CB Goodman MFA '15
Austin, Texas

Contact

Director of Graduate Admissions

E-mail Emanuel

914.395.2371

What prompted you to pursue a graduate degree?

I wanted to push past my current level of theatre practice, challenge my assumptions and also hone my aesthetic. I also wanted to find a community of makers and collaborators. Many of the companies I admire met in a school environment and because I did not study theatre as an undergrad I felt that I needed to go back to school.

How did graduate school fit into your life at the time?

It was difficult because of the intense level of work, the amount of time that was required, and the growth that occurred because of those things made it a challenge for me to maintain previous relationships with people who are not in the area.  I came into the program as a later-in-life student—I was 38 at the time of enrollment—and for the first time felt challenged in a way that was exciting, so I poured everything I had into the program. Many people have managed to make it work between their previous life and their new graduate life. It takes time and patience on all sides and an understanding that it is only two years. If possible I would recommend having the people in your life attend as many Sarah Lawrence activities as possible. Get to know your fellow classmates and their work, attend plays together, Grad Labs, bring your kids to rehearsal and have the babysitter let them come in during breaks, invite the other grads over for a dinner. Coming here grew my family; I now have a theatre family and my family, and making sure one doesn’t feel jealous of the other takes work, but it can be done.

Why did you choose Sarah Lawrence College for your graduate studies?

I wanted a program that I could shape. I did not want a prescription for how theatre is made. I was excited that this program’s main goal is to encourage you to try things you have not done before. During my time at Sarah Lawrence I did sound design, video design, set design, puppetry, producing, and playwriting. All things I would not have been able to do if I was on a traditional theatre track where the disciplines are segregated. I also wanted to study with the incredible faculty of working artists. My undergraduate study consisted of professors who had not worked in the field in a long time or students themselves who had very little experience. I knew the value of having professors who were in the flow and hardships of the now. They would not only be able to direct me to resources and companies in the area but help me to better understand what it is like to make theatre today.

What role did the Sarah Lawrence faculty play in your time here?

The faculty is incredible. The amount of work they are doing outside the department is astounding and it feeds right back into the classroom. They opened my eyes to different ways of observation, how to give and receive feedback, how to make bold choices; they encouraged me to put up work in all different stages; they challenged my assumptions of what theatre is; and they gave me the opportunity to grow and develop my own practice.

What experience as a theatre student had the greatest impact on you?

Creating and producing two independent shows during my first year at Sarah Lawrence was the most memorable experience I had. I teamed up with a second year grad, Josh Rice, after partnering in the first Grad Lab event and from there we created a duo show, (Almost Definitely) Questionable Acts, that ended up going to two festivals later that year and a comedy variety gong show, Exit Stage Left, that is currently in discussions with a comedy venue for a performance in New York City. It taught me the hard work involved in making theatre, the value of community and collaborators, and that the dream of making my own theatre was possible.

What creative opportunities did you pursue at Sarah Lawrence?

I did as much as I could while at Sarah Lawrence. Besides taking as many design classes as I could and pursuing opportunities to design shows, I also pushed myself to direct and write my own work whenever there was a call for performance. I directed a solo and a workshop production for the main stage as well as independently produced projects.  The project that gave me the biggest satisfaction though was my solo piece, Rat Bridge, that I developed in Projects with Dan Hurlin. When I first interviewed with Sarah Lawrence it was mentioned that I would have to take a solo class. I am not the biggest fan of solo work, and it’s really scary to be up there by yourself, but I thought it is one class, I could handle it.  When I heard that soon all the grads would have to make a solo for their capstones (thesis) I thought, “Thank goodness that is not happening this year because I’m not going to Sarah Lawrence if I have to make a solo." What a surprise a year and a half later to choose, with my own free will, to make my solo my capstone. I self-produced it along with my classmate Vinny Mraz, and we shared an evening, each of us performing our solos, and with our class we created the Graduate Projects Festival, for all the grads who wanted to perform their solos. I learned a lot about how ideas grow and change over the course of my year in the class and I worked on how to be more clear with what I was exploring or less clear depending on what I wanted. I conferenced on the project with Dan Hurlin, Lake Simons, Tom Lee, Stuart Spencer, Sibyl Kempson and June Ekman to make it sure I was looking at the project from all sides and their input from the physical, the content, the design, and the writing was essential to the piece. The most important thing I took away after Rat Bridge was over and I'm now out of school is that I now have a daily studio practice where I make work by myself. It doesn’t mean I can’t invite others to join me at a later date, but I am able to start ideas, develop them, and then see where they go without having to wait for someone to ask.

