And this is what they have been doing! They are awesome!
And this is what they have been doing! They are awesome!
I like hearing smart things. I like when I hear smart things from kids. Thankfully, I live in a world where I get to hear kids say smart things all day. I fill my world with talented colleagues who work with kids who have smart things in their heads and give them the courage to say smart things with their mouths. Enter Opehqueh and the New Play Development Artists.
As someone who has developed new plays with many different groups of students, I’m always excited to jump into the process with a new group of kiddos, see how they collaborate, see what they contribute and witness the art that comes out of it. I’m also excited to see my crazy talented friends at work: what can I learn from them? What can I contribute to their process? I was lucky enough to be invited into this safe space three weeks ago. For three Saturdays now, I’ve gotten to be a part of this.
My first rehearsal with the New Play Development artists was all about brainstorming and development circles. I elbowed my way into their breakout groups and listen to them talk. They talked honestly about developing a teenage character on paper and the realities of what they deal with. I said to them “I want to know you.” The following week, I walked into a rich circle discussion about Facebook. I learned that Facebook is quite different for a teenager who’s grown up with it and their parental restrictions, than it is for a 32 year-old woman who begrudgingly joined a few years ago. I was reminded of why I am glad my parents are not on Facebook.
At my third rehearsal, I brought my laptop. As I sat in the corner of the room to begin writing my thoughts and observations on Opehqueh, I watched some brave stuff go down. Kids were on their feet, developing characters through role-playing. Within the activity, they had created a place that was safe to try anything, they were taking care of each other, they were encouraging each other, they were pushing each other, in short, they were collaborating. Exciting stuff to a geek like me.
I realize that I was that kid. I was some version of all of these kids. As a teenager, I had the opportunity to create something. The Marisols and Crystals of my theatrical-growing-up encouraged me to say smart things, and I felt safe in doing so. What I love about my career today is that element of paying it forward.
I’m excited to be a part of this project on the adult end of things. I’m excited to be working with Marisol and Crystal, who in my eyes, are the best kind of collaborators- like peanut butter and jelly. I’m excited to witness the smart things come out of smart mouths and get developed into (sm)art. Thank you all, again, for letting me crash your party. You all make for a happy Saturday.
As the class progresses, we have begun to have in depth discussions about technology and apply them to the show. This week we began the class by watching the now infamous video of a dad shooting his daughter’s laptop because of Facebook.
In the video, a dad films himself reading an excerpt from one of his daughter’s Facebook statuses. The daughter had used Facebook as a way to publicly vent about all the “endless chores” she’s forced to do. Her dad gives her a taste of her own medicine by posting the video on her wall, right after he shoots her laptop with a handgun.
After we watched the video, we sat down to talk about it. We all had an opinion to share. In our rather lengthy (it was almost an hour!) discussion, we considered both sides of the situation, while also bringing in anecdotes of our own. Most of us considered the dad a hero, teaching his daughter a lesson. And we all agreed that there were some major communication issues in the family. As the conversation continued, we began to discuss the privacy issues concerning Facebook. Who really sees what we post on Facebook? Should we monitor our Facebook accounts completely? Is it necessary to make a “professional” Facebook account?
Even though our discussion was developing rapidly, we realized we needed to return our attention to the piece. We decided to focus on the kitchen scene with Becca, because it related most to the earlier topic. However, it was already 11:00, so we didn’t have much time. But we were able to establish specific character details. We also began to develop some conflict and conversation in the scene.
We’re a little more than half way through the class, and the creative juices are flowing. I’m so excited to continue working on our piece and to see how this show develops. March 17th is just around the corner!
show making progress. Over all I have a feeling this show is going to be amazing. This might even be one of the best classes.
Mark your calendars! Click here: Opehqueh
The blackout couldn’t have come on a more normal day for me. I had gone to school, picked up my brother, and come home, when it struck.
