Introduction to the Essential Theater

Denise Stoklos

In the Essential Theater the actor is in permanent confrontation with the scene, having, as his only instrument, his body and its idiosyncrasies. These must be worked on and respected as potentially interesting for the stage in order to result in a performance piece which mobilizes the audience towards their primary pursuits of love and freedom. The participants will be introduced to the creative process inside the Essential Theater. There will be a theoretical part where these principals will be discussed and clarified, so that we can then follow to the practical part, when some basic exercises which conduct the actor into this path will be worked on, giving him the possibility to then proceed on the search of his scenic authorship. Exercises on gesture will be done individually and in pairs, and will be followed by solo improvisations based on the principles described above.


Denise Stoklos began her career in 1968 as a playwright, director and actress in Brazil.  In 1987, while visiting New York for four months on a Fulbright Fellowship, she created Denise Stoklos in Mary Stuart for La MaMa Theatre.  Since then, she has world premiered plays in New York each year. Some of her plays are 500 years—a fax from Denise Stoklos to Columbus, Tomorrow will be late and the day after tomorrow doesn't even exist, Civil Disobedience, Dissonant Voices, Louise Bourgeois: I do, I undo, I redo- with a set exclusively created and built by the great sculptor Louise Bourgeois.  In 2000, Ms. Stoklos was invited to teach her Essential Theater workshop for graduate students in the Department of Performance Studies.  She has published seven books of plays. Ms. Stoklos performs her plays internationally and has performed in Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Russian, Ukrainian and German.