New Video! Building Community with Playback Theatre

I am proud to present this video, the work of Courtney Shumway, a brilliant video artist, poet and design student at the Art Institute of York. Courtney is also a member of the River Crossing Playback ensemble and understands that craft well.

Playback Theatre is an improvisational form in which a trained ensemble enacts a conversation of audience stories on the spot. The video dives into the fascinating dynamics of one story in one performance in the Healing York Initiative, started to address racial divisions in the past and present life of York, Pennsylvania. I think you’ll find this video one of the finest descriptions of Playback Theatre on the entire web, telling not just what Playback Theatre IS but also so effectively, what it DOES. Let’s watch!

Click here for more about Playback Theatre.

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Just Launched: IlanaSpace for DC-area Artists

It’s official.  Ilana Silverstein and I have collaborated to publish this week, a website supporting DC-area dance and mixed media artists.  It’s a WordPress-powered site that I customized extensively from the Clean News 1.1 template.  Ilana will now be able to manage the site herself including blogging,event publicity and registration functionality.  I’m now off to lend my touch to other web spaces.

Thumbnail view of - a site supporting DC-area artists powered by WordPress, customized by Chris Fitz

If you dance or do improv anywhere near Washington, DC, you probably know or know of Ilana.  She’s an excellent organizer who integrates great publicity habits with a warm touch and blooming creativity.  Subscribe to her newsletter to keep up with the many events she puts together.  Or just drop by and check out some of the video and other cool stuff she’s begun collecting and sharing.  Check out:

Noticings as Life Practice

Since high school, i’ve kept a regular journal and it’s been like a friend to me since.  But i can’t open an old one up still without getting emotionally embroiled in the angst and crises that i wrote about. Sometimes after reading a previous journal, i get a “toxic” feeling, a sense of being highly unstable, like an element unable to exist on its own.

I can’t trace where this originated, but a second phase of journaling began when i started a “noticings” practice.  It works like this:

  1. Write what you notice – both factually and experientially or internally
  2. Appreciate it without analysis or judgement
  3. Let one noticing take you to another, without agenda for “all the things” you want to write about
  4. Allow the noticings to move you toward doing something if any hint of motivation arises.
  5. Be thankful for your insights, but not proud, nor judgemental.

My last week or two have greatly benefited from noticings.  It would have been easy to get bogged down in depressing self-criticism at what felt like an ongoing, overwhelming situation and periods lacking apparent productivity.  I’m officially “unemployed,” a fact that from outside might appear certain to evoke depression or negativity in this “depression” era.  But almost every other day, when i need them, my noticings shift the energy into a place of ease, self-forgiveness and clarity.  I see why i have feelings i don’t understand, like utter impatience with my children or high anxiety about small issues.  And i see what i need to do next – and next after that.

Actions out of clarity bring more clarity.  And more ease…usually.  But there’s always a time again for more noticings.  Like now…

  • I notice that i’m dehydrated after eating too many salt and vinegar chips;
  • I notice that it’s time for me to be in bed;
  • I notice that i’ve been successful at sleeping earlier since my coaching four years ago;
  • I notice that i want to finish this post;
  • I notice that i’m impatient to finish this whole blog;
  • When will this site backup finish anyway?
  • And so on…

Blessings on your own noticings.