Saturday, March 29, 2014

Second Saturday (March 2014): Exploring the circles of communities to which we belong

by Ruth Schowalter, Atlanta InterPlay social media facilitator
SECOND SATURDAY (MARCH 2014). Fifteen of us gathered at the Mask Center in the Little Five Points Community Center in Atlanta, Georgia, for 90 minutes of Atlanta InterPlay.  (photo by Callahan Pope McDonough)
Atlanta InterPlay met for its March 2014 Second Saturday play session.  Fifteen of us, including Atlanta InterPlay leader, Jennifer Denning, met at 10:00 am for 90 minutes of freeing movement and talk. 
WARMING UP. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
The forms of InterPlay allow a way of being together that is "sneaky deep." Before you know it, you are talking about things that matter in new ways.

Today, Jennifer Denning had us "babble" about the small circles of friends or people that we belong to because of our special interests. She gave, for example, Prius owners who buy special cars because of their commitments to environmental conservation. After several opportunities of talking to different people about our inner circles, we got to speak about the times we penetrated a circle that we didn't belong to and the benefits we got from being involved and engaged in that "foreign" group.
TALKING IN PAIRS. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
In InterPlay, when one person talks, the other person listens. And there are so many different fun ways to tell stories. Come to an InterPlay session in Atlanta on our Second Saturdays and experience this meaningful fun for yourself. 
AT THE END OF AN INTERPLAY SESSION. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Could Talk About

By Jennifer Denning, Director, Atlanta InterPlay

I could talk about some amazing
InterPlay Life Practice Program participants!

Those who’ve done InterPlay with me know one of my favorite forms is “I could talk about.” I often use it at the beginning of a session. We sit in the circle and introduce ourselves and say our name and something we could talk about.

Usually we go around the circle 3 plus times. There are so many things we could talk about: our lives are rich with experience. Sometimes it's difficult for me to listen when someone talks and talks and talks about something (I'm sure I'm sometimes the one talking too much myself...), but I could listen to people share what they could talk about forever.

I could talk about the tulips in bloom!

I could talk about being shy and loving structures that help me communicate.
I could talk about my deep curiosity about my fellow human beings.
I could talk about my desire to know and be known.

These little snippets of personal information are so intriguing to me. We learn so much about each other in this exercise.

I could talk about learning that sometimes a few words are just enough.
I could talk about the girls I teach through SynchronicityTheatre sharing themselves so easily through this exercise.
I could talk about creating connections.

I could talk about my sweet children.

Why do I teach InterPlay? I hunger for connections and play gets me connected. Having a stranger become known broadens my world, broadens my heart. It seems the more I connect with others, the more I connect with something essential about myself. InterPlay- what a beautiful gift to give myself, to offer my world.

What’s the path that you could talk about?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

WARRIOR MOTHER SHEILA COLLINS: Atlanta InterPlay hosts the dancing social worker author

AFTER THE BOOK PERFORMANCE.  Following Sheila K. Collins' performance of Warrior Mother at the Alta Senior Living Center, some of the audience members lingered to talk with the author and to pose for this picture. (photos by Ruth Schowalter)
--by Ruth Schowalter, Atlanta InterPlay social media facilitator

Sheila K. Collins wears many hats and all with joyful ease of someone who has been doing InterPlay for a long time. While visiting Atlanta to facilitate InterPlay’s “Life Practice Program,” Sheila spent one day using InterPlay forms to perform her book, Warrior Mother: Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss, and Rituals that Heal (2013).
The Alta Senior Living Center
 At a book performance Sheila introduces herself as a “dancing social worker,” which always succeeds in intriguing her audience, and those in her audience at the Alta Senior Living Center in John’s Creek, an Atlanta suburb, were no exception. Their interest heightened to see where this 74-year-old author was going to take her dancing social work at the launching of their very first book club meeting. They were not disappointed.
NEW BOOK CLUB KICK OFF.  Sheila had the honor of being the first author for the seniors' newly launched book club. Two of the audience members had already read her book, Warrior Mother, and were ready with questions. Sheila promised she would return for another book club meeting in the future for a more in-depth discussion.
Sheila’s book readings are unique in that they combine explanation, reading, music, dance, and other InterPlayers. Jennifer Denning, Atlanta InterPlayer Director, Christine Gautreaux, and I were there at the Alta Senior Living Center to assist in the performances based on themes that Sheila pulls from her book. These meaningful themes, which include mothering, children, death, and joy, thoroughly engage the audience members who soon discover they are in the presence of a woman who has lost two adult children to disease and found a way to survive their deaths.
After her book performance at the Alta Senior Living Center, Sheila had an engagement with Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters (AIB) in the heart of downtown Atlanta. With Christine managing interstate traffic on a cold rainy day, Sheila arrived at AIB just in time for filming. Audrey Galex, a free-lance producer for AIB-TV and an Atlanta InterPlayer, had invited Sheila to participate in a panel discussion about managing grief.

AIB Producer Audrey Galex and Sheila
The short but very interesting panel discussion concluded with Sheila using a form of InterPlay to give viewers a “taste” of what her book, Warrior Mother, is about.  Combining storytelling with movement, she was supported by three other InterPlayers (Audrey, Christine and me), who echoed her movements.

Each time Sheila performs her book, the performance is different. The variation results from the improvisational nature of the InterPlay tools. When Sheila returns to Atlanta in May and does other book performances, I encourage you to check one out. You’ll never think of an author reading in the same way again or the themes that she brings to the stage.
AIB PANEL PARTICIPANTS.  Producer Audrey Galex (far left) assembled artist Carolyn Rose Milner (left center) life coach Lori Davila (right center), and Sheila K. Collins to discuss their different approaches to managing grief.