Short and Sweet

One day a month, we have a short class – from 10 am to 11 am instead of 9:00 to 10:30. On this day, the women have a class before and after ours; they go from Excuses (as I’ll call it) to Theatre to Parenting. I think the class before us is about the excuses that men make when they abuse women, and maybe how to address that? All I know is that today they watched a bit of The Little Mermaid in order to discuss how women give up their own lives to follow men. I love that example because as much as I love Ariel, Disney movies are ace at showing how wonderful, smart and talented a woman can be (the modern ones anyway) and then showing how much better her life will be if she uses it all to win the Prince. Or be saved by the Prince. Or get Stockholm syndrome and fall in love with her kidnapper (I’m lookin’ at you Belle).

So class started at 10 and of course the women all come marching in with their sack lunches so class really started after they had eaten. I came prepared, however, which is to say I planned nothing. On the 10 am days, it’s best to roll with whatever happens. The women ate and we discussed our favorite breakfast cereals (theirs all ran to the sugar cereals) and why none of the scenes we worked on last week were ready to be seen (they hadn’t rehearsed them at all and didn’t really care to show them). I’m going to come in armed with written monologues and scenes next week, and see if giving them a text to look at will inspire any more in-between-class work.

By the time all the sandwiches and pretzels and eaten, we only had about thirty minutes left. We stretched and played several rounds of zip, zap, boing – including an elimination round. There was so much laughter that I’m surprised the game worked at all but it held together enough to keep everyone’s attention. In the few minutes remaining, I gave them thirty seconds to a minute to line themselves up in several different ways – no talking! First by height, then by eye color, then birth month. We then made a map with our bodies of where we had all been born. The classroom floor was a map of the world, and we placed ourselves on it. Most of the women from Austin but one was from out of state and one was even born in another country. It was good, silly fun and we all learned a little more about each other.

One of the women wants to bring an improv game in next week, so I’m excited about that. Several women today told me how much they enjoy the class. Even without Meg, who had a paid teaching gig today, it was a good morning.

That bus ride home, though – that is something else. It took me two hours to get from the jail to my front door! Longer than it took me to get there this morning (my husband gave me a ride) AND teach the class! Someday when we have mega-funding, I’ll have a private car and driver… except that would probably be abusing those grants I’m working so hard to get. Ah well – Meg will be back next week and I’ll appreciate her presence and her car.

-Katherine Craft

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