This year at Bates, the Theater Department is lucky enough to have two visiting lecturers. These new arrivals, Sally Wood and Cory Hinkle, are sure to contribute new and refreshing ideas that will enhance the department.
Sally Wood is a jack-of-all-trades; she directs, acts and even choreographs fight scenes. From the very beginning Wood was always a sort of misfit, but in an interview she recalls that “theater was the place where [she] felt loved and respected and valued.” Finding her niche allowed Wood to excel and gave her the confidence to succeed.
Directing fight scenes is a very unique aspect of Wood’s repertoire. Fight scenes on stage differ greatly from those seen in movies. During a live performance, the cast and crew have to be safe, aware, and completely in control the entire time. Wood notes that she “love[s] designing fights because it requires two very different things from the actors involved. One: they have to have immense energy and passion. Two: they have to use absolute precision.” These two components are crucial for the fight to look authentic and be safe for the actors.
This awesomely fun aspect of theater – while looking great on stage – takes time to perfect. Wood says, “Even with good, experienced fighters, you need about five hours of rehearsal for every minute of the fight.” While this is a long process, the end result flows fluidly onstage and the audience is none the wiser. This intelligent trickery is one of the many theatrical illusions that a seasoned pro like Wood knows how to use to her advantage.
Wood has high hopes for her stay in our community. She wants “to bring a strong sense of enthusiasm and passion for the art.” To her, theater is a two way street between the actors and audience. The more the actors engage with each other, the more the audience will enjoy the performance. Furthermore, Batesies in her classes teach her through “courage and humor new ways to tackle problems and to be present in the given moment.”
Cory Hinkle comes to Bates as an accomplished playwright and theater artist. From an early age, Hinkle was surrounded by boisterous family members telling amazing stories. It was through this storytelling avenue that Hinkle developed his interest in writing plays.
One opportunity that really helped Hinkle jumpstart his career was receiving a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis. In an interview, Hinkle reminisces that while in this program he lived with eight other writers and together they co-managed a theater company. He remarks that the greatest asset to his career was “by creating [his] own work, by co-creating work with others and by producing [his] own plays.”
Furthermore, Hinkle thinks of himself “as a writer who is knowledgeable and capable of putting up and producing new work, and it’s this background that makes [him] want to work with students.” With so much experience and success, Hinkle offers a lot to Bates.
In only three short weeks here, his students are already positively affecting Hinkle. He hits his stride in the creative process when he gets to “work through teaching.” Batesies in his classes have exceeded this expectation
As a lasting impression, Hinkle hopes his pupils will use all the resources he has to offer. Throughout his years participating in different fellowship programs, writing plays, and immersing himself in the theatrical world, Hinkle learned a great deal about the theater industry. For his students, the biggest lesson he wants them to absorb is “you always learn the most and grow the most when you take a big risk, fail, and then keep trying to make better work.”