Abraham Celaya

Theatre / Movement / Viewpoints / Los puntos de Vista Escénicos / Movimiento Escenico

(English) Intro: Viewpoints.


«A Different Way To Create Life Onstage»

♦ Please watch the 5 Videos of Exercises and Work Created in this workshop. Thanks.

♦ ♦ ♦ OVERVIEW ♦ ♦ ♦

The Seminar - Workshop has two sections:

A) Training

a. Training in the Discipline and Philosophy of Viewpoints (3 hours per session) by Abraham Celaya. This part is mandatory for all participants: Actors, Directors, Designer, etc.

b. Training in the practice of Composition (3 hours per session) by Abraham Celaya.

c. Training in the application of Viewpoints for Costume & Scenic Design. (3 hours per session) by Frederica Nascimento.

B) Creation & Presentation: the Seminar - Workshop will be aimed towards a public presentation of the work created by the participants of the Seminar.

a. This creation/presentation will be based on a theme decided conjointly by the Facilitators of the Seminar and by the representative of the Institution where the Seminar - Workshop takes place, e.i.: Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Snow White, Short Stories with a common theme, etc., that will give thematic unity to the public presentation

b. The duration on the Seminar - Workshop will be decided according to the expectations of the Institution and the daily routine of the curriculum.

c. For best results, it is advised a minimum of 15 hours per discipline per week with a minimum of 3 weeks.

1. Concept: Introduction To Viewpoints As Developed By Anne Bogart.

1.1. What is “Viewpoints?”

-Viewpoints is a philosophy, an acting tool that help in the relationship that the individual relates to stage space and time, and help this individual to concentrate in the aforementioned dramatic elements.

1.2. To whom is directed this Seminar - Workshop?

-To anybody dedicated to explore their human artistic being: Musicians, Actors, Directors, Designers, Dancers…, or anybody with an artistic sensibility with no previous training in any specific discipline.

1.3. Do participants need to have a specific acting training in order to be part of the Seminar - Workshop?

-No. This Seminar - Workshop is not about stage acting, but stage interpretation/discovery. This is a Seminar - Workshop about movement and interpretation in motion in space and time. It is a Seminar - Workshop about stage interpretation because the discovery and knowledge of the stage language and its relationship with space helps the artist in their own interpretation.

2. Elements and Skills of Viewpoints.-

2.1. Participants are going to learn, or better yet to Recall Their Artistic Human Being.

2.2. Participants are going to learn how to connect the DOTS on space (individuals), so they will be able to see the WHOLE picture (work as a whole).

2.3. Participants are going to RECALL how to work as a team onstage: to be an ENSEMBLE.

3.0 Participant Outcomes:

Participants will be able to:

3.1 Be aware of what their own body is doing onstage.

3.2 Be aware of their sense of space onstage (Individual & Ensemble).

3.3 Acquire a clearer physical vocabulary: body language (Individual & Ensemble).

3.4 Get inspired within the Ensemble to grow and evolve.

3.5 Have a better sense of who they are as individual and creators.

3.6 Be more aware of what means to be a Conscious Human Sentient Being (CHSB) instead of just a Human Being (HB).

4 Who’s Who?

4.1 Development of the Viewpoints and Composition.

  • Anne Bogart:

Anne Bogart starting developing the philosophy/technique of the Viewpoints in the Department of Experimental Theatre at New York University in late 60s.

Nowadays, this technique has become an instrument of training for actors, as well as a methodology for directors and designers in their treatment of dramatic space and time.

Anne Bogart is the Artistic Director of Saratoga International Theatre Institute (SITI) Company, which founded with Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki in 1992. She is also a professor at Columbia University where she runs the Graduate Directing Program.

4.2 Creator and Facilitator of the Seminar - Workshop Viewpoints & Composition

  • Abraham Celaya:

Associate Director with Benny Sato Ambush at the American Conservatory Theatre ’s production of Pecong collaborating with him there in other productions for two seasons. Directed professional theatre: San Francisco; Cleveland Public Theatre/Health Museum, Hollywood, North Hollywood, and at the New Works Festival and Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles). In 2002 Celaya became the Artistic & Education Director of Theatre of Hope & Youth Spirit in North Hollywood; and previously he was for one season the Outreach Coordinator of the Pasadena Playhouse.

His production of The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria by Fernando Arrabal (his own translation) at Stages Theatre Center (Hollywood) was hailed by Vanity Fair Magazine as “fresh gale for the Hollywood stage…;” and qualified by the Hollywood Reporter as “…deft direction…”

Some New York credits: Creature/Creations by Eugenio Griffero (Celaya’s translation) at Schapiro Studio, Cities Of The Plain by Mark Schultz (Horace Mann Theatre), Pilgrimage Of Memories (Based in the life and work of Luis Buñuel) by Lorenzo Buford (Horace Mann Theatre, part of MOMA Buñuel Centennial Anniversary) and Tea Time by Lorenzo Buford (Schapiro Theatre.) with Tony award winner Gretha Boston.

