Unstuck: From the outside, looking in Mar 4, 2014

by Brett Love

In the spirit of collaboration and inspired by Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People’s And lose the name of action March 6 – 9, 2014, On the Boards Ambassador Team 4 invited Seattle’s Blood Ensemble to host a workshop on developing a creative, democratic dialogue for the creation of new work for artists of different genres.

Brett is one of the Team 4 Ambassadors who helped facilitate the workshop entitled UNSTUCK.

Read the AMBASSADOR NOTE about the workshop.


I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about things when we announced the Blood Ensemble workshop.  Leading up to it, so much depended on getting a wide-ranging group of artists to sign up to go through their moment work process. They would be key to the success of the project. Fortunately, as the names started to come in, nerves were settled. 

By the time the workshop rolled around, we had an amazing group ready to take on the challenge. Actors, dancers, directors, writers, musicians… It was as good a group of participants as we could have hoped for. And it only got better as the day progressed. 

I sat in on the last half of the workshop, to see how it all came together. The thing that I was immediately struck by was how quickly everyone had bought in to the idea. The BE team would hand out prompts for creating the next moment and there would be this crazed fury of activity. People were bouncing all over the space. Props were chosen. Lights were set up. A score was created.

The moments that resulted were wildly varied, and some were amazing. One had the audience lying on the floor with their heads together staring at the ceiling. Another found the audience clustered in a tiny alcove at the top of the stairs in complete darkness, slowly making their way down to the space to learn what was making that sound below. There was another where the audience could only experience the space one at a time before being sorted on exit. It was easy to see how the process empowers and supports the creativity of the performers. 

There was also valuable and frank discussion. One participant asked the very intriguing question, “When does this process fail?” The resulting exchange was interesting. It showed the strengths and weaknesses of the process, while bringing the traditional theatre process into the equation.

Perhaps the biggest challenge the workshop faced was simply that of time. Where they normally take six months, a year, or more, to create one of their shows, the Blood Ensemble was distilling that down to five hours. They managed to pull it off. As the day was coming to a close, a short play was crafted. Built from the blocks that the group had created throughout the day, there was a finished product. 

As it all played out I couldn’t help but be impressed. I felt very lucky to be a fly on the wall to witness this incredible group of people sharing their passions and their knowledge and coming together to create something new.  I can’t thank the Blood Ensemble and the participants in the workshop enough for making this project such an overwhelming success.