Body Language

Olivia Jiminez

Our fundraising campaign continues – if we raise $5,000 by Monday, August 27th, a generous donor will contribute the final $1,000 to get us to our goal! Visit www.indiegogo.com/rehearsingpossibilities to contribute. Conspire’s newest facilitator discusses how she used movement to explore emotions and identity. Thursday has become my favorite day of the week. I get to sleep in a little, play games for a few of hours, and then get a kick out of watching people’s reactions after I tell them I spent the day in jail.  After I’ve appreciated the incredulous double-take, confused eyebrow-furrowing, and/or hesitant “I’m-not-sure-I-get-the-joke” laugh, I say, “no, seriously!” Then I get to talk about Conspire Theatre. This week, I facilitated the workshops by myself for the first time. I decided to use a lesson plan exploring body language, body image, and how the two are interrelated. After warming up, we started playing with different ways … Continue reading

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Creating Characters

bunny

We had so much fun in our PEACE class in maximum security today! Michelle Dahlenburg is teaching summer school at Texas State this month, so Olivia Jiminez (our lovely assistant facilitator) and I were on our own to come up with a new lesson plan. We decided to focus on movement as a way to create new characters. It started simply enough – I have a pair of women move across the room in different ways while everyone else watched. “Move across the room like you’re a balloon filled with air.” “- like you’re underwater…” “- lead with your head, then your chest, then your hips.” “Move like there’s a giant rubber band trying to pull you back towards the wall.” We started taking suggestions from the class and it got a little wild. “Move like the floor is covered in marbles!” I was participating at this point, and one … Continue reading

Black and White

Today was a chaotic day. I am not the greatest time keeper in the world but today we had to keep on a strict schedule. Figure out Friday’s lineup, watch scenes and sing or play a game at the end. Meg did a wonderful job keeping us on task while I made a valiant effort to not get sidetracked. The women also performed a heroic feat by waiting to take a bathroom break until the end of class. Some days, they are shuffled over to us without any break beforehand. We usually allow a break for women who need it, but today there was some kerfluffle with another group being out in the hallway and so an appropriate break time never occurred. By the end of class, the women themselves were hurrying us up so they could get to the bathroom. I understand that jail isn’t really jail if all … Continue reading

New Faces, Imaginary Characters

One of the women in our group “pulled chain”, which means she was sent on to another facility – in this case, the state jail, although I don’t know which one.  I have not heard good things about the state jails, so I’m sorry she has left our class to go there. We will lose a few more before this class is over but in at least one case, the woman is being released and can go home to her family. She has offered to volunteer for us in the future. I’m hoping to build a community around this theatre, and to maintain connections with women once they have moved on. I want to start a theatre group on the outside as well, because this work can be just as effective and helpful to people once they are facing everyday challenges again. With the loss of several women came the … Continue reading

Anger and Respect

Today was an interesting day for me as I was more a participant than a leader through most of the session. Meg and I have discussed our overarching goals for the project, and one of hers was to lead a more comprehensive movement exercise than she did in the last five week project. Today was her day; she ran most of the class and I mainly participated, keeping my antennae up for the group’s mood in order to contain the space and encourage everyone. As a facilitator, I am patient and understanding – a little bit too much, at times. I tend to not get aggravated or upset when people don’t want to participate or when they need a little nudge. I am all smiles and gentle encouragement (or jumping around dancing encouragement on my high energy days). As a participant, however, I am much more easily annoyed or upset … Continue reading

Monologue Day

Today we began with one of my favorite games: zip zap boing! The exclamation point is necessary because the game is high energy and I try and infuse as much ridiculousness into it as I can. You have not lived until you have gotten a group of people to bust out laughing at each other over different interpretations of the word ‘boing.’ Quick explanation: a zip (as demonstrated by Meg in the photo) is passed around the circle. If the zippee does not want to accept the zip, she can ‘boing’ (as demonstrated by myself in the second photo. I am boinging the TCCC sign.). The zip then changes direction and goes the other way round the circle. If the zip gets caught (the two people on either side keeping boinging back and forth), then the zipper can ‘zap’ across the circle to someone else, who resumes the zip. It’s … Continue reading