updates connected to the book Idylls for a Bare Stage
& to performances of the Idylls
& other initiatives related to the Art of the Poetic Monologue

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Performer Profile: Natalie Cutcher

This Friday morning, for our program titled A Shared Imagining: Beyond Self-Enclosure in Performance through the theory and technique of the Idyll at Towson University's 5th annual Geo-aesthetics Conference (see just previous entry), Natalie Cutcher will apply our theory and approach to "Leda" by Anne Ashbaugh, a poetic soliloquy. This will directly follow Anne's lecture on Penelope - I'm thrilled once again to present her "Leda" in a new incarnation with a new performer, beautiful as it is in its poetry and sensuous sense, and compatible as it is with the multilevel imaginative approach of the Idylls performance technique.

I called Natalie after watching her at the D.C Actors' Center Lottery Auditions this fall, and she came to our work cold, without introduction to our performances or participation in the Power of the Poetic Monologue workshops. 

Nevertheless, Natalie immediately accessed the poetry of Anne Ashbaugh's Leda during the first rehearsal, with an instinctive feel for the more abstract aspects of the piece's flights ("the pleasure clinging to our dying flesh surpasses god's, persists, but slides from the immortal frame not knowing how to end, stretching"), and since then she has brought out naturally, with flowing ease, the play - the clash - of  human encounter with the divine. Here, with the rape of Leda by Zeus as a swan, this encounter is violent, transgressive, under duress - all that is indeed there in her relation to the character, and yet Natalie keeps the lyric in her body as she moves and at times glides through the piece, appropriate to its mythic import.

The lyric in Natalie's movement: towards activation of the intrinsic power of words, the Idylls approach begins with a variety of exercises designed to connect to the script with immediacy, by-passing analysis; recently, we've tried taking spatial, stretching, dance-like passes through the words, and this has had an excellent effect for Natalie's Leda, becoming part of her performance and interpretation, giving her an ethereal glide in retention of flight and myth along with the realistic human psychology of coping with a violation - flight of poetic myth even in the piece's affirming human love and capacity over the divine.

From activation of the power of the words to conscious blocking of the imagination, Natalie has created multi-level access to Anne's poetry, ready to place - in the bare space of a conference hall - feathers in the air, a ringing in her Leda's ears, the bizarre divine egg in Leda's womb.

Natalie Cutcher as Leda

Natalie Cutcher is currently pursuing acting in the DC metro area.  She has previously been seen collaborating with Faction of Fools, Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival, Source Festival, Washington Rogues, Arts Alive, and Empty Chair Theatre Company.  While earning her BA from Muhlenberg College she had the opportunity to study Commedia dell'Arte and clowning abroad in Italy as well as perform locally.  She is happily a member of the Ford's Theatre team by day.

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