WHAT'S BEING SAID ABOUT MARGOLIS METHOD RESIDENCIES

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA LAS VEGAS, PERFORMANCE RESIDENCY
Louis Kavouras, Chair

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great pleasure that I recommend Kari Margolis and the Margolis’ Method to your organization or institution.  In 1999, the UNLV College of Fine Arts began a performance program at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, the largest performing arts festival in the world.  The emphasis of the festival is new, original and cutting edge work.  Each year UNLV takes thirty to forty students to the festival for a month of performances.  In our discussions, several of us felt it important that we find an artist who could create a work for UNLV dance and theatre students that would embrace the caliber and the spirit of the work at the fringe.   

The work of Kari Margolis immediately came to mind.

In March of 2003, Kari Margolis came to UNLV to develop an original work with six dancers, six actors, a stage manager, costumer and lighting designer.  The result of this unique collaboration wasThe Human Show

The Human Show is wonderful.  Rarely has an artist come to the university and created such a unique, poignant, hilarious, and touching work.  Kari Margolis did a masterful job incorporating dancers and actors into the work.  Many who saw the show were unable to differentiate the actors from the dancers, both moved and acted beautifully and ineffably.  I attribute this to Kari’s unique and clear understanding of movement technique, acting and voice technique.  She has synthesized this information into the Margolis’ Method.  This technique is clear, technically challenging and profound.  It allows the student to tap into their movement technique, vocal potential and acting style.  Rarely have I seen a technique based on solid principal, core strengthening and conditioning and solid flexible result and style.  The work both in technique and performance is simply put, profound.  Speaking for the students involved in the project, they will never look at a work of theatre or dance the same way again.

In our programs, Kari Margolis was able to create a magical work of theater and dance.  She gave the students the skills and technique to keep this work alive over the course of their month of performances in Scotland.  The piece was well received by critics and public.  It transcended culture and language, effecting many who saw and experienced the work.  It was innately human.  

When the work returned to the United States it was entered into the American College Theatre Festival and was chosen as representative of the best work in the Southwest Region.  After being performed and receiving excellent feedback at this Regional Festival in San Bernardino, California,The Human Show was selected to be presented at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, to represent the best college theatre of the year.  It will be performed in Washington DC. In April 2004.

To say that UNLV is happy with the work of Kari Margolis and this project is an understatement.  Rarely has our Artist-In-Residency program produced such significant and profound results.  The process of creating the work, the training in the Margolis’ Method, and the performance of the work of art created are all incredible.

I highly recommend Kari Margolis to your program.  Projects such as these are unique and important.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

kavouras@ccmail.nevada.edu or 702-895-3827.

Sincerely,

Louis Kavouras, Chair
Department of Dance 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas


TOWSON UNIVERSITY / ONE WEEK RESIDENCY FOR MFA PROGRAM
Stephan Nunns, Director of MFA  Program in Theatre Arts

January 14, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to recommend Kari Margolis. Kari came to Townson University this past semester to do a one-week workshop in the MFA theatre program. It was, by all accounts, a phenomenal success.

Guest artists often have a difficult time coming into workshop situations—more often than not the first couple of sessions are spent evaluating the students who are present, so that the actual work becomes truncated. This can be a course of frustration for both the visitor and the students (not to mention cranky administrators such as myself). 

In Kari’s case, the exact opposite happened. Students were quickly thrust into the Margolis Method—a form of physical theatre training that Kari has been working on for 25 years that has its roots in Etienne Decroux, Brechtian theory and Grotowski training.

Though physically based, it is oriented towards the performer, so that students from all backgrounds found resonance for their work, regardless as to whether they came from dance, experimental performance, or “straight” theatre backgrounds. We in fact have all of these kinds of students at Towson, and the fact that Kari could so easily connect with all of them is a testament not only to the method itself, but to her own amazing pedagogical and personal approach.

The students loved Kari—so much that I did not receive a single note of criticism from any of them (a first). And in fact, a couple of the students have expressed serious interest in continuing their studies with her at her company’s summer residency program. This is a true testament to how she won them over.

I sincerely recommend Kari and the Margolis Method to any institution. I am quite sure that Towson will continue a relationship with her in the future. 