At first, we just figured it was a normal blackout. My mom instructed my little brother and I to gather up all the candles in the house as usual, and we simply went on with our lives without the power. Our only concern was that both my brother and I had a rehearsal for a show at Junior Theatre later that day, and because of shotty contact at that time, we really had no way of knowing if the power was out there as well. We all tried contacting others to find out if it was just us without power, however this didn’t work out either. Text messages wouldn’t go through, phone calls were cut off, and we began wondering if this whole thing was bigger than we thought.
Later on, my grandpa and I decided to drive down to the local liquor store to get some ice in order to save some of our freezer goods. This was also an opportunity to listen to the radio and possibly find out what was going on. We couldn’t believe it when we learned how big the power outage really was. Stretching all the way to Arizona? My grandpa and I started to worry a bit. When we got to the liquor store, we found a sea of people, all out for themselves. Usually, in these situations, you would think the community would come together and try and help out everyone… Well this isn’t what we saw. There were men and women raiding the ice box, taking six or seven bags of ice, when there were families with two or three little children only being able to get one. My grandpa and I were fortunate enough to get two, and we were still able to leave a couple for the family behind us. It was just an eye-opener that with fear and panic, usually comes selfishness and greed.
When we returned home, we explained to my mom and brother how big this blackout was. We pulled out the camping radio and we all sat around and listened, hoping for more information. We were informed that traffic was horrible, and we were able to finally get through to my dad, who told us that he was going to wait until traffic died down a bit to head home. Sunlight was running out, and for a while I worried about getting my homework done, but that soon faded and I proceeded to pull out the playing cards. We just sat around listening to the radio and playing cards for a long time, admiring the beauty of the night and the quiet it brought. We learned that school was cancelled for the next day, which of course called for a celebration. My dad and grandma eventually returned home, and we pulled out our camping stove and had ourselves a little (vegetarian) barbecue outside. It was a nice escape from the usual hustle and bustle of electricity-dependent life, for we had no distractions from just being together as a family, and enjoying the night outside.
(I am currently computer illiterate, and can’t figure out wordpress, but here’s my blog. If you could please post it for me that would be great, then I can figure it out later. Thanks, Carmen)
So as Michael had predicted this class, nay, this experience is going to be amazing. And trust me, after only two meetings with the group we are only going to learn more and have more fun. This week we opened to class with the beat of a drum, our name and where we went to school. We added more people to the group which brought new energy and wonderful new ideas to add to our poster with the quote by Anjalee Deshpande on it.
After we all settled into class, we felt more and more comfortable around each other. Then we began to mingle. Marisol and Crystal had us walk around the space to the sound of a drum. There were no guidelines on how to walk to the beat except for walk how the beat makes you feel or move. After we got used to that, we continued walking, but when Marisol told us to stop walking, the next person we made eye contact with became our partner. We did mini activities with our partner. For instance, Marisol had us stand away from our partner, put our right foot out next to each other with the insides touching , hold each other’s right hand, and balance on our right foot. You would not believe how difficult that was, but Nicole and I, like many of the other couples managed.
But the activity that we focused on the most in class was our project about the Blackout that San Diego had experience a few months ago. We got new partners, spread across the room, and before you knew it, we were all sharing our blackout stories. We were each given five minutes to tell our partners our experience. In that time they had to take notes on our story. After the story was told, the note taker was able to ask questions or discuss with their partner the experience they had. After that was up, the roles switched and the other partner shared their encounter with the blackout.
After we all shared our stories, the real fun began. We had to take three words, phrases or statements from our partners experience and add a movement and sound to it. We had the choice to keep the noise as the word(s) or to make a noise that went with the action. After we all picked our words, it took a little bit of time for people to come up with movements and their sound. But after we came up with our creations, we shared them with our partners. Then to take it one step further, we had to combine the movements of our partner’s with ours. After some tweaking and negotiating everybody was ready to share their interpreted stories of the blackout. It was fun to experience everyone’s stories through a mini performance.
And just as we opened our class, we closed it with the drum, our name and with keeping with our sound and movement exercise, we also said a single word with a movement about how we felt, or something that resonated with us. And the word I chose, “community,” not only comes from my blackout story, but it’s something I feel when we are in our class.