Tag Archives: Creativity

Texas A & M University Press Consortium- PAUL BAKER AND THE INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES edited by Robert Flynn and Eugene McKinney

Edited by Robert Flynn and Eugene McKinney

“Irritating, arrogant, nuts—and a genius.” That’s what Charles
Laughton said of Paul Baker. He also said, “Paul Baker is one of
the most important minds in the world theater today. He seems to
have invented new ways of doing things, and I think something big
will come out of it.”

Something big did come out of it. Stage productions such as
Othello, Hamlet, and A Cloud of Witnesses brought critics
including Henry Hewes of Saturday Review and photographers
such as Eliot Eliosofon of Life magazine to Baylor Theater in
Waco.

Baker’s production of Eugene McKinney’s A Different
Drummer received an invitation from CBS TV’s cultural program,
“Omnibus,” to present the play live from their New York studio.
Baker’s production of As I Lay Dying, Robert Flynn’s adaptation
of William Faulkner’s novel, brought an invitation to present the
play at the Theater of Nations in Paris, the first non-Broadway
production to compete there, where it won a Special Jury Award.

That was Paul Baker the theater director. Equally important was
Baker’s role as teacher and mentor in the arts. Architect Arthur
Rogers stated, “No single person has contributed more to (theater
architecture) development than Paul Baker.” Baker’s architectural
visions at Baylor Theater, the Dallas Theater Center, and Trinity
University’s Ruth Taylor Theater have inspired similar
constructions not only in the United States but in places such as
Manila and Seoul.

Baker’s teaching philosophy, based on his famous class “The
Integration of Abilities,” has been inspirational. In education Baker
has been founder, mentor, or director of children’s theaters where
children are the creators of the drama; of the Booker T.
Washington School of the Arts; of the Learning About Learning
Foundation, a retail line of interactive kits that included books and
toys; and dozens of creative programs for children, parents, and
educators.

In Paul Baker and the Integration of Abilities Baker tells how a
summer in Paris gave him a new way of looking at theater. Eugene
McKinney describes Baker’s development of writers, and Glenn
Allen Smith demonstrates the use of the elements in creating a
play. In other chapters on acting, directing, speech, and design,
Baker’s ideas gave roots and wings to his students and colleagues.

Despite invitations from theaters in other places, including
Austria, Germany, Yugoslavia, and New Zealand, and offers of
positions at other universities, Baker chose to remain in Texas
where he was born and where he lives today.

_________________________________________________________

ROBERT FLYNN is the author of twelve books including North to
Yesterday, Wanderer Springs, and Tie-Fast Country. Flynn’s stage
adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying premiered at Baylor
Theater and was presented by the Dallas Theater Center at the
Theater of Nations competition in Paris. EUGENE McKINNEY
was associated with Paul Baker for thirty-nine continuous years as
a playwriting professor and playwright-in-residence. He has
written and produced ten plays, four of which were published, and
eight television scripts that have been produced on major networks.
For twenty-four years McKinney and Flynn co-taught a fiction-writing
course at Trinity University.

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Linda Leonard- Author and Jungian analyst

      Linda Leonard is a Jungian analyst trained in Zurich and the author of best-selling books, including THE WOUNDED WOMAN: HEALING THE FATHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP, CREATION’S HEARTBEAT, MEETING THE MADWOMAN: EMPOWERING THE FEMININE SPIRIT, THE CALL TO CREAT: CELEBRATING ACTS OF IMAGINATION, WITNESS TO THE FIRE: CREATIVITY AND THE VEIL OF ADDICTION, and FOLLOWING THE REINDEER WOMAN: ON THE WAY TO THE WEDDING: TRANSFORMING THE LOVE RELATIONSHIP has been translated into twelve languages.  She is founding member of the inter-RegionalSociety of Jungian Analysists and is in private practice in Boulder and aspen, Colorado.

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Randy Ford Author-on the grist for literature

      I had to go to Singapore to get a true feeling of the former colony.   I had to travel elsewhere to satisfy another urge.   There were stories from people who had traveled the length of the Trans Siberian railroad, but stories of journeys were never enough for me.   There were maps and more maps that I studied until I had absorbed each and every detail; there was “The National Geographic Magazine, which I’ve always received a subscription to and used to read religiously; there were the nature and travel films on television.   All of this was before Peg and I took off; I knew something about the places I wanted to see.

