Every year, Next Act creates a community project centered on one show that helps bring members of the community together in closer conversation about our work. This season, KILL MOVE PARADISE director Marti Gobel curated a workshop on movement and ritual that she and I took into schools before and after the student matinee.
Marti and I ran workshops at Golda Meir School, Ronald Reagan High School and Rufus King High School. Our workshops before the student matinee explored six basic emotions and how the characters in the play experience them. We then talked about rituals – what are the steps of a ritual, what order do they go in, what are the rules? Students created tableaus with their bodies depicting a range of rituals from brushing your teeth to a funeral. Finally, we read through a scene from KILL MOVE PARADISE.
On October 12, 2022, more than 100 students from these three schools attended a matinee. The performance was electric, and not just because of the tornado warnings that went off during the show (which the actors handled perfectly). The students loved the audience interaction and moments that rang true in their own lives.
This was clear when we returned for our second set of workshops after the matinee. We asked the students to make their own list of rules for the “afterlife” based on the rules of KILL MOVE PARADISE in the play: “Remember. Take care. Boogie Oogie Oogie. Make a house a home.” They didn’t have to think long – in less than a minute, students suggested “Go home,” “Be at peace,” “Decide to watch over,” “Sulk” and even “Dance” (“When I dance, that is when I feel like myself and like nothing in the world matters.”)
Giving these students an understanding of the text and of ritual allowed them to be vulnerable, to see themselves in the production and made room for an emotional response. It was great to see them innately understand and relate to the story of KILL MOVE PARADISE.