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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. Gia 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

Gia was born in New York City on a spring day in March. Her introduction to performance began as the youngest member in the Meredith Monk production of JUICE at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC -- leading the opening parade of performers playing the Juze Harp.

This [vivid] “entrance” into the theater makes better sense when you know that Gia is the child of two artists who were entrenched in the New York City downtown arts world of the 1950’s & ‘60’s.

Her mother, Phyllis Yampolsky, a painter, became well known in NYC for creating and producing Happenings and for establishing art events such as The Hall of Issues at the Judson Church. Her father, Peter Forakis, a sculptor, was recognized for his monumental steel works and explorations in the 4th Dimension of Space-Time through the use of Euclidian geometry. He was also one of the founding members of The Park Place Gallery, a collective art space and the first art gallery in the NYC SoHo district .

“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)

Although, Gia’s family moved to Vermont during her youth (where even then, in her grade-school and high-school years, she was known for organizing friends, class-mates, and school drama programs, to create staged events, whether it was in the barn in her back yard or on the front lawn of her High School) she returned to NYC to attend college where she became greatly influenced 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 her 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 life-long colleagues and collaborators 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 Gia’s ideas for theatre making, and her curiosity for exploring new forms with a multi-disciplinary incentive that incorporated mixed media, choreographed movement, and music with theatrical, literary, classic, and original or contemporary texts.

THEATER MAKER

Eventually, Gia went from acting in plays to working as playwright, performer, and (sometimes) director of her own original projects for the stage. She founded Pull & Be Damned Production (with choreographer Sara Lampert) and then later Epic Proportions Productions.

Under the umbrella of these two producing entities, and spanning a period of over 10 years, Gia 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 Gia was accepted into the MFA Directing Program at Yale School of Drama and graduated in 2004. As one of the more senior members of her class, Gia brought a different focus to her studies, concentrating on the development of her directorial aesthetic. It was through this framework that she discovered what has become the guiding principles that have shaped the second chapter in her creative life: the development the One-Thought-One-Action (OTOA) technique (detailed below).

Directing

In 2011 she founded GF&CO (detailed below) as a platform for the exploration and application of the OTOA technique (also detailed below) through the creation of performance projects.

VISION /AESTHETIC

The Auteur Stage Director

Ever since she began creating works for the stage, Gia has incorporated a hybrid of experimental, movement-based theater with traditional theatrical conventions.

Her aesthetic as a director is one of a detailed, physical and vivid approach to storytelling. She views the theatrical event as a medium of time and space, and her role as director as the task of sculpturally shaping all the stage elements through the dramaturgical context of the material.

Through her development and rehearsal process the text becomes a map for discovering and identifying a path of incremental thoughts leading to what is almost a choreographed score of moment-to-moment physical actions.

She achieves this by introducing the principles of the OTOA technique to each cast of performers she is working with. In this way, she aims to create a unified language and frame of reference for structuring the collaboration as they go about building the staged content of the production.

The OTOA process supports Gia’s aesthetic by focusing on what she refers to as the Physical Expression of the Performer’s (or Character’s) Thinking Process. The result is a fully engaging, dynamic, moment-to-moment life on stage that is derived from the script (and the thoughts therein), rather than from inference.

In this way, Gia has the option 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).

Gia is most attracted to projects that feature an attention to language, or that push the boundaries of form and style. She often employs choreographed or stylized movement to reveal the sub-textual landscape.

She finds the most satisfaction as a director in creating adaptations, and experimental, devised, ensemble-built, or original work, or any opportunity to re-imagine a classic text in pursuit of its contemporary resonance.

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

Gia is always in search of those rare and magnificent moments when the miraculous is revealed and the realm of daily existence is expanded 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 as a OTOA Performance Technique & Training (PTT), benefitting performers, directors, public speakers, teachers, collaborators, choreographers, filmmakers, theater makers, and also as workshops in 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 company dedicated to the application of the One-Thought-One-Action™ technique through the creation of art, ritual and performance projects.

GF&CO 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