Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cornerstone Day 2

So, day 2 of my Cornerstone Internship. I woke up, had breakfast (every morning our co-company managers set out a spread of food like cereals, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, granola, fruit, toast, cottage cheese, etc.), and went to warmup. Each morning we have a warmup lead by a different student. Since this was the first day Laurie (one of the staff) did the warmup. I know some of these things won't be very interesting to read about, but it's for my own documentation, so oh well haha. For the warmup we first walked in the space in many different ways and situations. Then, we got in a circle and took turns walking up to someone, looking at them, and then replacing all of them (so taking upon ourselves their being, their way of standing, carrying themselves, etc.).

After warmup, we did what they call cultural mapping with Michael (Cornerstone's artistic director). Our first exercise was to place ourselves on an imaginary map on the floor, with the center being Pacoima. Then, we did what I call the "four corners" exercise. Michael labeled each corner with something, and then we all went to that corner if it applied to us. Each corner group had to find three commonalities among the people in the group and then share it with everyone. Examples of the 4 corners are: only child, oldest, youngest, middle...monolingual, bilingual, multilingual, and can't master any language...text, music, image, and movement. The next activity we did was what I call the spectrum. Michael would make one side of the room veggie burger and the other side sirloin steak. We then had to place ourselves in a line between these two points wherever we think we fall. You would have to converse with your neighbor to see why they placed themselves there to figure out where you fall on the spectrum. Other binaries he used were: wealthy and unwealthy, art and social justice, most likely to get arrested and least likely. Clearly I got put on the end of least likely. Score.

After Michael's cultural mapping activities we had a meeting with Paula Donnely (the Institute director) about the Pacoima community and hte history of community enegagment that has been done so far. We learned about all the different organizations that are working for good here in Pacoima, which was pretty amazing to me. It's too bad this place has such a bad reputation when there are so many people here striving to make a difference.

In the afternoon we went on a Pacoima scavenger hunt, which was a ton of fun! Here are some of the sites we saw:

Hansen Dam: This is the huge dam here that keeps the valley from flooding.

This part is called "The Mile." It's a mile from this point to the middle of the dam and back I believe. Lots of people run and walk it:
The Dam has a huge park and water park as well:

Hansen Hills. This is where the family our play centers on lives. It's never specifically stated, but the playwright got the inspiration from the houses on these hills:

The view from the hills:

Some sites around town we saw while driving on the scavenger hunt:

This is where we had some of our auditions:

Bobos Burgers is a staple in Pacoima. It's mentioned in the play:

These are two carwashes that are also mentioned in the play:

Those are all the pictures I took that day. One of the places on our scavenger hunt was Costco, which I thought was pretty funny, but apparently it made a massive impact on the community. It was big drama about who got hired from Pacoima and who didn't, and it has begun to bring different kinds of people to the area. It's not quite gentrification, but it has still created a different dynamic in that part of Pacoima.

In the evening I met with Alejandra, the stage manager for the show to learn about my assignment as assistant stage manager. It looks like I'll be recording the blocking and the other ASM (Raquel, who is awesome by the way) will be making calls to late people and other random things. It will be interesting to see how this will all pan out!

This amazingly long day ended with a community engagement meeting where we brainstormed ways to get in touch with the community and get them involved in the process as well as ways to get them to audition, since auditions are on day 3. This is a picture of our whiteboard post brainstorming meeting:

As you can see, my days are filled to the brim and each day literally feels like a week. It's CRAZY, but awesome.

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