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– Tom Stoppard  

GIA FORAKIS

Gia Forakis a theater artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She is known as a stage director, teacher, playwright, performer, producer and theater-maker.

She is the Artistic Director of GF&CO, a not-for-profit company dedicated to the application of the One-Thought-One-Action (OTOA)™ technique through the creation of performance projects.

Gia holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama in Directing and a BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting Program. She has been nominated for the prestigious Zelda Fichandler Award, the New York Innovative Theater Award (in Outstanding Theater Direction), and she has received a Mary Jean Parson's Award (for directing studies) and a Paulette Goddard Award (for acting studies). Gia is also a union member of SDC (Society for Stage Directors & Choreographers).

BACKGROUND

Youth

I was born in New York City on a spring day in March. My introduction to performance began at the age of 6, as the youngest member in the Meredith Monk production of JUICE at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC, where I led the opening parade of adult performers playing the juze harp.

My parents, two artists who were entrenched in New York City’s downtown art world of the 1950’s & ‘60’s, were a big influence on my path in the arts.

Art was the "religion" in my household. I was raised by artists to be an artist. I don’t know if I ever had a choice. I remember drawing lessons from my mother from the age of 3 ("There is no such thing as a mistake"), and contentedly working with clay in one of the sculpture classes that my father taught at the New School at the age of 5. My parents taught me that Art came first above all else, before relationships, before revenue, before recreation.

New York University (Bachelor of Fine Arts)

My family moved to Vermont during my youth, and throughout grade school and high school I was always organizing my friends, classmates, and school drama programs, to create staged events. After three semesters at Bennington College, I returned to NYC to attend college where I was inspired by the experimental, dance-theater, performance-art arena, and the downtown visual art scene, of the 1980's.

Grounding these more fringe-based art movements was my actor training and degree from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting Program, followed by 15 years performing within the Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway NYC theater community.

At that time the Tisch Acting program encouraged “cross-pollination” with the Modern Dance department, forging lasting friendships and collaborating partnerships with dancer-choreographers such as: Theresa Reeves, Kate Gyllenhaal, Sara Lampert, Susan Hefner, Peggy Gould and others.

From this perspective it is easy to see how these formative experiences shaped my ideas for theater making and my curiosity for exploring new forms with a multi-disciplinary incentive that incorporated mixed media, choreographed movement, and music with text.

THEATER MAKER

Over time, I progressed from acting in plays to working as playwright, performer, and (sometimes) director of my own original projects for the stage, co-founding Pull & Be Damned Production, with choreographer/director Sara Lampert and then later Epic Proportions Productions.

Under the umbrella of these two producing entities, and spanning a period of over 10 years, I created and produced over 17 original, multi-media, experimental works for the stage in NYC venues such as: DIA Downtown, T.W.E.E.D. New Works Festival, West Bank Downstairs Theater Bar, Dixon Place, HERE Center for the Arts, Pulse Theatre, Access Theatre, Café Bustelo, New Math Gallery -- as well as venues in New Haven, CT and Warren, VT.

STAGE DIRECTOR

Yale School of Drama (Master of Fine Arts)

In 2001 I was accepted into the MFA Directing Program at Yale School of Drama and graduated in 2004. As one of the more senior members of my class, I brought a different focus to my studies in pursuit of a directorial aesthetic. It was through this framework that I discovered what has become the guiding principle for shaping the second chapter in my creative life: the development of the One-Thought-One-Action (OTOA) technique (detailed below).

Directing

From 2004 - 2015, I have worked professionally as a freelance stage director and member of SDC. I have had the great fortune to work locally in NYC and regionally across the United States with such theater companies and producing organizations as: NAATCO, NYC, HERE Arts Center, NYC, Rattlestick, NYC, DR2, NYC, The Kitchen, Ithaca, NY, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Milwaukee, WI, Bay Theater, Annapolis, MD, The Kitchen, NYC, Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley, CA. Hudson Valley Shakespeare, Cold Springs, NY, Beth Morrison Projects, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA, and others.

