BY: SHAVON NORRIS
PHILADELPHIA YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS
2016 THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT
On May 28th and June 4th I had the pleasure of facilitating workshops for Philadelphia Young Playwrights. As an educator and an artist, I share the everyday and the extraordinary aspects of moving and movement. I was asked to help the participants in this project explore the ways movement and moving could deepen the development of their characters and plays. After talking with Janine Merolla about the project and the participants needs, I proposed a workshop lesson that would explore the body as resource to story and character and environment. The project participants would investigate time, shape, size, space and relationship, to create and establish meaning.
As a movement educator, I have taught a wide range of bodies and movement capabilities. Using the body as a source of information and creative expression delights some and scares most. The butterfly project participants were collectively willing to be bold and lean into their discomfort to explore something new. The participants collectively inspired me with their willingness to see themselves, each other and their characters in new ways.
Over the course of the two workshops, the participants were able to use what they learned to add more texture and life to their writing. When asked to individually explore one of their characters, participants successfully created and performed movement that offered viewers character insight. When asked to collaborate with each other, participants worked together to create and perform scenes from their plays that offered viewers a more dynamic and imaginative way to see the environment.
I have worked with PYP for the last 3 years and a guest teaching artist. I am always impressed with the care and honor it manages to show the bodies that walk into the art making process. I absolutely love how they value movement as a way to enhance and inform the play making process. The butterfly project not only did this, but the participants were exceptional as well. They were enthusiastic and adventurous. They were thoughtful and creative. In two days I could see the deepening of each participants artistic expression and practice. I am so grateful I got a chance to share what I love and value with this group. I know their finish project will be an experience in art and living for all involved.