What's the creative community like at Sarah Lawrence?

The creative community is very strong at Sarah Lawrence. The graduate and undergraduate students all support each other through performing together, going to see each other’s work, and lending a hand when it is needed. The faculty, even though they are busy working artists, always got back to me when I had questions, gave great feedback and would attend shows or rehearsals when they could. I grew so much from watching how everyone created and made their own work and always felt like if I had a creative question or issue there was someone who would know what to do. The staff would take the time to help me find space for side projects and gave me access to the shop when I need to build something, or even help me build it. I was also given chances to do outreach for communities outside of Sarah Lawrence. I created a New Autobiography class with patients at the Skilled Nursing Facility at Wartburg in Mount Vernon and a Wearable Art Workshop at a pop up studio in Yonkers. I could not have done that without the support of the faculty.    

What is life like as a graduate student at Sarah Lawrence?

I was very busy when I was at Sarah Lawrence. I lived near the school and was very thankful for that decision as many of my days would end around midnight. Having a short commute home was wonderful after a long day. I had a car and used it for hauling props and set pieces when I needed to but walked when I could. I made friends by attending parties, holding small gatherings at my place, making sure to support other people’s work, and asking people to go and see shows outside of Sarah Lawrence together.   

What impact did the proximity of New York City have on your experience?

Living in Yonkers, near the school, made getting to the city a short train ride away. When my schedule was free I was able to see shows from companies I was interested in, attend performances by faculty, and also perform at a comedy venue, show a small piece at a puppetry slam, and perform a full piece I developed at a festival in Brooklyn. 

What is the strongest attribute of Sarah Lawrence's Theatre program?

It gives you the tools and opportunity to become your own artist.

What advice can you offer to prospective graduate students?

Make sure when you come here that the people in your life know it’s going to demand a lot of time and energy but that it is only two years. There will be late nights and early mornings, frustrations and elations. It is an intense experience but totally worth it.

What are you up to now?

This summer I was fortunate enough to teach at the Governor’s School at Radford University and was a substitute puppeteer for Hagoromo, a dance and puppetry piece staring Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto premiering at BAM’s Next Wave Festival with puppetry design by Chris Green and choreographed by Sarah Lawrence faculty member David Neumann. This week I just finished designing and fabricating puppets for the Sarah Lawrence outdoor workshop production of The Tempest and began rehearsals for AO-II, a puppetry and multi-character monologue piece I started in Sibyl Kempson’s writing class for a production at Dixon Place in New York City as a part of their Puppet BloK! Series. Fellow alumni Shayna Strype, Clara Elser, Josh Rice, and Vinny Mraz are all performing in it. I am also developing a new piece with my theatre company that was formed with fellow alum Josh Rice, Questionable Acts Theatre Company, titled, Mr. Lear, that is set to premier this spring at the Charlotte Fringe Festival and we are collaborating with another alum, Josh McTiernan. On the side I am working freelance at a prop shop in New York City, teaching stagecraft at a charter school in Brooklyn, performing at La MaMa in Shank’s Mare, directed by faculty member Tom Lee and puppet master Koryu Nishikawa V, and preparing to perform in Dan Hurlin’s new piece inspired by the Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero’s Dramma Plastico Futurista, premiering in the summer of 2016 at Bard.