Make The Connection

Theory-to-Practice Grant, ‘Finding a Path to a Deeper Expression on Stage: The Balinese Workshop for Actors’

November 20, 2014 – by Katie Nunner '15

Haenny Park ’15

Learn how OWU’s Course Connections, Travel-Learning Courses, Theory-to-Practice Grants, and other programs prepare students for global citizenship and leadership and help them…Make the Connection.

Ohio Wesleyan student and theatre major Haenny Park used an OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant to visit Bali in July to attend the Balinese Workshop for Actors. (Photo courtesy of Haenny Park ’15)

Haenny Park ’15

Name: Haenny Park ’15
Major: Theatre
Hometown: Seoul, Korea
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Finding a Path to a Deeper Expression on Stage: The Balinese Workshop for Actors,” July 2014

Lessons Learned: “My experience in Bali was extremely rewarding. It opened me up to a radically new horizon of performance culture.

“It was a profoundly vulnerable experience not only because the work was very challenging, both physically and mentally, but also because it pushed me to share some of the most personal emotions with 22 people whom I had never met in my life. Laying bare the foundations of myself was terrifying at first, but I don’t know if [without it] I would have been able to come out of the workshop with the tools I obtained to help me become a deeper performer, as well as a larger human being.

“I loved how the work required no language. The entire workshop—working with masks, learning the traditional Balinese dance, and exploring the Michael Chekhov technique—relied not on language, but on the gestures and the sounds of your body and your physical and spiritual engagement with space, props, the audience, your fellow performers, and yourself.

“You really don’t need language to communicate something. When you are stripped of the most conventional form of communication, you are free to surprise yourself with the unlimited potential of raw, organic expressions that are in you.

“Coming from two different cultures, born in Korea and raised in India for a significant period, I have two communities that I can call ‘home.’ My work as a performance artist is heavily influenced by the things I have absorbed from those two cultures, as well as how they clash with other cultures I am exposed to.

“I highly value creating a work that is universal to all; a work that isn’t dependent on a certain language or tradition, but liberated from it all to reach every human regardless of his or her background. My exploration in Bali has certainly given me the cement to build the bridge I seek to connect different cultures.”