Celaya is a member of ADE (Theatre Directors Guild of Spain) and holds a MFA from Columbia University Theatre Directing Program. Since 2003 he is the facilitator with Frederica Nascimento for the Seminar - Workshop: Viewpoints - Composition - Design: A New Way To Create Life Onstage.

He is the Editor & Translator of the book Anne Bogart - Viewpoints / Anne Bogart - Los Puntos de Vista Escénicos, of which renown Spanish critic and dramaturg, Manuel F. Vietes said:

“…Y todo ello no es sino la antesala, el complemento, si se quiere, de una notable trayectoria artística como directora de escena, de la que Abraham Celaya, su discípulo y ahora traductor al castellano, nos ofrece una detallada síntesis.

Este libro que ahora nos llega, de la mano de nuestro colega Abraham Celaya, constituye en realidad una especie de recapitulación polifónica en torno a lo que puedan ser eso que Anne Bogart, ha definido como viewpoints, o puntos de vista escénicos, a partir de una investigación de las raíces del teatro norteamericano y de sus practicas,…”

For more information please check:


4.3 Creator and Facilitator of the Seminar - Workshop Viewpoints in Design: Costumes & Scenic

  • 4.4 Frederica Nascimento

Frederica Nascimento is a Scenic and Costume designer who works in theatre, opera, dance, and film. She is a graduate from Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, Instituto de Formação, Investigação e Criação Teatral (IFIC), Aula do Risco, and Faculty of Architecture of Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa. She is the recipient of numerous awards and received her MFA (double Master in Scenic Design & Film Design) from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University with the J. S. Seidman Award for Excellence in Design. She is a scholar with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Luso-American Foundation and a member of the Portuguese Architects Association.

Frederica has worked among others with directors José Álvaro Morais, Manoel de Oliveira, Wim Wenders, Pina Bausch, Robert Wilson, Jane Campion, João César Monteiro, Rogério de Carvalho, Nuno Carinhas, João Mota, Paulo Lages, Ana Tamen, Paulo Ribeiro, José Nascimento, João Canijo, Nuno M. Cardoso, Ruben Polendo, Abraham Celaya, Annie Kaufman, Will Pomerantz, Julia Frodahl, Heather Woodbury, Reyther Ortega, among others, in several theatres in Portugal, New York and Los Angeles. She is the art director in several photo shootings and video for the musical group Edison Woods. She worked in Portugal with theatre companies such as Teatro Persona, Opera Segundo S. Mateus and Cão Solteiro (co-founder).

Since its formation in 2002, Frederica collaborates regularly with Johannes Wieland Dance Company in New York as a Set and Costume Designer. She was a Design Fellow for the renowned theatre company for its experimental and avant-garde work, the New York Theatre Workshop, being invited afterwards to become a Usual Suspect: a member of its community of artists.

5 Viewpoints: Specifics.-

5.1 Viewpoints of Time:

  • 5.1.1 Tempo: the rate of speed at which a movement occurs; how fast or slow something happens onstage.
  • 5.1.2 Duration: How long a movement or sequence of movements continues. Durations, in terms of Viewpoints work, specifically relates to how long a group of people working together stay inside a certain section of movement before it changes.
  • 5.1.3 Repetition: The repeating of something onstage. Repetition includes: Internal Repetition (a movement within the body); and External Repetition (shapes, tempo, gestures, etc., of something outside the body).

  • 5.1.4 Kinesthetic Response: A spontaneous reaction to motion which occurs outside of the participant. The timing in which one responds to external events of movement or sound. The impulsive movement that occurs from a stimulations of the senses. An example: someone claps in front of one’s eyes and we blink in response; or someone slams a door and we impulsively sand up from our chair.

5.2 Viewpoints of Space:

  • 5.2.1 Shape: The contour or outline the body (or bodies) makes in space. All Shape can be broken down into either lines, curves, combination of lines and curves.

Therefore, in Viewpoints training we create shapes that are round, shapes that are angular, shapes that are a mixture of these two. In addition, Shape can either be: stationary; moving through space.

Lastly, Shape can be made in one of three forms: the body in space; the body in relationship to architecture making a shape; the body in relationship to other bodies making a shape.

  • 5.2.2 Gesture: A movement involving a part or parts of the body; Gesture is Shape with a beginning, middle and end. Gestures can be made with the hands, the arms, the legs, the head, the mouth, the eyes, the feet, the stomach, or any other part or combination of parts that can be isolated. Behavioral Gesture. Belongs to the concrete, physical world of human behavior as we observe it in our everyday reality: scratching, pointing, waving, sniffing, bowing, saluting. It can give information about character, time period, physical health, circumstance, weather, clothes, etc.. It is usually defined by a person’s character or the time and place in which they live. Private Gesture: actions performed in solitude; and Public Gesture: those performed with awareness of or proximity to others. Expressive Gesture. Expresses an inner state, an emotion, a desire, an idea or a value. It is abstract and symbolic rather than representational. It is universal, and it might be expressive of, or stand for, such emotions as “Joy,” “Grief” or “Anger.” Or it might express the inner essence of Hamlet as a given actor feels him; or, in a production of Chekhov, you might create and work with Expressive Gestures of or for Time,” “Memory” or “Moscow.”

