The West

Claire Kaplan

I am a theatre-maker who specializes in elevating, exploding, and fucking with bedrock texts from Shakespeare to Williams to Odets to Rogers and Hammerstein. I believe in the power of a good script to act as a baseline for more universal, diverse, and mythic stories. To this end I use my own combo of Viewpoints, Alexander, Meisner, Grotowski, mask work, and LeCoq to release the fundamental tool—the body. This is explored through preparing the body to follow impulse and desire without obstacle.

Inseparable from the body and from desire is sex. My related area of research is how sex can be used to fulfill the mission statement Compassion, Permission, Communion. Much like releasing stories, good sex releases our vulnerabilities. It shatters us. Through shattering, we open ourselves to others, we give ourselves and others permission to express fully, and we commune with the divine. To be most like ourselves onstage or during sex, we must commune with the wild, the universal, the earthly, the elemental.

I am a founding member of Hungry River, a theatre company in the tradition of Brook and Grotowski— disappear into the wilderness and see what you find. Following that model, Hungry River operated in the Mojave high desert, favoring rigorous physical training and praxis. With them, I served as director of education, writing curricula and instructing at every school in the Sierra Sands district, as well as holding workshops for teenagers and adults. I also served as a director of development, forming community bonds for a more sustainable arts model.

I spent a year studying LeCoq and immersing myself in the club scene in Berlin, as well as researching BDSM and consent culture. All practically based, as I prefer a hands-on approach! Sexual freedom and vulnerability, when met with acceptance, is vitally important, especially in the problematic patriarchal communities most of us live in. It’s my personal hypothesis that when men and women feel sexually free, and when they are able to communicate their stories to others, world peace has a chance. Take a look at some on my past projects here at The West, and take a look at my personal portfolio!