Visionbox Vail featuring renowned acting trainer/instructor Jennifer Rincón
It's not every day you get to learn from someone with a fine art degree from Yale
If You Go …
What: Visionbox Vail
When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Vail Mountain School
Information: Visionbox Vail will host a pair of Masters Class intensive sessions this summer. Saturday’s session is introductory. Visionbox is an actor training studio and play development company. Their new summer theater training program for Colorado high school students is at Vail Mountain School. Visionbox students learn acting, playwriting, movement, dance, voice and speech, and singing. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.visionbox.org.
Jennifer McCray Rincón studied at the feet of world masters and knows what you should know about theater. She spends her days running Visionbox and teaching others what she has learned.
On Saturday, Rincón and other Visionbox professionals will be at Vail Mountain School for Visionbox Vail. The one-day acting workshop will preview a pair of two-week intensive summer sessions, essentially conservatory training for high school students and other Vail Valley locals who want to study the craft.
Right place, right time
“I was in the right place at the right time. I grew up in Manhattan, and my parents were interested in the arts. I probably went to the best schools in the country. I’ve been fortunate that way,” Rincón said. “What has sustained me is my training. I think I’m smart and talented, but my training was incomparable. I’m teaching what I was taught.”
Rincón earned her undergrad degree and Masters in Fine Arts degree from Yale, arguably the top drama program in the country, maybe the world. That was the August Wilson era. James Earl Jones was a classmate.
“I teach kids what I learned at Yale drama school,” Rincón said. “Not everyone gets to go to Yale drama school. I think everyone should have the opportunity to learn this, to receive this training.”
Later this summer, after Saturday’s sessions, students will study in Vail during a pair of two-week intensives. Vail Mountain School grad Nick Riley has been Rincón’s assistant for a couple years. Trial lawyer with Bartlit Beck has a home in Vail and is a Visionbox board member. They convinced Rincón to try Visionbox Vail.
Tony Bender, Vail Mountain School theater director, said yes to everything, asking only “How can we make it happen?” Dancer and teacher Morgan Kulas lives in the valley and helps run the Vail Valley Academy of Dance.
“Something creative happens in the summer when people are away from their regular lives,” Rincón said.
‘They’re not ruined yet’
Rincón landed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and thought she’d be there for three months. That was 1991. In 2010 she left to start Visionbox in Denver.
“It’s a labor of love. I have a talent for teaching acting. I was taught by some of the great teachers and I’m trying to pass that along,” Rincón said.
Initially Rincón specialized in teaching graduate school and professional actors. High school students started showing up, and she had her own kids in high school, so she started doing sessions for aspiring high school actors. She loves them.
“They’re not ruined yet by bad training,” she said smiling.
She’s helping Colorado kids get into really good schools. They had a bit of an inferiority complex about applying to the Yales of the world. Spend a few weeks training with her and they won’t.
“We’re not just producing plays. We’re trying to raise the level of theater in Colorado by professional training,” Rincón said.
The goal is to help them pursue this professionally. It also gives them a leg up in almost anything else they try in life, she said.
“Any kid who studies theater, text analysis, history, public speaking – it helps them with everything,” Rincón said. “You don’t have to be a professional actor. We’re looking for kids who love reading, writing and acting.”
Bill Pullman will be here
At her theater company in Denver, the actors have other jobs and careers. It can be hectic.
“I’m looking forward to working with people all day instead of a few hours at night,” Rincón said.
Between those two summer sessions in Vail they’ll bring in a dozen actors — Bill Pullman among them — for solo Shakespeare presentations — one person Hamlet, Ophelia and almost anything else you can imagine.
“We want to show something of the next level, something to aspire to,” Rincón said.
Rincón directed Pullman in 1983. They’ve been friends ever since.
“It’s one of those relationships that gets stronger over time. He is a big part of why I do what I do,” Rincón said.
Saturday’s Master Class is free; anyone can come, Rincón said. The two-week sessions begin June 24.
“We want to meet passionate people who are interested in what we do,” Rincón said. “I really want it to be something that teaches people, and also encourage locals make the program part of the community. It’s for actors of all ages, levels and backgrounds.”
The Vail Valley is kicking off the summer season with everything from barbecues and restaurant deals, white water rafting and ceremonies honoring those who fought for our freedoms.