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Travel Blog

On A Train Bound For Berlin

Jessica Litwak

On a train bound for Berlin saying Goodbye to Prague. Just passing through Dresden – big beautiful train station. Sitting in the dining car eating some sort of bad train version of a chicken salad. As Ibounce along the tracks through the hills and valleys of Eastern into Western Europe I am reflecting on the last three days. Pretty amazing.

I lead a very intense workshop with 29 people Two of them drove all the way from The Ukraine to take the workshop. There were students from all over the world: Palestine, Romania, Germany, America, France, Slovakia, Austria and more.The participants were diverse not only in nationality but in age, theatre backgrounds and experience with activism. One beautiful participant was so pregnant that we had no idea whether we would be assisting in her labor in the workshop

I had two goals: To teach socially engaged tehatre tools and to build an ensemble – to see if we could create a company in three days

We worked on Sociometry, Ritual and community building, Drama therapy techniques including introduction to playback and psychodrama and Forum Theatre Theatre. We worked on theories of performance and peacebuilding like Moral imagination and Paradoxical Curiosity. We studied and developed Theatre tools: The Voice Progression, Character work , Puppet Building, Viewpoints and Composition.

I was deeply moved by the heart and courage of the participants. I was pushing them and myself past the level of comfort into communication and discovery going back and forth from individual to community work, self care to selfless generosity, theory to practice, and theatre to activism and healing.

We welcomed the public in an open presentation which was participatory andincluded a 10 minute performance involving a chair dance, a puppet dance and a choral reading of a Vaclav Havel poem.

After the workshop we were all invited as guests of the Archa Theatre to the film of John a piece by D-V-8 a physical theatre company that was filmed at their recent production at The National Theatre. This piece is an incredible example of very hard core physical collaborative movement theatre that is as disturbing as it is beautiful.

The entire “company”” sat together during the film and then drank beer, talked and created an impromptu puppet musical very late into the night. People cried and laughed and hugged each other and made arrangements to stay in touch.

The going was tough in Prague, but the outcome of the workshop was beyond my wildest dreams and the human interaction was deeply inspiring once again reminding me that theatre CAN change the world one person and one community at a time.