When I say ‘walk,’ stop!


It's a Man Question

Setting:  A library in a Connecticut maximum-security prison.  Twenty-two men in tan uniforms come to a stop in unison.  This time, when I say ‘walk,’ stop, and when I say ‘stop,’ walk.”  The men resume walking. Three correctional officers look in through a reinforced glass window.  Now when I say ‘jump,’  clap, and when I say ‘clap,’  jump.  As the men began moving again, one of them nudges the man beside him and gestures at the guards.  

The leaders of this exercise are Wil Fisher and Michael Wilson, founders of Man Question, a theatre-based workshop that addresses what it means to be a man today.  First developed as a thesis project for the Applied Theatre Program at CUNY, Man Question has been presented in community and university settings across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Says Wilson:  

In Man Question, we use games like Augusto Boal’s, Stop, Clap, Jump, then we enter into conversation to explore feelings, beliefs and assumptions.

The 22 prisoners gather in a circle. “They’re probably telling the other officers how foolish we looked,” says one of the men who’d noticed the guards.  “How do we know that?” another asks. “Maybe they want to be in here playing too?”

Says Fisher:

This journey of taking off the armor — of self and community discovery and acceptance — felt particularly urgent and sacred against the backdrop of prison confinement.  However, our other groups have taken this journey as well.  It’s testimony to the power of theatrical play to open dialog; and of a participant-centered pedagogy to foster growth and leadership.

For more information, contact:  646-322-7999.

Michael Wilson (center), Wil Fisher (r.), and Mark Aldrich, prison librarian, with his Dachshunds.

Advertisements

About Janet Wootten

Janet Wootten is a media and public relations professional, a member of the Institute’s Board of Directors and a leader of its annual community fundraising campaign.
This entry was posted in creativity and play, performance, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s