Reflection on Shared Objects of Personal Value
The shared objects of personal value discussion was very enlightening as to the personalities of the members of my group. I enjoyed seeing what other people brought in, but even more so I enjoyed the stories that went with every different thing. The objects with stories of childhood were cool, but my personal favorites were the objects that had an emotional value, such as the grandfather’s knife or even the Super-8 camera. This made the next task, looking at possible stories, much easier, since we were all able to draw inspiration off of the emotional history of the items. It looks like the theme we will be using for our piece is something to do with childhood and fear. I personally am interested in seeing where this goes, and though at the moment I don’t have anything that I feel can be readily counted on for inspiration I trust that after some exercises either I or the members of my group will have enough material to start laying out our scene, a moment that I eagerly await.
Reflection on Agreements for Collaborative Project
I think our agreements discussion was very productive today. We sat down as a group and went over all the preexisting agreements, and decided to narrow many of them down, and remove some of them completely. After hearing some of the stories of groups in years past, and the various personality issues they were plagued with, I am very satisfied with how the group dynamics appear to be shaking out. I think the fact that we didn’t need to use some agreements attests to the reasonable and kind nature of everyone in the group, and I think that working with them is going to be very fun! I think the idea of coming up with agreements for how the group will operate is a great way to ensure a safe and pleasant environment, and I think that in the future it is definitely a strategy that can be used both in school and out to be absolutely certain no one will end the project with a bad experience.
Reflection on Approaches to Collaboration
During our in-class exercises, I found that when I looked at past group projects I had worked on the one common idea was that each project had me breaking up a larger task into smaller, more manageable pieces. This was true for projects both outside the creative realm, such as group history presentations and robotics projects, as well as inside the realm, with such events like brief performances in English class or group art activities. I find that when a larger task is divided up among group members, or even better, when it is divided up and each piece is then worked on together by all group members, I have a more enjoyable and successful time with whatever the task or project may be. I would say that the my interests in theatre would go hand in hand with this, because I really enjoy both set design as well as some aspects of directing. I feel as though it would be ambitious for any person in our group to direct alone, myself included, but I hope to work with my classmates and create a system where everyone can present and safely share ideas, as well as having 2 or even 3 members helping to guide any final decisions about the performance. I hope to use my strategy of breaking apart larger tasks into manageable chunks, and I am super excited to start work on our project tomorrow!
HowlRound Article on Devising Process
Article: Devising Theatre With Highschool Students - http://howlround.com/devising-theater-with-high-school-students
This article was a teacher sharing his story about the positive affects of bringing devising into the classroom. He speaks to how sometimes, the urge can be to just pick up a script and start memorizing your lines on day one, but this is too 'safe'. Instead, he advocates for the risk taking required in devising theatre, starting the day with not "What are we going to do?" but "What are we going to try?" In this way, the teacher encourages students to take the leap of faith that comes with devising, and acknowledges that, while sometimes you will fall, the times you don't will be that much more powerful to both your audience and you. I really enjoyed this article, and I think that his point on the risk taking that comes with devising is true. The teacher also talks about how different personalities and uniquenesses will be shed in favor of a role (the analogy he uses is a square peg into an octagonal slot). The solution to this is devising theatre around the people you have at your disposal, using their personal context in order to shape the play in unique ways. This is something that I had not thought about previously, but I am interested in seeing how this can be incorporated into our own devising process.
My personal context is that I am a middle class white male living in Port Townsend, Washington as a resident and citizen of the United States of America. I am patriotic, agnostic, and intelligent, and also entirely in control of my mental faculties. Socially, I have what I would consider a standard social life - I would not describe myself as popular but I have plenty of friends, I have been described as having leadership abilities, and this is reflected through my status as President of the Student Council and Captain of the 2017 Knowledge Bowl team and current President and Captain of the Port Townsend FRC Team. I have always had a close relationship with theatre since both of my parents worked in the industry for many years, with my father doing props and holding the title of Head Flyman, and my mother working as a stage manager, as well as a showcaller/producer in more recent years. I am really interested in improvisational theatre, and value theatre that has strong themes of comedy. I enjoy working on the fly or developing a scene through controlled improv, and I find that I have a knack for making it up as I go along. I am interested specifically in making theatre that either has an improvisational element in it or was created through use of improv to flesh out or test scenes. I really enjoy this type of theatre because it allows for so many fun possibilities. I love working with other people in groups, and look forward to working on a devised theatre piece over the next few weeks.