Pen-Pal Project…

Posted: October 6, 2013 by opehqueh in Uncategorized


Crystal and Marisol were standing on Deception Pass staring into Puget Sound. Crystal came to Seattle as a part of a long road trip from San Diego. 8 months prior, Marisol had moved back up to Seattle after being in San Diego for about 2.5 years.

During those 2.5 years, Marisol and Crystal got really close. They started the Opehqueh project, they shared secrets, invented a new sport, they farted (mostly Crystal) and laughed until tears streamed down their faces, just general friend stuff, you know. So when Marisol moved away, Crystal was heartbroken. They said, “We’ll keep in touch,” and thanks to technology, they did. They texted, called, skyped and facebooked. It was almost like Marisol had never moved away, except that she could no longer smell Crystal’s farts.

So as they stared off into the sound, knowing that Crystal’s trip was going to come to an end soon, they were sad, but they knew they’d still stay in touch. But then Marisol said, “we should write a play together from afar through letters.” Then their wheels started spinning, like they often do when Marisol and Crystal are together.

What if we only communicated with each other through letters? No modern technology period.

And the Pen-Pal Project was formed.

Here are the rules for the Pen-Pal Project:
#1 No Email. (Unless their jobs mandate it. Both work in the theatre education world, and while they are far apart, there is a slight possibility that they could cross paths)

#2 No Text Messages

#3 No Skype dates

#4 No social media communication (Includes facebook, twitter and even this blog)

#5 No phone calls *details below

#6 Write a minimum of 1 handwritten letter per month. No maximum.
About the letters: They cannot contain any memory cards, usbs, videos or cds. Only in case of a hand injury are you allowed to send recorded audio.

#7 They can phone call or text only if they are in the same city

#8 They cannot and should not find loopholes to communicate. For example, asking friends via facebook about each other.

#9 The project begins on October 6, 2013, and ends in at least 6 months or when they can next meet face-to-face.

The only way to break the rules is in case of serious illness or DEATH. This is serious bidness.

*phone call details: Each gets one phone call during the project to be used at their own discretion, and should last no more than 10 minutes.
Phone Call Definition: phone call is defined as one person calling the other, and speaking. If one leaves a voicemail, that counts as their one phone call. For example, if Crystal calls Marisol, but Marisol doesn’t answer, Crystal can either leave a voice message and use up her one phone call, or keep calling back until she gets to speak to Marisol. But if Marisol sees her missed call, and calls Crystal back, then Marisol has used up her one phone call.

When the project is over, they’ll do another post with reflections about the experiment.

Wish them luck!


And this is what they have been doing! They are awesome!

Video  —  Posted: March 16, 2012 by opehqueh in Uncategorized

Miss Wendy Maples

Posted: February 23, 2012 by opehqueh in Uncategorized

Smart Things


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 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.


-Wendy Maples

Marlene’s Blog

Posted: February 18, 2012 by marleneparadee in Uncategorized

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!

– Marlene


Posted: February 9, 2012 by opehqueh in Uncategorized


Responding to Article

This saturday class was really great. We tossed around alot of new ideas and made a ton of progress. I enjoyed working in groups because there was twice the brain power. I really liked all the new things we all were adding and I can see the the show coming together in my head. During this process I think we all were forced to think out side of the box and really strech our imagination. We all found ourselves relating to one or more of the characters. We incorparated real life problems so that evryone can relate.We were also very lucky to have Wendy Maple’s contributing to

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.

love, jade:)

Mark your calendars!

Posted: January 29, 2012 by opehqueh in Uncategorized

Mark your calendars! Click here: Opehqueh


San Diego Blackout-Kayla

Posted: January 28, 2012 by opehqueh in Uncategorized

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.