Where did these exercises come from?

In 1962, twenty young actors, including Joseph Chaikin, Gerome Ragni and Barbara Vann, formed an ensemble, the Open Theater, to create new theatre works and new ways of creating these works. Also ways of inhabiting works by writers who needed something more than a naturalistic approach Becket, Ionesco, Genet, musical theatre, Shakespeare. They found that their training – they were all accomplished "method" actors – was inadequate for the kind of avant-garde theatre they wanted to do, so they invented exercises to enable the kind of cutting-edge performances they envisioned.

Why should I get this DVD set?

These exercises in experimentation come out of hours of trial and error. They have been documented – but only in books – and since they are improvisational and physical rather than linguistic, books do not capture their essence. So Medicine Show, founded by Open Theater members including Barbara Vann and the late James Barbosa, has documented these exercises under Ms. Vann's leadership. Since she helped create them in the first place, she is uniquely qualified to teach them.

How will they help me in my work?

The exercises work very well to (1.) develop an instant ensemble, (2.) find the genuine style of a play, or (3.) develop material for the collaborative creation of a new work. And they are great for encouraging actors to develop their own instruments rather than waiting for a director to tell them what to do.

Why should I encourage my institution's library to buy a copy?

These exercises are of great historical interest; they are the basis of the American theatre revolution in the 60's, and this is the only comprehensive kinetic documentation of them.

How much does the set cost?

The set is $300 for one set, $500 for two.

What are the options for payment?

There are two convenient payment options: you can charge directly through our PayPal account, or mail a check payable to Medicine Show to Medicine Show Theatre, 549 W 52nd St, 3rd Floor, NY, NY 10019. Please also send an email directly to letting us know of your interest as well as where to mail the set.