Saturday, November 1, 2014

INTERPLAYING IN GRANT PARK: Soulprint Players warming up on a cold day!

SOULPRINT PLAYERS REHEARSAL. Grant Park, Atlanta, Georgia, November 1, 2014 (photo by Wade, husband of Sharon Levering)
by Ruth Schowalter, InterPlay Leader-in-Training
On Saturday, November 1, 2014, eight of the fourteen members of the Soulprint Players met to play together--or rehearse InterPlay style--for our premier performance on Sunday, November 16th. 

It was the first real cold day here in Atlanta, Georgia, and we were so fortunate to meet at the cozy home of InterPlayer Sharon Levering in the historic Grant Park. While gusting winds blew outside, we warmed up by telling stories, dancing and vocalizing on the behalf of those who are deceased. After all, it is the day after Halloween and the Day of the Dead, an appropriate time to honor those we have loved and who are no longer with us.

Since InterPlay uses improvisational tools, to prepare for a performance requires us to be present in the moment, ready to create on the spot, speaking from our "body wisdom"--that fascinating unity of body, mind, heart, and soul. InterPlay performers benefit by becoming familiar with other performers and their own responses to the prompts and InterPlay forms.
JOYCE KINNARD AND FLUTE. Joyce surprised us all by bringing a newly acquired flute to accompany some of our movement. Inspired last week by Soyinka Rahim, who played a flute at the celebration of 25 years of InterPlay, Joyce who plays musical instruments, decided it was time to try the flute. We were so pleased and surprised by the improvisational music she created for us. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
 As we commemorated those who've died using InterPlay forms, we took time to "notice" and attend to what we were experiencing. We talked about learning to "trust" our bodies, to follow the movement that was asking to be expressed. For example, to be still, form a shape and hold it and keep it until we were ready to move again. "Trusting" our bodies to find a place to "end" the improvisational performance collectively--that's tricky but definitely an acquired skill to be gained by playing together regularly.

Expanding our understanding of "trust" continued as talked about how to speak out what we were "noticing." In the every day world, you might be tempted to call this "noticing"--feedback. And everyone knows that the best kind of feedback is twofold--positive and constructive (translate constructive to mean  negative). 

However, in InterPlay, we practice affirming ONLY the good. As performers play together, we "notice" all the things that "wow" us, make us feel connected, pull us in, and take us deeper. We leave those things aside that a "critic" might think important to highlight to demonstrate an inner criterion was not met.

In our practice today, after we told 3-sentence stories about a particular deceased person who impacted our lives, we danced on behalf of gifts that the deceased have given us. We played around with shape and stillness. In this kind of movement, we begin as solo dancers and as guided by our body wisdom find a way to connect with each other.
THREE DANCING ON BEHALF OF. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
FIVE DANCING ON BEHALF OF. (photo by Christine Nichols Gautreaux)
In addition to "noticing" in InterPlay, we also "witness" one another. Today, in this rehearsal for the Soulprint Players, Jennifer Denning, our director, had us witness each other and our commemorations of the dead and themes such as patience and carefulness. One of the InterPlayers mentioned that as both a "mover" and a "witness" he experienced the movement of life, birthing freedom, the day of the dead, and reawakening. Awesome stuff!
VOCALIZATION AND DECORATION. We practiced playing with our voices in two groups of four. One person creates a foundation, leads the others who then break away and "decorate" the underlying rhythm of the foundation. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
InterPlay play always surprises me. I always learn something about myself or others. 

Yes, we had fun! 

Yes we listened to ourselves and to others. 

We moved, sang, and told stories without knowing what we were going to do, sing, or say. 

But we trusted ourselves and other InterPlayers. 

In our creativity, both solo and collaboratively, we experienced freedom in the unknown, the "not" knowing.

Thank you InterPlay! Thank you Soulprint Players! Thank you Jennifer Denning!


  1. Great Blog Ruth! Such a fun and rewarding morning :)

    1. Chrisitne! How exciting it is to build an InterPlay performance group with you and all other InterPlay Atlanta people! We are so lucky.

  2. "Honoring the dead" was the perfect theme for our time together on the day of the dead. Such richness there- honor, respect, noticing and sharing of the gifts those who have passed on have gifted us with. Thank you Ruth! I envision this session as an offering to the community next year.