By David Bradley, Director, and the Re-Vision Ensemble
“We are making…a beginning.” That’s how one of the teenage artists in PYP’s two-week Re-Vision lab put it when asked to describe what we are making in these weeks. It was a great encapsulation of process. Re-Vision, which brings together teens from across the region with professional artists, launches a year-long process of making a play for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. The play we make, currently titled Work/Shop/Shift will be a featured presentation at the Innovation Studio at the Kimmel Center in April 2015.
So, we’re making a play. But we’re just at the beginning. We’re making an ensemble of teen artists, university artists and professional artists, but we’re just at the beginning of that. And we’re making discoveries of how this might all work—perhaps the most important beginning of all. Our theme—how do we make things, why do we make what we make, how do we use the resources at hand, how do we repurpose materials, ideas, ourselves. To investigate, we’ve begun experimenting with writing and movement. We’re visiting very different Philadelphia hubs of making—Greensgrow Farm, a factory site turned urban farm in Fishtown; Indy Hall, a co-working space filled with makers of many things in Old City; the ExCITe Center, a lab for innovation in technology and design at Drexel. We’ve made drums from Home Depot buckets and machines from our bodies. We’re inviting friends and families to come play with us this Thursday and move the beginning forward.
We like the idea of actually creating a beginning—fashioning a start from rough materials and big ideas. Here are highlights, questions and wonders that stuck with the group from week one.
What events stick with you from the week?
— Indy Hall: innovative, collaborative, awesome
—Greensgrow Farm: composting toilet, “we are making room to grow,” re-purposing a place and a person
—Making the drums: creative, unique, da-duh-duu—chh
—The enemy/ally game: how quick someone makes you believe something
—A/B scenes: quick, systematic, get in late/get out early
What themes stick with you from the week?
—Gravity keeps things from floating up
—“What if we did our work like the snow, quietly, quietly, leaving nothing out” (Wendell Berry)
—Growers of food, flowers and neighborhoods (Greensgrow Farms motto)
—3 generations back, 3 generations forward
—Cycles and circles
—16 Wendell Berry references
What do you want to do next week?
—I want to hear what these people have to say
—Re-visit what we’ve done with new skills and information that we have
—Involve the people in come in what we do
—Put them in the machine!
—Working more fully with all 5 senses
—Can we make a piece that’s so descriptive that you “taste the sorrel?” (We tasted the lemony-tanged sorrel at Greensgrow Farms. We wondered if writing could be so evocative it would have the impact of the penetrating taste of this herb).
Young Playwrights gratefully recognizes our Board of Directors, Producers’ Circle and investing partners in Work/Shop/Shift: Wyncote Foundation, CHG Trust, Howell Lockhart Sieple Trust, City Paper.Work/Shop/Shift is produced in partnership with The Kimmel Center and the Ira Brind School of Theatre Arts at the University of the Arts.