Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fieldnote: Y-Gardens Anniversary


Today was culmination of a year+ work on the new garden site. After receipt of a DCYF grant for sustainable garden development[see attached] there were some funds to amplify recent in-kind donations [straw, plants, soil].  So for the past week we've worked intensively on a few specific projects.
  • A pond in the SE corner at the end of the Biome Wall
  • reorganization of other spaces so there is vegetable gardening for culinary program, cultivation, reflection and demonstration areas
  • handwashing station with reclamation

Next steps include finding effective paths for representing the work online for asynchronous participation and enhanced social learning.

A place to expose questions like -

" Describe these garden systems.
  • water
  • human & other animals
  • soil
  • climate
Illustrate the ways they interact with each other with diagrams.
Point to examples of each system in our garden."

ThunderPuppets Fieldnotes: Y-Gardens Anniversary

The ThunderPuppets Players produced a workshop to help celebrate the founding of Central Y's Garden Theatre @ 387 Golden Gate. The theme was: Envisioning the Future and we hoped to include members of the Senior Center, the T'ai Chi class, youth from de Marillac school who've been part of the Garden Club elective. Besides our company, sans Maria who was ill at home with Tita, only the de Marillac youth were able to attend. Y staff were busy elsewhere except for Andrea who stopped in for a moment on her way to an important Board recruitment event. While Martha & Rhionnda encouraged people to participate others seemed inconvenienced by our presence, bursting in to the darkened room during the performances and speaking loudly about not being able to use the space or being unclear about the schedule. Sadly the Garden Club came later than expected and so missed the performance entirely. Meanwhile we had had to strike the theater because we only had it reserved til 3.
 A few logistical challenges but a positive puppet day as always when we work, however I will hope to bring the workshop to places who actively want and support it.
So what did we accomplish and what were the missed opportunities?
In addition to his powerful positive energy and a yummy lunch Stu contributed another gig bag and a useful design for multi-puppet rigging [ sea grass ].Together we talked through additional rigging options like in the diagram. I particularly appreciated dialog between Niani & Stu regarding music [cultivating improv as well as reading] and the difference between "know" and "no".

We  ran the puppet play "El Mar lo Sabe / The Ocean Knows" against the chorale reading of las Enigmas; still quite rough and we need more puppets. I want to develop the surreal imagery in Neruda's poem more to emphasize his poetics and also the dream time/space we are making.
We talked about the use of small movements for large effects and how to cultivate that skill during warm-up. Also how to use the warmup to build concentration and manage focus.

I love the underwater feel but want to create more subtle changes, smooth the audio and make sure we have a strong finish. [ submarine, periscope ] Finale make the whole room feel like we're underwater with big coral banks that rise up, more projections on side screen and soundtrack that encourages people to sing [we all live in a yellow submarine].
Now to mix down today's video and keep on moving.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

ThunderPuppets Workshop Notes 01.08.11

Location: Coleman Advocates
Participants: Stu, Niani, Maria, Anika, Kasey, Pecollia

This was first company workshop of 2011. Niani outlined structure on whiteboard (without prompt). She was especially detailed about warmup section.
Setup took 70 min instead of 45. Storytelling lasted 45 min. We ran dress of "The Ocean Knows/el Mar lo Sabe" and discussed structure of upcoming public workshop Jan 11 to commemorate Central Y Gardens founding. We were more deliberate about visual documentation but it continues to be a weak point. Current goal: everyone does it. This will require specific training offline to make everyone comfortable.