Being able to teach this year has been a real blessing and ouroboric experience. The place that I once felt so much angst about – the Institution – became a safe haven for me: a place to both teach and greatly expand my learning about writers, thinkers, and values that were left out of my education. It's also a place where I can embody my human beingness in a position of authority, and thereby hope to lend authority to the notion of being a human being.
︎ To Be Big and Be Seen: The Mirror, The Self, a Host for Dreams
Many times, while half asleep, I can feel my soul camped out in my body. I feel an essential part of my being, different than “Lex” – the person who loves to roller skate and is obsessed with MasterChef; the person who is educating herself about T-Bonds and long term investments; the artist who doesn’t know how to outrun the maze of the techno-political state but is going to keep shopping at Amazon; a woman who is black and will mention it here because that’s what everyone wants to talk about these days – Somehow that person, and all of her that is earthbound, sleeps, while another part inside me lies awake. It is the sound of a train cutting through the clear night. It is the water that keeps on flowing. I lie there, more than merely a body alive, but alert as the pure nerve of life itself. Like a fragment of a star, I can feel a force within my body piercing through the aether of sleep thunderously alive and wildly un-dead.
I have always loved and feared the cloak of night. It is when we are perhaps most ourselves, most vulnerable and malleable, temporarily unconfigured before and after the day. It was in this same space of potentiality that I first began to love theater as a kid. Of all of society’s arenas, the black box, the lights, the costumes – the theatuh – seemed to be the most truthful. It offered a space to play with, but more importantly, acknowledge the construction of values, identities characters, and entire places and times: our first virtual reality, my first love, a place to be absolutely alive.
THEATER 000 – Harvard University
Theater 000 is a studio course based on the fundamentals of performance and theatricality. The focus of this class is creative and was designed to build students’ confidence and personal language in devising live and online narrative performance. Our goal was to create portable works that were structurally and formally stimulating, emotionally resonant, and socially valuable. We did this through mini-performances projects that built flexibility, courage, and voice; through readings, viewings, and discussions; and through personal writing and research. Throughout the semester, there was an emphasis on self-care, self-inquiry, and supportive feedback.
The students in this class had a great willingness to experiment, be vulnerable, and explore different aspects of themselves. Below are clips of some character explorations by Kristian Hardy, Isaac Heller, Samantha Wilhoit, and Jill Sharples.