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article imageBecky Baumwoll opens up about 'Skin' production in New York City

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 20, 2019 in Entertainment
Artistic director and actress Becky Baumwoll chatted with Digital Journal about the award-winning Broken Box Mime Theater's production of "Skin," which is playing in New York City through February 3, 2019.
Regarding the production Skin, Baumwoll said, "It weaves its way through over a dozen short pieces that each tells a different story: a Black Mirror meets The Walking Dead sci-fi story about adolescence, a duet about consent in the digital age, a gloriously ridiculous pageant called The 16th Annual Brooklyn Beard Awards, to name a few. Every story riffs on the theme 'skin.' We perform with no words, just our bodies, projected titles, and beautiful lighting and sound design to complement each piece."
She was drawn to Skin due to its ensemble. "This is a group of extremely successful and (personally, professionally) diverse actor-artists who have brought their full hearts to developing SKIN. It's been a total pleasure to see how each person's talent has made its impact on this show. I'd also be lying if I didn't say: watching the men of our company rehearse our send-up of boy bands in our opening piece, Boys Syde. It's just too delightful," she said.
On her plans for 2019, Baumwoll said, "Next up we'll be developing a new children's show to sequel last year's success of Destination: Everywhere, which toured New York and then hopped over to Indianapolis and Chicago. We've also been working on a show for live symphony orchestra, 'In Proximity: Stories of Memory and Romance,' that we're hoping to debut in 2019."
For aspiring actors, she said, "Tasha Milkman, BKBX's creative and education director, taught me this: for every potential job, figure out if it pays well, is with good people, or is a project you love. If it's two out of the three, say yes."
On her job description as artistic director of the production, she said, "The most important aspect of my job is to be responsible for the company's culture. In the rehearsal room, this means making a space that feels safe, ambitious, respectful, joyful. It also means communicating to our BKBX community how much they are valued, whether they're a donor, collaborator, audience member, designer, or volunteer. My job is to create a space in which discovery occurs and it's been my pleasure to learn how that happens long before we enter the theater."
Digital transformation of the entertainment business
On the impact of technology on theater and entertainment business, Baumwoll said, "The biggest impact is in attention span, which goes hand in hand with the 'empowered viewer.' When you can flip to the next thing as soon as you're bored, it's hard to practice patience. We allow less time for letting something surprise us."
Baumwoll continued, "We also then learn to be curators of our own experiences: with every swipe of the phone or 'next' click on our queue, we feel empowered (and responsible) for crafting our own experiences of media and entertainment. In BKBX, we're working hard to envision what our audiences will think and feel throughout the show, and sometimes this includes a careful equation of comprehension, patience, and timing. As consumers of technology ourselves, our company members are a perfect test audience."
Regarding her use of technology in her daily routine as an entertainer, Baumwoll said, "Sharing upcoming shows on social media and posting support for my friends' shows, corresponding with my colleagues, checking out casting calls, or posting them."
For fans, she concluded about Skin, "With any performance art, but especially with mime (invisible objects, negative space), it is the audience that makes the show come to life. We've set up our paper mache volcano and you are the vinegar. The last couple performances have felt like a lungs-full breath of fresh air, an opening of eyes, a quickening of the heart. We are so grateful to our audiences, whether you've been with us since our first show in 2011 or this is your first foray to see BKBX. Join us."
For more information on Skin, check out the official Broken Box Mine Theater website.
To learn more about actress and artistic director Becky Baumwall, check out her official website.
More about Becky Baumwoll, Skin, Actress, Artistic Director, New york
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