Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cornerstone Day 5

Day 5! Busy Busy. Woke up, ate breakfast, and it was my day to lead the warmup. I taught them Samurai--OF COURSE! Then I did two Boal games. First, I led The Bear of P. (can't remember the town's name..) and then I led The Vampire of Strausburg. It was a blast, and I think everyone liked it.

After warmup, Laurie taught a class entitle "Community Based Theater." We started with writing on two sheets of paper what communities we belong to, and then what communties we want to work with. Our sheets looked like this:


The following are just some of my own personal notes from the class that I want to remember:

1. Push yourself our of your comfort zone.
2. Community-based theater lets community do the art-making. Sometiems this means less structure and more chaos.
3. Cornerstone's 4 Key Values: Respect, Diversity, Flexibility, Mutual Mentorship

4. We received a sheet called "Guidelines for Dialogue" that I loved. It had basic rules for having good dialogue, which is essential to the community based theater process. I thought it was a great tool to have for any situtation that requires communication. The following are the guidelines:
Listen with an open mind
Participate honestly and openly
Respectful active listening--one person talks at a time
Encourage all voices
Respect confidentiality
Appreciate the viewpointso f others
Experiences enlighten--share them
Be present
Ask permission of a colleague before sharing his/her stories, opinions, and perspectives outside of this meeting
Recognize your communication style
Expect to learn something about yourself and others
Speak clearly and use perosnal examples when making a point
Engage in the process by listening as well as speaking
Take responsibility for yourself and what you say
Permission is given for others to do what they need to do
No whining (whining defined as shrill, self-centered, complaining)
Don't restate--move forward
Be specific
Ask clarifying questions to increase understanding and knowledge
A clarifying question:
--comes from gneuine curiosity and addresses the specific or core issue unclear to you
--seeks information and understanding (replaces assumptions with information, adds insight about the speaker's intent)
--reserves judgment until idditional info is obtained
Trust others expertise--not everything is a group devision
Don't save it for the parking lot--share the hard questions where they can be resolved

5. We were all asked to write down a question we had about community based theater. Mine was: Does community-based theatre HAVE to be done with communities who are clear minorities in race, wealth, and class, or who have clear problems that can be seen?
I think this questions was important to me because I felt like none of the communities Cornerstone specifically had worked with in the past related to me, and it just got me thinking about my place in community based theater. As an upper-middle class white, mormon girl, where do I fit? Do my communities not need community based theater? I guess I was just getting stuck in thinking about myself as an outsider (more on that later).

6. SAY YES!!!
7. Some questions about community based theater to think about: Do you think all art is community based? How much involvement does the community have in this theater? What work have you done or know about that excited you? What draws you to this work?
8. Cornerstone likes switching up people's roles in their plays. For exampe, they will have hte patrol officer play that incarcerated, etc.
9. The idea of an insider/outsider is important in doing community-based work. You do not need to be an insider to tell someone's story. The advantages of being an insider that my class came up with are:
power/authority
confidence in knowing
know language and context
ownership
built in invenstment
aware of complexities
Empathy

The disadvantages of being an insider are:
too close
tunnel vision
your story is the only story
authenticity cop
power
too accomodating
fear of representing
comfort

The advantages of being an outsider are:
objective
new perspective
view group as individuals
notice things
provide structure
skills
healthy detachment
knowing more about self/others
reassure

The cons of being an outsider are:
fear of losing voice
intrusion
fantasy others
fear of perception of exploitation
doing work that is nonsustainable
not knowing boundaries
superiority complex

What I took from all the insider/outsider stuff was that there is an insider and outsider in all of us. This was very important for us to talk about, I felt, as we have been walking around the community trying to get people to audition. I'm not going to lie, I felt like an outsider a LOT. Who am I to just come in and convince people that they should be in a play that I, a young white chick, am participating in? Many of the students here have been expresing concerns of ethics and concerns about what exactly the goals of this community based theater project are. Is it even right for us to be here? I think a lot of these concers of mine and other have been dealt with slowly, through classes and interactions with the community.

10. We did a wagon wheel activity where we had an inner circle and an outer circle. There was a person A and a person B. The facilitator (Laurie) would as a question and the pair would decide who went first. They would have 3 minutes to share their answer and then the other person would go. Then the wagon wheel turned for the next question, and you would have a new partner. The three questions Laurie asked were:
Talk about a time where you, as an audience member, were changed
What is an issue you're passionate about, and how can you change in with theatre?
What is a community you belong to and how does it affect you?

11. My favorite exercise of the class (which was 3 hours), was the value statement exercise. According to Laurie, we need to figure out what is important to us so that it can influence our work. We need to figure out what we would go down fighting for. We were given this list:
community
intellectual status
serenity
competition
working with others
strength
personal development
involvement
sophistication
job tranquility
cooperation
knowledge
order
stability
risk
conformity
working alone
intensity
my country
status
leadership
personal tranquility
listening
fast-paced work
living up to my potential
collaboration
ecological awareness
decisiveness
loyalty
supervising others
democracy
respect
change and variety
achievement
financial gain
physical challenge
career
freedom
self-control
pleasure
adventure
friendship
power
affection
growth
privacy
art
balance
family
public service
health and fitness
purity
challenges
helping others
success
diversity
fast living
creativity
social change
quality relationships
character
honesty
recognition
close relationships
bravery
compassion
money
inner harmony
responsibility
face
security
hunger
ethical practice
merit
excellence
passion
wisdom
expertise
self expression
autonomy
self-discipline
effectiveness
efficiency
meaningful work
ruth
commitment
influence
reputation
love
competence
excitement
beauty
location
justice
independeve
accountability
religion
communication
nature
___fill in the blank___

We were asked to pick our top ten things on this list we value. I picked: living up to my potential, family,honesty, compassion, passion, truth,love, beauty, accountability, and religion.

Then, we had to pick our top five. Mine were: living up to my potential, family, compassion, accountability, and religion.

Then, we had to pick our top three. Mine were: Living up to my potential, family, and compassion

Finally, we had to put them in order of most important to less important. My final list was:
1. Family
2. Compassion
3. Living up to my potential

Our assignment is to write a mission statement for either ourselves/peronsally or our work we want to do. I think I'm going to write one just for myself. A common theme for me in this experience so far has been figuring out what is important to me, which is definitely not what I was expecting out of this experience. For whatever reason, being around people who don't believe and think the same way I do has, I think, made me put my priorities straight, and I have become even stronger and more confident in what I believe.

After this long but amazing class, we had lunch. After, we were back to audition canvassing. Then dinner and more auditions! From 6:30-7:30pm I did recruiting. From 7:30-8:30pm I worked the lobby, and from 8:30-9:30pm I checked people in. Auditions were held this day at the Maclay Community Center, which looked like this:

Some of my peers (Jose, Liz, and Courtney) waiting for the rooms to get unlocked:
We still didn't have a ton of people audition, but definitely more than the first few days combined, which was great! After the auditions, we had our end of day meeting and BED. HALLELUJAH! What a day!


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