Friday, September 2, 2011

N.E.T. National Gathering 8/11 - 8/14 Minneapolis, MN

The EYE of the ROOM

From August 11th - 14th, 2011, I served as part of the Facilitation Team for the Network of Ensemble Theaters' National Gathering in Minneapolis, MN. That's me there on the right, facilitating in the eye of the room.

I will leave the synthesis of the actual content to the forthcoming NET publishings. However, I did want to take a personal moment to share the larger context of Patti McGuire's image above.

I was guiding an activity to help the Ensemble Theater Artists assess 3 things:
  1. their own thoughts about the major foci of our national conversation
  2. where our colleagues stand across a variety of these foci
  3. the larger field of ensemble artists and allies gathered for the conference.

One of my favorite discoveries in this process was:
sometimes, the conversation helps us get to the task
and other times, the conversation is the task.

I spent part of the time sitting in circles;
standing in circles
at my breakout session located in
with my colleagues
in each of the 3 sessions:
We created flashcards about
developing new plays.
We played in space,
collaborated and observed.
We generated questions to take home to
our ensembles and copied them
to share with the field.

Shymala Moorty's picture reminds me that a lot of the process was devised, but a lot of the work was just being up on my feet with the people in the room.

My favorite traffic advisory during the conference came
when getting directions for the Minneapolis Fringe Festival:

"Get there early and beat the lines."

THANKS SO MUCH to the Twin Cities.
Minneapolis, MN,
I loved being hugged
by your concrete soaked with nature.
I loved traversing the
urban spaces of of St. Paul, MN.

I definitely had an opportunity to take a couple of breaths while on this trip.
I look forward to returning.

Patti McGuire took this while we were at the Guthrie lookin' out over the original interstate highway - the Mississippi River.

My water ancestors were happy and content.

Thanks, it'd been a minute since I'd felt connected to a river.

A final footnote as I offer thanks to all the places in MN: It was announced and discussed on the last day of the Gathering, that NET was going to enter a new phase of dialogue and exploration that they are calling the Place Cycle. From what I understand - over the course of the next two years, our ensemble theater colleagues will spotlight ensemble theatre making and dialogue in places in MI, LA, KY and HI.

the Place Cycle...
I'm excited to listen and participate in dialogue in those places
and witness what ensembles are creating within their places.