Every week I am energized working with my 'Life Stories' students....every week uncovers innovative talents hidden within each as they courageously step forward to tell their story...open to the suggestions of the class...and to my direction...One student said she had been practicing in front of a mirror so she could 'show' the emotion of her work. I asked her to put her paper down and tell me the story...and then she came alive...her characters were real and in the room with us...as she changed from a teenage girl wanting an education to the father who wouldn't allow her to go to school. Afterwards, she knew that she didn't need a mirror to find the 'heart' of the story...she only needed to tell what was in her heart.
Willie continues to journal the process so beautifully and true. While there are only 3 more scheduled sessions, I will be adding more rehearsals for this ever so important work.
Thank you Willie
The Memory Chair (cont’d)
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This is the ninth week of Life Stories class, and the remaining rungs on the down side of our ladder are much nearer the floor.
I mentioned change had joined our group—it now shapes our weekly agenda, weaving in and out among the familiar exercises our bodies and minds have grown to expect. And presently, we’ve given the Bard, Shakespeare, a respite from fracturing his masterful list of insults. The time has come for us to step out from under the cover of his clever mind and find the treasure-trove of uniqueness in each other.
Wrenn asked that we take the prompt of My Life Story is…, and fill in the blanks, making a short statement of defining ourselves—this will be a lead-in for the production of our play, titled: Life Stories, scheduled for May 1, 2011.
Improvisation time followed. From the list of Life Stories Outline Draft, Wrenn chose five skits to be rehearsed; only one was a repeat, War Times; however, two new contributors joined in, making it a five member group endeavor, and greatly intensifying the drama of the scene. Barbara’s anecdote revealed a tale of want in New Shoes; Don’s monologue spoke of Real Men; and with Jane’s story, Who is that Lady?, the inspiration came from an afternoon’s visit with her mother. The last new performance belonged to Dave, and was titled, The Garden.
And all the while, as each memoir exposes the bones of its story, Wrenn goes into action: glasses off, hands waving, and stopping the scene with, yep—change. She takes out words, adds other words, directs a different emotion, suggests a new stage placement—and gently, but surely…in the end, molds the scene to her liking.
We have three classes left to determine how to represent our stories in their best showing; only three short ‘takes’ before the final curtain opens to the immediate present where suddenly—our past becomes our future!
Elizabeth Towles (Willie)