Passion for truth includes the emotions and the body, acknowledging that the writer’s whole being is the instrument of perception, not only in the mind… Only the hunger for something beyond the personal will allow the writer to break free of one major obstacle to originality- the fear of self revelation-
The above quote is printed on my guide form for Playwrite Inc. Today was my first round of training. I have another meeting tomorrow. It is similar to Write Around Portland, in the respect that we work with marginalized youth, but the two major differences are in Playwrite you work one on one with a coach, and you work heavily in character development. To truly access a character that you or a person is creating you need to go into the heart of that character make them real. It requires you to think about how you would feel in the situation you create. For example if your character is doing something that is hurting people, you have to ask yourself when have you hurt someone and why did you hurt them and how did it make you feel, and then apply that to your character. This personalizing, this truth is what makes a character real for other to witness.
This can be really difficult work for a person that has it all pretty together, and most of the kids that we work with, well they were not blessed with the best homes or environments. There are things that I think would make me cry or push my buttons when working on these plays, so I can only imagine the strength, courage, tenacity, and spirit the kids that make it through the workshop must feel once they see their work on the stage.
I am excited and terrified. I will never be able to give details on this blog due to confidentiality, but I am aware that this work can reveal some dark places that people live in, and may even trigger some dark places from my own upbringing, and honestly- that is scary. Sometimes, you learn some terrible, terrible things about people, and what people do to their own children. It is one thing to hear about a tragic story on the news, but it is another to sit across from someone, to know them, and to hear their life, to have them say, “I have no safe place” or “I have never felt happiness”.
It isn’t or wont always be like that, but I have to admit when I walk away from such encounters I have a hard time relating to the world in general. I don’t understand its cruelty, and I don’t care for it very much. I will move from that environment to “normal” speak and I really could careless about someone’s great house or the things they bought or what gossip is going on because those things don’t bring me joy, and I question what actually brings me joy. Where can I find joy in a place where people can treat people they way they do? This is the part that worries me about doing the workshops: One) that I will suck and be incompetent, and two) I have the tendency to absorb people’s feelings (or energies I guess you can say) and I will wear them. It is hard for me to shake it off and I can get depressed. I find myself thinking, “my god, what is this all for why are we even here when we cause such damage?” So much wasted; you can not believe how much is wasted. I often wonder if I am fit or cut out for something like this. In many ways it has been presented to me almost as a path. It is slowly beginning to incorporate my skills as an actor and writer, but at the same time I am surprised I am here.
I’m not a do-gooder. I am well aware that I am not going to change this world, and I also know that at the end of a workshop many of these kids lives will not change, but for a small moment they will recognize their worth.
Truth is I went into this because I wanted to be saved myself. I felt that I was qualified for some of the workshops. And, I thought, if only I had something like this would my life have been better? If my mother had something like this would she have seen her worth? Would our lives have been less difficult? I don’t know. I go in feeling like I don’t know what the hell I am doing or what will happen while simultaneously feeling like I know what I am doing. In the long run will any of this matter? I don’t know, but I do know how powerful it is to be heard, to be counted, to be seen, truly seen, and to be reaffirmed, that you are indeed a human- a precious human, and you are worth something.