to all youth followers of WE, check out this National Park Service competition looking for creative expressions of freedom.
From our friends from the Prison University Project, based at San Quentin.
Below is the link to a wonderful TED Talk by Damon Horowitz, PUP volunteer, about teaching philosophy at San Quentin. It’s just under 4 minutes long:
Prison University Project
Patten University at San Quentin, Director
Post Office Box 492
San Quentin, California 94964
We Players is proud to announce our final exhibit in the 2011 Alcatraz series, Images from the Inside, which is the most comprehensive gathering of inmate-produced visual artwork in the Bay Area in 30 years.
August 27th “Images from the Inside”Opening Event 1-4pm on Alcatraz
Meet at Pier 33 by 12:50 to claim your place.
This event is free. Reservations are required. Suggested donation, $20-30.
Well, I’m just back from a 2200 nautical mile passage – through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific coast to Cabo San Lucas in Baja.
While at sea, I read several versions of the Odyssey on the foredeck of sailing vessel Kailani.
I love the ancient roots of this material, the epic scope and universal story of the Heroes journey. In some way, each day we go through a version of this journey – we rise to greet the challenges and unexpected adventures of the day, we return ‘home’ – the same person and yet in some way changed, renewed or transformed – even if only a subtle shift, we learn or forget something each day.
We’re beginning the process slowly, steadily, gradually – with a book club of just a few actors to read to each other and discuss the text. And to explore how the stories of the Odyssey relate to our own experiences. Gradually developing an understanding of the Hero and perhaps coming to personal definitions quite different from the concept of the ancient hero, who goes to battle for the spoils of war and for the “glory” and “honor” of it. My conception of a hero is something much more quiet – something like my father, sensitive and smart, patient and steady, deep in himself and knows how to savor the small things.
At sea, I savor the details of the environment. The play of sunlight and moonlight on the surface of the ocean. Infinitely various patterns of light. Flecks of green phosphorescence spraying and fizzling in our wake. The big dipper perfectly vertical off the starboard bow, dipping straight into the bowl of the ocean for a great scoop of liquid night.
Source work in the wine-dark sea…
Since you are here reading this post, THANK YOU for visiting We Players’ new website. I’m excited to provide more regular updates about our work and play, and to invite your participation with this new web-interface.
On this occasion, I’d like to tell you a little story. Okay? It’s short, but have a cup of tea and sit with me for a few. In November of 2008 I visited Alcatraz for the first time. Now, nearly three years later, I feel like pieces of the island are embedded in me, and I know we have left our own quiet trails throughout the island’s disparate terrain. Prior to the big adventure on Alcatraz – I went to sea. First crewing on a 36′ Tartan sloop, the “Wild Rose” with a wonderful female captain, and somewhere in southern Mexico switched ships to a 38′ Yorktown called “Fandango”. The captain, myself and Fandango crossed 3400 nautical miles to reach the verdant green shores of Hilo, Hawaii. There I bathed in fresh, sweet water for the first time in weeks and feasted on fruit after the extended lapse sans fresh food. Astounding really, how absence not only makes the heart grow fonder, but more appreciative and able to taste and savor familiar things as completely new. Something to consider in my art making I believe – how to keep the work alive, breathing, fresh, constantly growing and changing. Not to settle into patterns or old tricks, but continually find new flavors and hues. Upon returning to California, I found that the sea had helped me drop into a deep space of quiet and focus, which has supported me through these challenging two years on Alcatraz.
Up until this island, this Rock, this series of performances and outreach projects, We Players has been somewhat sporadic. Well, that’s not quite it. But the company has had to trail in the wake of a gypsy wandering leader. Each of my adventure travels has served the work in some way – providing inspiration for an upcoming project, or just quieting my soul so that I could rise to the task of creating monumental productions with very little resources. Still, 2010 marked both the 10 year celebration of being on this path and was also something of a test for me. Does the world want this work? Shall I continue striving to create these productions? Will I be able to better support myself and my collaborators through the work? Will we become financially more solvent? Do people want to play with We Players? Shall I take not only the next step…but a flying leap into a new decade?
The response to Hamlet on Alcatraz, and the personal progress I felt throughout the creation of that show, gave me a resounding YES. And so – welcome to We Players second decade. There are no bounds – only the expansive, ever extending horizon where the sea’s lips kiss the sky’s cheek.
Thank you for sailing along with WE.
Oh, and postscript: None of this would exist if it were not for ALL of WE. All of you who come to experience the work and boldly join us on the performance journey. All of you who have worked with me, have given so much of your time, your talent, your spirits to manifest each collosal creation. Donald, Elissa, and Brandon, who I will unabashedly admit are my bedrock and my heart’s greatest loves. And Lauren Dietrich Chavez, without whom WE would not be rising on such strong and peaceful wings. I am honored to hold your hand and walk with you, Lauren.