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Re-Learning the Art of Play

High school students from Project for Alternative Learning participated in a 3 week residency at The Myrna Loy, exploring physical theatre and mask techniques with Kevin Casey, Ilgaz Ulusoy Casey and Retta Leaphart. This is the third year that The Myrna Loy and PAL have partnered to offer a for-credit arts residency.

This year, the 3 weeks included explorations of silent storytelling, mask and shadow work, and the development of scenes and characters based on texts from folk and fairy tales.

Before beginning the course, the three teaching artists met to discuss the goals of the residency. We spent a lot of time talking about the importance of play and of breaking from routine. The course was designed to offer students an in-depth experience with theatre, and to encourage the discovery of new energies, skills, characters and stories within each individual.

In post-residency interviews, many students expressed appreciation for the level of interaction with their peers that the experience allowed, “There were awesome bonding moments. You got to know people in this class you didn’t really know before…and sometimes you didn’t want to get to know people cause you’re shy, but then you do and it turns out you have a really fun time. It kinda breaks up the cliques at school, which is nice.”

One student said she left each day energized and happy, “It was more than theatre. It was about interactions with people. The instructors pushed other problems aside and focused on us while we were there, rather than bringing outside things in.” 

We are so grateful for our relationship with PAL and for all these wonderful students who dove into the work so energetically. We agree with one young man who told us, “I want to do more theatre. I would do this workshop over and over again.”

photo credit: Jason O’Neil and Kathryn Comer-Tuss

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