This afternoon I lead a workshop (my first ever in French, with quite a lot of support from the multilingual group) and the material we dug up: the colour of fear and the prejudice of black, toys to crunch and flip and throw, teddies and dolly’s in brothers clothes, different cultures – different sleeping arrangements, opening doors to discussions of fear. I want to talk about the dirt in the corner but I think it’s more useful to document the workshop plan. That dirt can wait in the corner - the workshop plan follows below.
We passed an imaginary ball around the circle, adding detail to the object as we handled it - colour, material durability - the ball morphed as we went along. (Introduced a workshop theme of dealing with imaginary, objects of a plastic nature, began to play together and as I was a little anxious I wanted to start the workshop on familiar ground.
Ball Throwing Patterns
Warm-up continues we built two throwing circuits that balls could be passed along – building on Senza’s classic warm-up. Participants could move around the space and the patterns and movement between us grew bolder. I added an element of drama, if the ball was dropped we should stop and when the time was ‘right’ the ‘right’ person would pick up the ball holding the dramatic tension the ball drop and sudden halt in the space had created. Uninvited came an element of competition, is drama necessarily conflict? The impulse was strong in some to disrupt and their play was to challenge. Resist or tow the line and profit from the installed system?
Our Childhood Toys
Each in turn describing and handling our favorite childhood toys imagined in front of us, passing It to another to place carefully on the bench. I wanted to evoke the openness, playfulness and robust acceptance of a child in play for the rest of our session. I had explicitly mentioned this earlier and maybe that was a mistake as participants were slightly edging towards an infantile state of mind and ‘playing’ kids rather than just accessing that openness and responsive imagination I was looking for.
In pairs, participants walked each other through their imagined child ood room. Pointing out the hiding places, clothes storage and where they thought monsters lived. It looked like it was more fun to recount than to listen to someone recounting. I thought this could be a sneaky way to increase feelings of intimacy, and share a little more info about the different cultures, and reveal a little perhaps about our own habits that we had previously considered ‘normal’.
0.5 mins of free writing on our own monster or place of fear from our past. I was the only one who was scared of an actual monstrous figure. We drew the idea. This lead to a longer discussion than I had anticipated but some deepish thinking around fear in a new context so I let it go on.
Past fear Impros
Using the material generated from the automatic writing we put on stage a mélange of ideas in a semi improvised performance. The effect was striking. Encouragement to take time lead the performers to really hold an interesting space where fear was felt and it held that slightly imaginary energy I am pleased with that.
In small groups a Tunisian lead the others through a physical map of Tunisia, they used the rectangular shape of the room as the rough form of the country and pointed out physically and vocally the geographical and cultural points of importance. The two out of town Senzas then tried to recreate the information they had learned in an improvised performance. It was interesting.
Mapping the Medina
In small groups we tried to make an illustrated map of the Medina, the intension was to create symbols places of note. There is a lot to get in there though. We can build on this?