Monday, October 17, 2011

Collaboration and Magic

I honestly believe I can learn something from everyone. I've worked with many different people in a variety of different settings over the past 10 years, and believe because of these meetings and collaborations, I have become a richer person for it.

Sometimes as adults, we get caught up in routine. We get caught up with thinking we know how the world works. Our days play out through mechanical motions, our minds rarely ever breaking above water to complete consciousness. The world becomes insular. Collaboration actively disrupts this solipsism.

Today, while in my collaborative theatre project in Red Hook, a moment of magic occurred. The group, which is comprised of three adults and three youth were talking about the idea of protest.

What does a protest look like?
How do protests occur?
What sparks the action of protest?

We agreed that to protest, is to say that we wish for a different world. A world in which things are better. We agreed that to protest, is to fight against something that we want to change which usually occurs from an inciting action. After discussing for a while what protests look like and how they are presented in the world, the eleven year old next to me paused and said, "What we are doing right here (motioning to the circle, the group) is a protest. Writing our play about our ideas and what we want to change in the world is a form of protest".

I was taken aback. I started to tear up (apparently, I'm really sensitive). I spent 60k studying arts and activism and performance as protest and here this 11 year old girl blew my mind with how articulate and thought provoking she was. After relishing in the enjoyment of having such a beautiful moment and exchange, I realized this is why I love collaboration. Sometimes magic occurs. Age, race, sex, and difference create opportunities for genuine exchange. A dialogue that puts each person at the forefront of his or her own experience.

Between my experiences at Occupy Wall Street and my work on this theatre project, I am humbled by the beauty of people, ideas and collaboration. Sometimes there is no substitute for a life of exchange and collaboration. A book, a lecture, or school cannot compare.

I am reminded of how much we can grow if we only let ourselves.

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