Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Performing Warrior Mother: Atlanta InterPlay Goes to Darnell Senior Multipurpose Center with Sheila K. Collins

CONNECTING AFTER THE PERFORMANCE. How wonderful to share experiences about life after Sheila K. Collins' performance of her book, Warrior Mother. Sister Jewel, an international InterPlayer, looks on while Sheila talks to members of the audience. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
By Ruth Schowalter, InterPlay Social Media Facilitator

Imagine finishing 3-days of InterPlay with Sheila K. Collins, the dancing social worker and author, and then joining her to perform her book, Warrior Mother: Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss,  and Rituals that Heal,  at a very large senior center! The Darnell Senior Multipurpose Center has programming to fully engage its seniors at physical, social, and emotional levels. What a perfect place for Atlanta InterPlay to visit with Sheila and her one of-a-kind-book performances!

Even better? We Atlanta InterPlayers had seen this group of seniors from Atlanta’s southwest side before we visited them at their center! Recently, one of their theatre troupe rehearsals followed our Second Saturday InterPlay at the Mask Center in the Little Five Points Community Center! Now, we are on the way to becoming more than acquaintances! Who knows what collaborations and play may ensue!

Here are some photos documenting this Atlanta InterPlay event with Sheila. 

ARRIVAL.  On a cool Monday morning in May, six of us Atlanta InterPlayers accompanied Sheila to the Darnell Senior Center to assist in the book performance of Warrior Mother. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

GREETINGS. We were delighted to be engulfed by the energy filling this multipurpose center for seniors. In addition to swimming, working out, art and calligraphy classes, we found that our InterPlay performance was scheduled in a room between the theatre troupe's rehearsal and the bridge club. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

THEATRE TROUPE REHEARSAL. Pre-book performance with Sheila, something fun and intriguing was going on! (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

BOOKS FOR SALE. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

THE BOOK PERFORMANCE. Sheila reads from her book and sets up the InterPlay performance. Our clarinet player, Debra Hiers, was late and one of the audience members volunteered to accompany us with his saxophone! The wonderful surprises that life brings us. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

THE PITTSBURGH FORM. We began the performance with a group InterPlay form that uses both movement and story. Each member introduces herself and tells a short three-sentence story on a theme (Sheila had given us the theme of "laughter and tears") and then creates a movement that is repeated by everyone.  (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

A LARGE BODY STORY. Instead of reading a particular passage from her book, Sheila decided to tell it as a "large body story," moving and talking at the same time. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
IMPROVISATIONAL MUSIC. Atlanta InterPlay is so thrilled to welcome Debra Hiers to its performance group. Her improvisational clarinet music is just amazing to move to! We performers did the form, "Walk, Run, Stop," while Sheila read from her book and Debra played her clarinet. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
FINISHING UP. Jennifer Denning proposes future possibilities of play with our audience. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
TALKING ABOUT THE BOOK. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)

GROUP PERFORMANCE PHOTO. We were drawn to pose with this glorious sculpture directly outside the front door of the Darnell Senior Center as we left. (photo by a volunteer)


  1. What a fabulous weekend with these amazing and talented women. And what a great finish to go to the Darnell Senior Center and meet some more sisters of another mother, connecting their stories to my own.

  2. Love this Ruth! Beautiful pictures capturing a bodyspirit filled event!

  3. I think there is a painting here to be made based on freedom of expression thru peaceful dance motion...actually have one in the works...thanks for lovely photos and concept here...peace to you!