Sincerely,

Stephen Nunns
Director
MFA Program in Theatre Arts
Towson University


LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION 
Kent / Director, Playwright and Teacher

Kari Margolis has a physical/kinetic genius that is specifically theatrical, not choreographic - meaning she is a physical director who thinks and communicates like a dramatist, not like a dancer.  Her stage productions are created through her ability to get performers to translate her rich, complex imagery into compelling, frequently breathtaking dramatic actions, often ensemble-based rather than individual. She is neither a playwright, nor auteur, but something far more high-wire: a visionary stage director who creates from scratch in the rehearsal hall, her only maps being her schematic of images and her unique ability to elicit performance from the actor's total body.  

Contemporary actors bring a lot of the pathology of a talking head culture with them onto the stage: many of them act from the neck up.  Kari is able to break down that mind/body duality.  For this reason I find her work more substantive and engaging than some artists to whom she might be compared, like Meredith Monk, Ping Chong or Robert Wilson.  She in not just imagistic, but also dramatic, and her art is not only ravishing to look at, but also acerbically humorous and trenchantly political, usually examining humans as victims of a culture they have created but no longer control.  Also, there is high virtuosity in the performing. 

Kari is that rare animal: a theatre artist/philosopher who is equally strong in both aspects.  Her theories on performance and actor training are already placing her on the international stage, where she is being spoken of in the same breath with physical theatre theorists like Eugenio Barba and Tadashi Suzuki.  She is able to transition quickly from specific direction to the larger philosophical ideas behind her method - and it is her method - and make those ideas not just understood but inspirational.  I have personally learned more from her in our short association than I have from any performing artist I've collaborated with in the past fifteen years - that is no hype.

"Discipline and Commitment'?  She almost invented the words.  She is always the first to arrive for rehearsal, for a class, for a meeting and commits to every project like she is saving a life.  My one wish for her is a more secure floor so that she could give up some of those commitments that she is so scrupulous in fulfilling and focus more on her self and her artistry.  The McKnight Theatre Artist Fellowship would allow her to do so.  I urge you to recognize the significant contributions Kari Margolis is making to performing arts in the Twin Cities and beyond by supporting her work plan to research and develop her new production THE DAY I TURNED INVISIBLE.

Kent Stephens; Director, Playwright 
Former Head of B.A. Program, University of Minnesota
Department of Theatre and Dance


University of Maryland, Baltimore County
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, Maryland 21250
Phone: 410-455-2917
Fax: 410-455-1046
Voice/TTY: 410-455-3233
Box Office: 410-455-2476
www.umbc.edu

UMBC
An Honors University in Maryland
Department of Theatre

 

 
November 23, 2008

To Whom It May Concern: 

I am writing in support of Kari Margolis, who recently conducted workshops as a guest artist for our undergraduate acting students at UMBC. 

During the past several years, we have had the fortune of inviting a number of distinguished guest artists to conduct two and three-day workshops with our BFA students. They have included a number of accomplished physical theatre artist-instructors, as well as distinguished directors including Anne Bogart and Lee Breuer. Kari Margolis was among the most effective teaching artists we hosted. It is not only the strengths and merits of the Margolis Method itself (which are substantial), but the way Kari brings her students into a kinetic understanding of them that makes her so successful. During the workshops, Kari led the students through experiential exercises and demonstrations that seemed both carefully planned and intuitively adjusted to the actors’ particular challenges. She explained the concepts with clarity and directness as the students worked through them. I was actually astonished by how much information she was able to impart (both physically and intellectually) in only nine hours. The students came out of the workshops exhausted and inspired. They clearly gained a deeper respect for their craft and a clearer understanding of what lay ahead of them. The group created a Facebook page to share their workshop notes and to connect with the wider community of Kari’s students. But what I have found most gratifying since her visit is the students’ broader vernacular for discussing and solving specific acting challenges they are encountering in rehearsal. Their ability to recognize lack of truthfulness in themselves and acting partners has grown sharper.

My colleagues and I found Kari Margolis to be a warm, energetic, engaging, and generous artist. Her method is exceptionally well developed and efficacious. I hope you will consider her application favorably. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Colette Searls
Associate Professor of Theatre
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
(410) 455-3529