By Madeline Munding ’22 and Gemma Siegler ’22
On Saturday, November 6th in Studio B, Rocío Mendez and David Anzuelo held a six-hour intensive workshop focusing on intimacy, violence, and anti-racism on stage. Mendez and Anzuelo instantly created a welcoming atmosphere for the students who participated. Their magnetic personalities made it easy to become fully immersed in the exercises.
Mendez and Anzuelo split the six hours up and dedicated about two hours to each topic: intimacy, violence, and anti-racism. For both the intimacy and violence sections, we were led in group and partner exercises. An overarching mantra for all exercises was focusing on “no, but” instead of “yes, and” thinking. Boundaries and consent were huge components in both the intimacy and the violence work. Mendez and Anzuelo made a point to remind us that we should never be asked to do something on stage that we don’t want to do. While certain intimate or violent acts are important to the telling of a story, it’s never more important than our own safety.
At the end of the violence on stage portion, Anzuelo and Mendez led us through simple fight choreography exercises. We were taught how to punch, strangle, and drag someone on stage safely. This was one of the most exciting parts of the workshop, and everyone around us seemed to be enjoying it just as much as we were.
The workshop came to an end with a presentation and discussion on anti-racist theater-making. During the presentation, Mendez led us in three timed free-writes. Students were not required to share what they wrote, but some did, sparking discussions. Both Mendez and Anzuelo provided insights and tips on how to combat racism within theater spaces, and also how to recognize it and properly call it out.
By 6pm that day, all of us who attended the workshop left Studio B with new skills and knowledge surrounding these topics that will help us in our future theater-making endeavors. Everyone in the Skidmore Theater Department is so thankful to Rocío Mendez and David Anzuelo for taking the time to come to campus and lead such an unforgettable workshop.
For more information on Rocío Mendez and David Anzuelo, please go to:
Madeline Munding ’22 and Gemma Siegler ’22 are the Co-Editors in Chief of the Skidmore Theater Living Newsletter