  • 5.2.3 Architecture: The physical environment in which the ensemble is working, and how awareness of it affects movement when exploring or using the surrounding architecture/set/stage. In working on Architecture as a Viewpoint, we learn to dance with the space, to be in dialogue with a room, to let movement (especially Shape and Gesture) evolve out of our surroundings. Architecture is broken down into: Solid Mass. Walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, windows, doors, etc. Texture. Whether the solid mass is wood or metal or fabric will change the kind of movement we create in relationship to it. Light. The sources of light in the room, the shadows we make in relationship to these sources, etc. Color. Creating movement off of colors in the space, e.g., how one red chair among many black ones would affect our choreography in relation to that chair. Sound. Sound created by and from the architecture, e.g., the sound of feet on the floor, the creak of a door, etc.

Additionally, in working with Architecture, we create spatial metaphors, giving form to such feelings as «I’m- “-up against the wall,” “-caught between the cracks,” “-trapped,” “-lost in space,” “-on the threshold,” “-high as a kite,” etc

  • 5.2.4 Spatial Relationship: The distance between things onstage, especially one body to another; one body (or bodies) to a group of bodies; the body to the architecture.

♦ What is the full range of possible distances between things onstage?

♦ What kinds of groupings allow us to see a stage picture more clearly?

♦ Which groupings suggest an event or emotion, express a dynamic? In both real life and onstage, we tend to position ourselves at a polite two- or three-foot distance from some one we are talking to.

♦ When we become aware of the expressive possibilities of Spatial Relationship onstage, we begin working with less polite but more dynamic distances of extreme proximity or extreme separation.

  • 5.2.5 Topography/Pattern: The landscape, the floor pattern, the design we create in movement through space. In defining a landscape, for instance, we might decide that the downstage area has great density is difficult to move through, while the upstage area has less density and therefore involves more fluidity and faster tempos. To understand floor pattern, imagine that the bottoms of your feet are painted red; as you move through the space, the picture that evolves on the floor is the floor pattern that emerges over time. In addition, staging or designing for performance always involves choices about the size and shape of the space we work in. For example, we might choose to work in a narrow three-foot strip all the way downstage or in a giant triangular shape that covers the whole floor, etc.

6 Composition.-

6.1 Composition is a method for creating new work.

6.2 Composition is the practice of selecting and arranging the separate components of theatrical language into a cohesive work of art for the stage. It is the same technique that any choreographer, painter, writer, composer or filmmaker uses in their corresponding disciplines. In theater, it is writing on your feet, with others, in space and time, using the language of the stage.

6.3 Composition is a method for generating, defining and developing the theater vocabulary that will be used for any given piece. In Composition, we make pieces so that we can point to them and say: “That worked,” and ask: “Why?” so that we can then articulate which ideas, moments, images, etc., we will include in our production.

6.4 Composition is a method for revealing to ourselves our hidden thoughts and feelings about the material. Because we usually make Compositions in rehearsal in a compressed period of time, we have no time to think. Composition provides a structure for working from our impulses and intuition. As Pablo Picasso once said, making art is “another way of keeping a diary.”

6.5 Composition is an assignment given to an ensemble so that it can create short, specific theater pieces addressing a particular aspect of the work. We use Composition during rehearsal to engage the collaborators in the process of generating their own work around a source. The assignment will usually include an overall intention or structure as well as a substantial list of ingredients which must be included in the piece. This list is the raw material of the theater language we’ll speak in the piece, either principles that are useful for staging (symmetry versus asymmetry, use of scale and perspective, juxtaposition, etc.) or the ingredients that belong specifically to the Play-World we are working on (objects, textures, colors, sounds, actions, etc.) These ingredients are to a Composition what single words are to a paragraph or essay. The creator makes meaning through their arrangement.

6.6 Composition is a method for being in dialogue with other art forms, as it borrows from and reflects the other arts. In Composition work, we study and use principles from other disciplines translated for the stage. For example, borrowing from music, we might ask what the rhythm of a moment is, or how to interact based on a fugue structure, or how a coda functions and whether or not we should add one. Or we’ll think about film: “How do we stage a close-up? An establishing shot? A montage?” And we’ll ask: “What is the equivalent in the theater?” In applying Compositional principles from other disciplines to the theater, we push the envelope of theatrical possibility and challenge ourselves to create new forms.

6.7 Composition is the tool that allows the creator (whether director, writer, performer, designer, etc.) to apply and express Viewpoints technique and philosophy in a artistic way: a method for practicing the art of theatre.

Viewpoints: Exercises & Class Presentations


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FIRE…? …FIRE…!!!!!

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