On Devising It Your Way
by Monika Browne

FB_IMG_1435239573810-1Many people ask what’s so special about Fargo. It’s in North Dakota – aka the freezer of the US – hours away from any major city, and there are few nationally-recognized cultural entities to draw artists for fame and fortune. In fact Fargo sees a drain of young artists who get their education here but want to spread their wings in places which can foster success, like Los Angeles and New York.

But there is a competitive venture growing in Fargo, which has its eyes set on making fulfilling artistic work possible for artists in the region: Theatre B. This is where I attended “Devise It Your Way,” a training lead by Chelsea Pace, Assistant Professor of Movement at North Dakota State University. Theatre B offered an intensive, two-week training with Chelsea in the beginning of June 2015, and in the doing so, it helped me find a tribe. Let me explain, it’s a Seth Godin-like tribe: a group of like-minded people who want to do great things together. In my case, it is a group which comes together to learn from each other how to make a piece of performance from scratch.

The leading professions of the world (law, medicine, education, business) require their practitioners to attend continuing education seminars on a regular basis. This is to help keep them current on the developments in their fields and to help them move with the times. Artists don’t get recognized for the continuing education they organize for themselves. In our region, the education provided by Theatre B helps artists practice their respective disciplines through such trainings as “Devise It Your Way.” Like sports, this requires commitment, team building, team work, learning techniques, and being able to use them in an improvisational way “when it’s go time.” Personally, I love comparing theatre to sports because both require close work and communication with other individuals and a sharing of talents to bring them to a common goal. Both require serious play. By attending the training with Theatre B, I learned new skills to use on stage and in my individual creative work, and played hard with many talented artists of the Fargo Moorhead area.

There is nothing more fulfilling than meeting individuals who you may have worked with in the past, met in passing, or seen perform, and be encouraged to suddenly create something new together. It’s quite exciting indeed. Thank you, Theatre B, for offering artists like me an opportunity to seriously play.