Saturday, October 25, 2014

Global Shadow Theatre with Tholpava Koothu

Tonight I joined Ramachandra Pulavar for a lecture and demonstration about Shadow Puppetry in Calicit, Kerala organized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

I gave a brief overview of shadow puppetry traditions around the world and the Pulavars performed an excerpt of the Ramayana in the traditional Thol Pava Koothu.

Half the fun is peaking behind the screen to see how it's done. Especially the flaring of the flame, by throwing frankincense powder on it -- old school special effects for the whole family.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Therapy, Projection, and Shadow Theatre

Playing with light against a giant cotton screen, I introduced students of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology to Shadow Theatre as a projective Drama Therapy Technique to process trauma. Drawing from the strengths based, community oriented approach that Shadow Liberation embodies, we focussed on how Shadow Theatre can be used in Therapy to support the development of emotional regulation and self soothing capacity.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Getting Started with Social Justice at Mallya Aditi International School

Sharing the Shadow Liberation story with high school students at Mallya Aditi International School who are working gender issues. This inquisitive group of youth is interested in working in community organizations. Get out there and do it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bystander Intervention in Domestic Violence with Forum Theatre and Playback

It was great to catch up with my early mentor, Marc Weinblatt, and see him in action facilitating Forum and Playback Theatre for “Eye Witness: Allies to Domestic Violence” performed by Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble last night in Port Townsend, WA. This project was in partnership with Dove House Advocacy Shelter, and was focussed on activating men who are bystanders in Domestic Violence situations. After a critical 90 minutes of Forum Theatre, Marc invited sharing from the audience which brought out personal stories which were mirrored back to the tellers through Playback Theatre short forms. Ending with a Playback brought out deep feelings and served to shift the discussion from the head to the heart. A powerful evening!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Shadow Liberation Presentation at Antioch University Seattle

A small group of Drama Therapy students from Antioch University Seattle came together to hear the Shadow Liberation story. We had a rich dialogue about Drama Therapy in community and educational contexts with a focus on Social Justice.

I clicked the above photo at the Seattle Center after I came out of the Experience Music Project.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shadow Liberation at The Evergreen State College

Theatre of the Oppressed + Drama Therapy + Shadow Theatre = Shadow Liberation. In this workshop/presentation, a group of students created shadow scenes with 4 overhead projectors in a performance studio at the The Evergreen State College.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fundraiser for Shadow Liberation

To raise funds for producing a short film about Shadow Liberation, we threw a Fundraiser and Shadow Dance Party with DJ Slimrock at the Olympia Ballroom in Olympia, WA.

Plus special guest performances by Alison Marie Baker of Full Moon Radio with Rhea Melina Dorsey and an opening set by DJ Kalambre of KAOS Community Radio spinning Alternative Latin flavor.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Devising Forum Theatre with Shadows

To share the art of crafting participatory shadow theatre, I teamed up with Living Stages to offer a Shadow Liberation workshop titled, Devising Forum Theatre with Shadows, at Headwaters Theatre in Portland, OR.

What started out as a a couple stories about misogyny, grew more complex as the group physically improvised visual narratives without dialogue. The workshop was followed by an artist talk where I told the story of Shadow Liberation.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Visual Metaphors in Drama Therapy

I always love trainings for trainers and this 2 day workshop in Chittagong, Bangladesh was no exception. The participants came up with a rich visual language to create aesthetic distance. This was the final session of the National Therapeutic Theatre Workshop. I'll let the images speak for themselves.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shedding Light with Youth in Bangladesh: Shadow Theatre Therapy

There was so much love in the room at the end of this 3-day workshop with Youth in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Through dancing and shadow making family violence emerged as a force that many of the participants face. A few youth shared their stories which were crafted into shadow plays. The storyteller would then watch their story, pause it, reflect, react, remix. The process was incredibly insightful and cathartic, yet I was left with ethical questions. What is the obligation of a therapist or teacher who knows of abuse in a context where there is no reporting mandate? How do the benefits of processing an ongoing problem weigh against the reality that we weren't concretely strategizing to transform the immediate situation? We ended the workshop on a high note with love letter style note passing as our closing appreciation structure.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Aesthetics & Embodied Empathy in Cross Cultural Dialogue

I had a rich experience exploring challenges to authentic cultural exchange, archetypal conflicts and power dynamics, with students of Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh. There were 45 young women from 14 countries who attended this workshop, many of them coming from ethnic or religious minority groups in their home countries. We did scene work around cultural clashes they experience in the school and also engaged in dramatic deconstruction of specific cultural manifestations of patriarchy and gender violence.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rana Plaza Rising: Transforming Trauma & Enacting Resilience

Ever since Rana Plaza collapsed killing over a thousand garment workers and injuring another 3000 people, Unite Theatre for Social Action (UTSA) has been using Psychodrama and Playback Theatre with survivors to promote Psychosocial wellbeing (see the Al-Jezeera piece about their work). As a continuation of their work UTSA organized this 2 day experiential workshop for survivors of the Rana Plaza Tragedy at YMCA Training Centre, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Drawing from the strengths based approach that UTSA embodies, participants were invited to engage in creative approaches to further develop their goals, emotional regulation, and self soothing capacity. Through collaborative and trust building activities we cultivated a supportive and open environment in the group that made it possible to share and honor personal stories of the unseen impacts of the Savar Tragedy. With the knowledge that these painful stories are common experiences, participants wove their collective truths into powerful performance pieces in celebration of their humanity and resilience in the face of adversity.

To gain more insight into the Savar Community members lives a year after the tragedy, I suggest checking out Tears in the Fabric.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Shadows of Gender Justice in Dhaka

A lively group of Theatre Activists and Development Workers turned up for my 2-day workshop titled "Shadow Theatre for Gender Justice" held at the Bangladesh Shilpokola Academy, in Dhaka. In addition to the passionate participation, I was moved by the depth of inspective engagement and social critique that the participants brought to the workshop.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Inaugurating National Therapeutic Theatre Workshop in Bangladesh

I had the honor of inaugurating the National Therapeutic Theatre Workshop in Bangladesh, where I am the headlining practitioner/trainer. Here I am posing with (left to right) Ali Ahmed Mukul the Assistant Director of the National Association of Theatre Owners, Ramendu Majumdar the President Worldwide of the International Theatre Institute under UNESCO, Laiquat Ali Luckey the Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, and Mostafa Jatra Kamal the Executive Director of Unite Theater for Social Action (UTSA). The event got off to a strong start & the shadow schedule is packed!

Organized by: Bangladesh Therapeutic Theater Institutes (BTTI), Theater Therapy Center of the Disabled (TTCD), Unite Theater for Social Action (UTSA), National Shilpokola Academy, Asian University for Women (AUW)

In Association with: Diakonia Bangladesh, ActionAid Bangladesh

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Creative Arts Therapies in Aviation

How can Creative Arts Therapies be integrated into Aviation Education to ease tensions in an era of terrorism and mysteriously missing planes? I gave this presentation for the Students and Faculty at United College of Aviation, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Visualizing India's Youth Theatre Movement

Behind the shadow scenes in the LOK studio in South Kolkata, a group of young theatre artists improvise with sound and shadows toward a vision for the future of India's Youth Theatre Movement. Beyond naming the obvious struggles of financial resources, lack of platforms for artists and group cohesion issues, we got into the issue of language, the hegemony of English, and division of Theatre artists and groups along linguistic lines. We did physical explorations of shadow theatre as a visual language to address the struggles of young theatre artists creating new work.