ACTion: Ecuador 2010

From November 7, 2009

Are YOU Ready for ACTion?

Jesse and I sure are!  We’re here in beautiful Medellin, Colombia researching a DAT project, but we took the day to reformulate the ACTion pages on the website.  After ACTion ’09, we asked everyone to fill out surveys about things they loved about the ACTion ’09 project and things we should change for next year.  Now that we’re all up to date, let me tell you some of the exciting plans for ACTion:Ecuador 2010.

More time to explore Quito

Quito is the thriving cultural capital of Ecuador.  Jesse and I will be heading there in a few weeks to begin exploring a selection of museums and art exhibits.  Before leaving for Ecuador, you will work with you director and cast to create an itinerary of cultural exploration.  This will 1- get your cast focused pre-trip by beginning to think about how you’d like to approach your work and 2- help you make the most of your time in Quito.

More Masters Classes in Quilotoa

This beautiful Andean community is where you will learn from world renowned teacher, Wolf- etc, the art and history of the mask dance.  Wolf will help us choose our wooden masks by by sharing with us the meaning of each animal or human character and will then help us with a fitting of foam and elastic.

Changes in Quilotoa include a shorter stay (as we finished the community center last year) to enable us more service time in our second week destinations; one-stop-lodging, we will stay together with our casts in conjoined cabins; a mixture of group prepared means; the mask workshop will now include a mask; in addition to mask dance, you will have two more masterclasses led by DAT company members: First the “Teaching Workshop” led by DAT’s Director of Education, Christen Madrazo, in which you will learn teaching techniques DAT’s staff have developed and used in Zimbabwe and Ecuador and have the opportunity to share techniques that you have learned as well.  You will then utilize these teaching skills with Christen’s supervision and guidance in Quilotoa, but then your skills will be put to the test on your second week adventure.  Second the “Playwriting Workshop” with DAT’s Resident Playwright, Jason B. Williamson, who will challenge your cast to create a dynamic piece by teaching you the basics of play structure.  Jason will give you practical skills that you will utilize during your creation process.

More Service in Mindo

Mindo can be a very intense part of the trip, particularly if your cast isn’t far along in the piece, but for many artists last year, Mindo was lacking a key element, more community time.  Christen, the teaching host, has been working with schools in Mindo and the teachers are thrilled to allow us into their classrooms.  Each director will work with Christen to balance rehearsal with school time, and -of course- adventure and relaxation.

More Mindo updates:  Playwright and Dramaturg, Jason B. Williamson will be in Mindo and will work with you and your director to clean the piece, help with polishing and tighten the script and execution.  Artistic Director Jesse Baxter will also be here to help with last minute bumps in the play and to make sure you’re ready for New York City.


We understand that many artists spend a lot of time researching their second week adventure so we’ve added more days to this portion of the trip.  Here are some more improvements we’re making to the second week adventures:

Esmeraldas- The Coast

This years Esmeraldian Adventure will include more teaching and service days and a trip to a new local beach, which will be determined on our next few weeks during the ACTion ’10 preparation.  This section will continue to include a workshop with Hugo Arias Bones, Artistic Director of Esmeraldas based Teatro La Catanga, a theatre company committed to informing the community of social issues through theatre.

La Selva- The Jungle

DAT has had a long and happy relationship with the La Selva Jungle Lodge, a beautiful eco lodge committed to environmental sustainability while sharing while sharing the jungle with nature enthusiasts.  We first found the lodge through their foundation who is working to aid the El Pilche community.  While we will continue to work at this lodge, we will be adding a second lodge to our jungle experience.  This will mean the La Selva artists will fly to Coca, visit one lodge, spend one night at a river hotel in Coca, and travel to a second lodge before flying back to Quito.  Details on this new lodge coming soon.

Galapagos- The Islands

During our last trip to San Cristobal, Galapagos’s oldest inhabited island, we had the great pleasure of working with Hacienda Tranquilla.  In addition to overall community involvement, this amazing foundation is working to reintroduce the islands endemic (natural) species, including the poison apple tree, a main dish for the Galapagos turtle.  More days in the islands allow for more time working with the local and international volunteers, exploring local stories and the island itself by boat, on foot, by truck, and on horseback.

*Note: we will only open 2 of the 16 casts for Galapagos, 12 artists in total, during Groups 1 and 2.

Lagos- The Petrified Forest

This new stop on our ACTion exploration is currently being developed and will only be open to ACTion ’09 alumni.  This years cheapest trip option at $3,000, it will only be open to 2 casts of returning artists (12 actors total.)  Details coming mid-January.

Stay tuned for more updates as Jesse and I travel throughout the country solidifying plans and contacts.