Age dedicates itself to work created collaboratively and organically focused on the human condition and social justice.
Iron Age Theatre focuses on four main facets of the theatrical experience.
Organic, improvisational based acting
Theatrical production values
Iron Age Theater in a collaborative company. John Doyle and Randall Wise act as a directing team. They exchange ideas, compare intentions and each explore facets of the production. Both assign improvs and both construct and design the set and lights. The actors, composers, the tech crew and trusted members of the iron age community all participate in the development of the play. Ultimately these sometimes disparate ideas are focused through the two directors.
Like all theater, production begins with a read through. The actors each read their parts in a continuous fashion that the directors can get an image of the performers in their roles. This usually includes a short discussion of some of the major thematic issues of the play and some basic character descriptions.
Ultimately one of the core values of Iron Age Theatre is an in-depth analysis of the script. This is done both with the simple attempt to understand author intention but ultimately that is only partially valuable. Considering Rosenblatts Transactional approach to reading permits a director to expand the theatrical potential of any play. The Transactional approach to reading stated that a novel truly exists between the actual written word and the perception or experience of that word by the reader. This makes it possible for different people to have vastly different experiences of a novel in a deeply persona way. It broadens the parameters of the written word but do not destroy all boundaries.
Obviously this applies to theater. All productions in fact almost the entire rehearsal process is a relationship between the actor, the text and the "audience" even if that audience if simply the director. This permits the actors to explore character and idea with great freedom. It also provides the directors more latitude to explore oddities in the text. As directors, Iron Age Theater delves into the words on the page trying to discover the way the puzzle fits together. Often a single word as in "bourbon" in Simpatico or an empty box in Seventy Scenes of Halloween can provide new and dynamic understandings of the script. Even the experience of the actors and their reading of the text colors the overall understanding. Just as any performance can be recreated by the audience and actors and tech so can any discovery in the rehearsal process.
There is usually a week gap between the read through and the first rehearsal during which the directors fine tune their ideas and look for the most fitting way to direct the actors in the play.
The early rehearsal process is entirely improv based. Using a variety of techniques the directors create prior history for the actors, develop emotional or physical attributes for the characters, develop relationships between the actors and their characters, and delve into the subtext of the play. In many cases the actors are forced to be flexible enough to adjust to drastically new direction rapidly.
Each of these rehearsals concludes with some work on the text to bring the improvs to a manifest place.
This improv-based work begins to wane after two or three weeks at which time the scenes are blocked and the play begins to run. There is a focus here on working the scenes for specific purposes, both internally for the actor and externally for the productions needs. Eventually the play is run.
During this time, the production elements that have been developed are integrated into the rehearsals. Usually this includes, an intensive sound plot, music and sound effects, special lighting and set. Props from the improv process may be integrated into costumes of the set. tech weekend for Iron Age is more like final Dress rehearsal. the lights, set and sound are usually in place at that time. they have been slowly and painlessly integrated throughout the last two weeks of rehearsal. Since Iron Age does most of these technical jobs themselves, the reality of the process in brought to life by their own hands.