Sunday, May 30, 2010

No business like Show

Once upon a time … (I believe it was a few weeks ago) when I was spending more time processing than blogging, Judy and I went to the mountains of St. Lucia, to a village called Dennery. The village is home to our supervisor, Alleyne, and is gorgeous. The trip up to Dennery… well, let’s just say that I feared for my life a bit. Judy wrote a bit about the trip in her blog, so I won’t go in to details. But let’s just say the trip was… eventful and a little scary. I did look down at one point and thought, perhaps, if I plummet over the edge here into this rainforest down below, at least I died doing public service. Which seems like a decent way to go.

Why were we traveling up the windy road, potentially an ill-fated idea in a bus, we crested a hill and the Caribbean Sea was a beautiful blue-green below us, crashing against the rocks. Now, granted, all I could think at the time is. .. “Wow, we are mighty close to those rocks and the side of the cliff. How gorgeous… wait, what was that noise… did the bus lurch forward? Are we swaying… why is Hanson playing while we ride so close to the edge…” You get the idea.

Finally, we made it to the Primary School and thus began one of my favorite days… ever. Not just one of my favorite days in St. Lucia, but indeed one of my favorite days of all time. We spent the day with a primary (read: elementary) school teacher of THEATRE ARTS. Yes, I was in a kid’s theatre class all day. Sheer heaven!

Judy and I probably took about 100 photos each, so I can’t share them all with you now (ugh, reason #3,813 why I need Flickr!), but some of my favorites from the day will be featured in this post throughout.

This day was epic and lovely and made me wish that Ms. Valerie had been MY teacher in primary school; heck! I wish we had had theatre class in primary school at all! I could go on and on, but here are some life lessons I was reminded of in St. Lucian theatre class:

Shoes are overrated. I like shoes just as much as the next red-blooded American woman, but truthfully, I really love activities I can do barefoot (I AM from Arkansas, the Natural State - Our people belong outdoors.) This theatre class banished shoes to the corner of the room. Very cool.

Be silly … in community.
Everyone needs to stop trying to be cool all the time and embrace their inner silliness. I find that Judy Watts and our cohort in fun, Ms. Becca Swearingen, live this out very nicely. In theatre class, we walked BIG and LOUD and then soft and with small steps. We rolled around the floor and got all dusty and dirty. We explored what it meant to be free and silly… together.

Be a Storyteller. The students drew fairytale characters then talked about their characterizations. It was a great opportunity for students to tell stories with their characters and

be creative as they created back stories.

Listen. If you were not adequately dressed when you came to theatre class (i.e. not school uniform clothes), then you had to stand for 5 minutes in the “invisibility box” with your hands in the air. Not good. Best to listen the first time and spend more time playing with your friends than being punished.

This day I also learned quite a bit about St. Lucian folktales that actually changed the direction of my project. I also learned that the teacher here is using The Lorax for the literary foundation in her environmental club. The Lorax, Erin O’Leary! Did you hear that?! I am using that in my project as well.

Following the local wisdom… just something I picked up in Social Change class. Here are some of my favorite subjects from the day:


  1. You have serious photography skills! I'm loving the pics! And thanks fo rhte shout out! If I didn't have silly... I'm not too sure what I would have... :)

  2. Please tell me I can put you in an "invisibility box" when you get out of line. It makes me happy just to imagine it: Little Sarah there, with her hands in the air, alone while her friends watch Glee, because she was mean to me.

  3. Great post, Willis. ;) Thx for sharing your wisdom. Good luck in Monteith's penalty box, -AT

  4. Love your photos - they are gorgeous! Maybe we can incorporate some of these classroom ideas into our IPSP meetings with Joe in the fall. That would be fun.

  5. Oh my, that little boy in the next to last pic is adorable!