Greetings from Umbria! Kevin's Summer Abroad, Part 1

Devoted Azuka blog followers! Members of the Azuka family! Characters in the Azuka Cinematic Universe! It’s been a while -- a long while, actually -- too long -- since I last spoke to you. I was finishing up my last quarter of my junior year at Drexel, and am now spending the summer away from Philly, so, sadly, away from Azuka. Well, the summer is quiet anyway, and so not full of abundant blogging material. A real opportunity was going to have to present itself to re-ignite the embers that burn at the heart once-reliable gas-powered blog machine. Well lo and behold…speaking of "away from Philly"...

Our own beloved Producing Artistic Director and noted Applebee’s devotee (*sigh* not actually) Kevin Glaccum is currently on a trip across the pond for both some spectacular sight-seeing and an exciting professional endeavor, as you’ll read about shortly. So, naturally, we wanted to keep in touch with him during this journey, as well as share with you all what he’s up to!

He spent his first week in Rome, a city I’m told has some pretty neat history, and yesterday sent me this summary of what the second week looked like, as well as some stunning photos. Kevin, take it away.

 A symposium with a view.

A symposium with a view.

"Greetings from Umbria! After an action packed week in Rome, I arrived at LaMaMa Umbria on Monday, July 16. We were given the tour of the grounds and a bit of the history of this place: the founder of LaMaMa, Ellen Stewart, was awarded a MacArthur genius grant and used the money to purchased this old farm in Umbria. Shortly thereafter she was encouraged to use the place as a retreat for directors and writers and LaMaMa Umbria was born! I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful this place is. They’re not sure what some of the buildings were used for originally, it may have been a convent, but they converted a barn into a rehearsal space and the rest of the grounds are covered in a variety of rooms and bungalows.

 The stunning setting for a movement class at LaMaMa

The stunning setting for a movement class at LaMaMa

There are 15 directors taking part in this symposium, ranging in age from 21 to 63. There’s a huge breadth of experience from undergraduate designers looking to expand their artistry, to freelance directors, tenured educators and yours truly, a Producing Artistic Director. It’s a two week residency, with two Master teachers the first week and two the second. The sessions are 4 hours in the morning then lunch then 4 hours in the afternoon. They’re long, but really fulfilling days. There’s nothing quite like being in the company of artists when all you’re focusing on is the task at hand. There are no ‘money jobs’ to contend with, grants to write or deadlines to meet. It’s simply about creating work, delving further into your art. It’s thrilling. Also a little intimidating. This morning we were tasked with doing something with a small piece of text that had been assigned to us…and WOW did people bring their A game! Someone created sound and video cues using his laptop…and we’re kind of in the middle of nowhere! It was imaginative and impressive work.

 The class in session

The class in session

Tomorrow we tour Umbria, and then the next two Master teachers start their sessions on Tuesday. Based on what’s happened so far, I eagerly await hearing what they have to say!"

- Kevin

Thanks Kevin! We’ll check back in soon. Readers, what adventures have you been up to this summer? Let us know! And keep coming back for more summer blog material...I might be in a long-distance relationship with Azuka right now, but they’re still in my heart.

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- Lucas