      And when I went to one place, there was always someplace else I wanted to go: borders in particular have always excited me.   I wanted to experience as much of the world as I could; it seems as if that has always been the case with me: to release a certain, special energy that needs an outlet.  Luckily that outlet doesn’t have to be travel.   But there is much to say about travel that for me places it on the same plain as creative activity; that means I can substitute writing (as well as directing) for traveling.   And here is where conflict comes into play.  This has never been easy for me to reconcile.   So, just as I could spend my life traveling, without ever experiencing everything I would like to, so the same thing exists with my writing, a problem of never being satisfied, though it appears as if the conflict is now being settled for me.

      When I think about it I realize there are worse dilemmas.  I want only to learn and leave something.   I have been trying to write all of my adult life, which I don’t have that much to show for, but it seems to me that I’ve chosen the right course of action: that experience is the grist for literature.  And I know my experiences are unique.   So here I’m trying to set a course for myself with the resources that I have.   I have nothing else.   Matt Freese’s experience and expertise will take him some place else.   I’m me; he’s Matt.   It’s the same with every other writer; we’re all different.  It’s hard to say where we are when we attempt to compare ourselves with someone else.   The simple fact is that Matt has never been to Vengurla India, and I bet he has never had to catch the sleep he could on top of an oil drum.   There is so much to cover; so much for us, about my friend Matt and me and about our different worlds.   And there is also a lot that we have in common; and that my friend, as you know, falls under the heading of universality.

Randy Ford

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Randy-writer thinks about where honesty counts

       My father never went to college: he instead responded to our nation’s call to fight a war.   He wanted to fly airplanes but he married my mother, which ruined his chances.   Rules then kept married men on the ground, or that’s what I think.   There was no doubt that he could fix anything and why he made an excellent aircraft mechanic.   Less understandable was why I later told a girl friend of mine that he was an airline pilot and maintained that lie as long as I went out with her.

      I don’t know why, in certain areas, even when the truth was as impressive as the lie, I had a hard time distinguishing the difference between truth and fiction.   But I feel that, through my writing, I now have a legitimate outlet for stretching the truth; that is as long as I’m not deceiving anyone, especially myself.   What was once a fault, I view as an asset.   Yet I need to be careful.   In the final analyzes, I think writers, if nothing else, need to be honest about their reactions to their work.   I think that’s necessary for the creation of something fresh.

      I am always concerned with maintaining my individuality and how to do that.   My reading and studying Paul Baker, specifically his INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES: EXERCISES FOR CREATIVE GROWTH, has given me exercises that help.   But it is still entirely up to me, which I accept; and with this course in my background (I’ve taken it three times and read the book), I’ve continued to be a creative person throughout my life.    Right now, this minute, I want to stop writing this blog and start a new project I have been thinking about for over a week.   I am very excited about it.   I have visualized myself doing it; I’ve talked to myself about it; and I have the first word.   That word is “NOW.”   Now I have an hour before I have to be somewhere.   Now I will have to be honest about the work; honest about the parts I like and the parts I don’t.  Then prune.  So let me get started.   It’s the only way to be productive.   Randy Ford

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Randy-a writer’s block

      Writing today, when I got to it, was not easy for me.   But by my writing every day I have shown I can usually come up with something.

      There were three or four starts about my father.   Nearly all of my concentration on my mother was negative.   I wasn’t interested in being negative.   Started with a word.   Pulled words out of the air. Ideas follow words; they usually do.   Today they didn’t.   “Do your penitence, I get it”: I usually do, but writing every day is a commitment; it ‘s about not getting block and creating something (anything) every day.

      With the loss of sleep, and pretending to be asleep, the direction this would take changed many times.   I am a writer.   I can write.   I am not concerned when the words don’t come; when my brain doesn’t work; and…with the pressure of writing every day…when I repeatedly tried and came up with nothing.   I want to be writer, and I won’t give up trying.   I am engaged in constant games with myself, which seems to indicate that I’m trying too hard.