In 2011 I founded GF&CO (with Managing Director, Katrina Foy) as a platform for the exploration and application of the OTOA technique through the creation of performance projects. (GF&CO and OTOA are both detailed below.)

VISION /AESTHETIC

The Auteur Stage Director & Theater Maker

My aesthetic as a theater maker (whether I am directing the works of others, or creating my own original projects for the stage) is a detailed, physical and vivid approach to storytelling where, through the development and rehearsal process, the text becomes my map for discovering and identifying a path of incremental thoughts leading to what may almost be seen as a choreographed score of moment-to-moment physical actions.

I achieve this by introducing the principles of the OTOA technique to each cast of performers I work with. In this way, I aim to create a unified language and frame of reference for structuring the collaboration as we go about building the staged content of the production.

The OTOA technique is not only a tool for enriching the craft of the any theater artist, but it is also the technique that supports my own particular theater aesthetic by focusing on what I refer to as the Physical Expression of the Performer’s (or Character’s) Thinking Process.

OTOA offers me a way to craft each moment of physical action almost cinematically, frame by frame: ONE (incremental frame of) THOUGHT, and ONE (incremental frame of physical) ACTION at a time (= One-Thought-One-Action).

As a theater maker I am most attracted to projects that feature an attention to language, or that push the boundaries of form and style, and I often employ choreographed or stylized movement to reveal the sub-textual landscape of the narrative. I find the most satisfaction in creating adaptations and/or experimental, devised, ensemble-built original works, and welcome any opportunity to re-imagine a classic text in pursuit of its contemporary resonance.

My ongoing commitment to theater making comes from a driving desire to create a world of mythical and metaphorical potential that captures the poetic nature of the human condition: creating a shared experience for encountering our humanity, nurturing our civility, and enriching our capacity to connect with something larger than our quotidian sense of self.

I am always in search of those rare and magnificent moments in both life and art when the miraculous is revealed and the realm of daily existence expands into epic proportions.

OTOA (One-Thought-One-Action)™

One-Thought-One-Action is the study and practice of identifying smaller increments of thoughts as smaller moments of physical action.

It is taught in two applications. It is taught as OTOA Performance Technique & Training (PTT), benefitting performers, directors, public speakers, teachers, collaborators, choreographers, filmmakers, theater makers, and it is also taught as OTOA Creative Life Practice (CLP) for creative thinkers in any field. You do not need to be an artist to benefit from OTOA.

All classes are led by Founder & Master Teacher Gia Forakis. OTOA workshops are led locally, regionally, nationally, internationally and upon request.

For further information: www.OneThoughtOneAction.com

GF&CO (Gia Forakis & Company)

GF&CO is a not-for-profit studio-lab dedicated to the application of the One-Thought-One-Action (OTOA)™ technique through the creation of art, ritual and performance projects.

GF&CO's Mission is built upon the premise that the arts are where we encounter our humanity, nurture our civility, and fortify our connection to one another. We aim to do this though our commitment to putting One-Thought-One-Action into action by creating projects that remind us to foster something larger than our quotidian sense of self.

For further information: www.GiaForakisandCompany.com

EDUCATION

BFA in Acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting Program
MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama

AFFILIATION

Member SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society)
Women's Project Director's Lab Alumna
Affiliated Director with The Lark Play Development Center
New Georges Affiliated Artist

SELECT TEACHING / GUEST ARTIST / LECTURER CREDITS

ITAKA Shakespeare Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia
International Shakespeare Festival, National Theater, Bitola, Macedonia (former Yugoslavia)
International Theater of Making Theater, Athens, Greece
Pratt University, Brooklyn, NY
Off Square Theater Company, Jackson Hole, WY
Fordham University, NYC
Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, NYC
New York University, Tisch School of The Arts, NYC
Atlantic Theatre Company, Conservatory Program
University of Texas, Austin; Fordham University, NYC
Neighborhood Playhouse School, NYC

CONTACT Gia4akis@gmail.com