      To be who I am and where I am is to be in touch with my community and my country; and so I should have plenty to write about.   And in our country we have just elected for the first time an African American president, and we are faced with some of the biggest challenges of our lifetime. “Two Wars and an Economic Collapse.”   That’s something, but it is also something everyone else is writing about: original ideas about something usually don’t out of thin air and require time to evolve and a lot of thought.   And so today was not a creative time or as creative as it could’ve been had I been more patient and allowed my brain to work without pushing it.   (Recently I came up with some new ideas about acting; and a few weeks since then and I’m well on my way to creating a new method.)   Isn’t that how it works?   Now I’m cooking.  Now I can sleep.

Randy Ford

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Paul Baker-Baker Idea Institute: make connections, discover solutions, launch an idea!

     According to a recent article in the New York Times, “…now that we’re hip-deep in what has be called both the ‘Creative Economy’ and the ‘Conceptual Age,’ no one can afford to ignore the artist within…” 

      Dr. Paul Baker, internationally renowned theater director, professor and author of THE INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES, employed multiple intelligencies-visual, auditory and kinesthetic-to create theater, address learning differences and investigate ideas, theater related or otherwise.  His approach to theater and problem solving has inspired entrepreneurial leaders in diverse fields from the arts to business to science.  The Baker Idea Insittute will be a home base for adults of all professions in an age where right brain thinking is becoming more and more necessary to compete in the global marketplace. 

     In three (now two) hands-on dialogue/workshops, participants will study non-hierarchical systems of collaboration among theater artists, educations, city governments and businesses.  It will be an invaluable opportunity to investigate how creativity and the “artist within” can heal the linear thinking world. 

      WHAT IS AN IDEA?   November 7-9, 2008

      CREATIVITY: THE NEXT LITERACY  HOW-TO’S FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS AND BUSINESS LEADERS January 16-18, 2009

      THE SOUND, THE FURY AND COGNITIVE REASONING  March 6-8, 2009

Don’t miss these phenomenal facilitators and workshop leaders

      Harvey Seifter Founder/CEO of CREATIVITY CONNECTION and author of LEADERSHI ENSEMBLE: LESSONS IN COLLABORATIVE MANAGEMENT

      Sherry Kafka Wagner  Consultant and international urban planner

      Virginia DuPuy   Mayor of Waco and CEO of DuPuy Oxygen

      Bob Lewis (aka Tumbleweed Smith)  Radio personality and oral historian

      Susan Russel Marcus   Arts educator and author of NEW WORLD KIDS

      Cindy Herbert, Ph.D.   Noted author and psychologist

      Jamie Laurie   Musician

      S-Ankh Rasa   Composer and performer

       Daniel Pink, author of A WHOLE NEW MIND  An M.F.A. is the new M.B.A.

      WHERE: Dallas Children’s Theater 5938 Skillman Dallas, Texas 75231

      Call now for fees, scholarships and additional information  Contact Deborah Mogford at 214-978-0110 ext 176 or email: deborah.mogford@dct.org

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Randy-on the creative process

      You have to bring yourself up after you’ve found what you want to do. First assignment in drama at Baylor University, and even for someone with no theater experience like me, was to present something dramatic for the whole class. Other students, started in high school, and wanting to become actors, were used to getting up in front of people. They presented monologues from plays and had the benefit of having acted before.

     I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t think of anything. I had to come up with something (“To be or not to be-that is the question). And after procrastinating until the last moment, I did what! I placed a chair in the center of the stage, sat down on it, and stared at audience members. I waited, and they waited for me to do something. But I did nothing. (I’ve since learned the importance of doing nothing for an actor on stage; however that wasn’t the object of that first assignment.) Eventually I couldn’t stand it any longer and did something; I started imitating people in the audience. I don’t think we were graded.

 

      My point here is that the creative urge can come from anything; that makes everything a possibility. And there have been other incidents of this that I can point to: a trash can placed over someone’s head, from squash to rock-squash for a name of a piece, the lip of the stage as an acting area, sounds from the guts of a piano (and recently the idea of placing a three-story art piece on top a three-story building), all came from unexpected impulses. But you have to be open to them. You can’t cut yourself off from those instant flashes of creativity. You have to bring them forward or else they will be lost. You have to be interest in them as material, and also use them.
My thoughts this evening, Randy Ford
 

 

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