WELCOME!

A troupe of teen actresses telling their stories through writing and performance

Welcome to the Girls Surviving blog. We are creating this blog to reflect on the process we use in our work with teenage girls. We are two artists, Paula and Carolyn, who have been teaching writing, theater, and storytelling for many years. We are also mothers of daughters who had a hard time navigating their teens. We believe they would have benefited from a program that provided them with a safe place to talk about what it's like to be a teenage girl and to discover their unique artistic voices. Seven years ago, we began to form a troupe of teen girls who, we thought, could write and perform plays based on the experiences that inform their lives. Since then, we've watched the girls in the Girls Surviving troupe begin to take control of their lives with self-confidence and courage. We are writing to parents, teachers, counselors, and other artists who interact with girls in the hope that this blog will raise awareness of and open conversations about the lives of girls who are growing up in our complicated times.

“I have lived a very hectic life. I would consider myself as not a survivor but as a girl surviving.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Spirit of GS



The GS Troupe, 2016-17

We are standing on the sidewalk outside the entrance to Frelinghuysen Middle School (FMS).  The troupe is going to perform their latest play for the very first time. Their audience?  About 20 8th grade girls selected by the middle school guidance counselors as potential candidates for the GS summer and fall programs.

Our actresses need reassurance that the event will go smoothly. Some have never performed before, others have switched or added roles at the last minute, one girl is new to the school district and has never set foot in FMS before.  None of them has run through the play from start to finish. So much writing had to be added during the rehearsal period that we never got around to having a dress rehearsal. And it’s the end of the school year with many other demands.

To ease the actresses’ minds, we decide to bill the FMS “performance” as a dress rehearsal.  Still, they’re nervous, even our seasoned seniors.
             
            “You are so brave,” I tell them as we wait to go inside.

“That’s the spirit of GS, don’t you think?” asks Paula.

“Yes, that is the spirit of GS,” I agree.

            It’s not just a pep talk. It’s true.  Over the years we’ve encountered nerve-wracking circumstances similar to the one I just described.  Every time we do, we watch the girls face down whatever obstacle gets thrown their way, rise to the occasion and finish strong.  That truly is “the spirit of GS.”

            Our girls are brave. The obstacles they face can be daunting. Sometimes they have to jump into new roles at the last minute because family, job or school obligations and emergencies arise that force a cast member to temporarily leave the program.  Sometimes our younger, less experienced girls think it’s okay to miss rehearsal because they don’t understand how essential every person is to the process. Our youngest troupe members are new to playwriting, acting, and the demands of collaborative theater making. It takes time for them to learn the ropes. If one fails to appear at the last rehearsal, someone else has to rise to the challenge of performing her part with almost no rehearsal.  When rehearsal time is extra short, as it was this year, the juggling act is a nail biter, even for a veteran actress.

            Most of our seniors have been in the program for many years and now feel comfortable with unpredictability.  They can handle last-minute casting changes and a shortened rehearsal period more easily than the girls who have never been on the stage before. Still, even seniors know it is risky going into performance without having a dress rehearsal.



Last-minute revisions 


            Experienced or new, however, this year’s troupe rallied, and the FMS “dress rehearsal” was a success. During the performance, audience members audibly expressed sympathy for those characters who suffered at the hands of the characters who behaved irresponsibly.  One scene brought a girl sitting in the first row to tears. After the play and during the talk-back, many of the 8th graders praised our girls for authentically bringing to life situations similar to those that they had experienced in their own lives.

Our girls came away from the performance exhilarated by their success, proud of themselves and their achievement, and primed for their final show.  A week later, they took the stage again, this time for an audience of mostly adults. Once again, as always it seems, there were last-minute surprises.  And, once again, everyone pulled together for another success. 

Year after year we watch the same phenomenal transformation unfold. How is this possible?  Something happened after the last performance that provides an answer. The mother of one of our newest troupe members asked the seniors to offer a bit of parting advice to the younger girls.  Here is some of what they had to say:

“Don’t take yourself too seriously. What’s the point of trying to be somebody you’re not?”

“Even if you don’t think you like writing or acting, give it try.  What have you got to lose?

“Learn to collaborate.”

“Be open-minded.”

Offering Advice
“Be flexible.”

“Relax.”


           Their responses were unprompted and thoughtful.  Theirs is good advice for helping girls grow into confident, non-judgmental, generous and articulate young women who aren’t afraid to forge ahead despite the obstacles – or perhaps - to spite the obstacles.  That’s the spirit of GS.

Monday, June 19, 2017

GS Works!


On June 7th, the GS troupe performed their new play, So One Day I Got Lost, for the first time for a group of about twenty 8th grade girls at Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morristown. This yearly event serves as an introduction to GS for girls whom guidance counselors have referred to the program. In their introduction to the play, GS actresses called this year’s performance a dress rehearsal, and it was. Before they performed Lost at Frelinghuysen, actresses had only one complete run through of all scenes with connecting material. Not only that, at that last, mandatory, rehearsal, we were missing a cast member so one of our freshmen girls, a first-time actress, stepped into the role at the last minute. This casting change forced another: to avoid possible audience confusion over the same actress playing two different central characters in two scenes, Elaina, the freshmen who stepped into the new role, and Keisha, one of our senior girls, exchanged roles in another scene. The fact that the troupe was able to present a realistic and moving performance the week after these changes were implemented, with no rehearsals in between, is a tribute to the confidence of the actresses who made the switches and to the flexibility of the other troupe members. It’s also a testimony to the effectiveness of the GS process.
Girls who enter GS don’t necessarily think of themselves as writers or actresses. Most of them have never participated in any theater activity before they join the GS troupe, and some of the girls enter the program with little writing fluency. Yet, after nine months in the program, insecure writers have contributed to deep, insightful theater scripts, and inexperienced actresses are able to realistically portray characters, even with scant rehearsal time. How does the change come about? For a complete and detailed answer, you need to participate in one of our training seminars and read our book, Girls Surviving: Teaching Teen Girls to Speak Out. But the short answer is that the program is designed to give girls a safe place to speak their minds and to take risks without fear of failure, and that the process we’ve put in place to meet those goals works.   

By her third or fourth week in the program, a new girl has begun to form bonds with her fellow troupe members and with program staff. By then she knows that she can say or write anything without being censored; that the group will listen thoughtfully and take her ideas seriously; and that just because someone doesn’t agree with her doesn’t mean she’s wrong. In conversations about writing, she’ll see veteran girls accept suggestions for revisions without getting upset, and she’ll hear staff members readily acknowledge that they may not have the best idea of how something should be done. She’ll also come to understand that, although staff members hold each other and the girls in the troupe to high artistic standards as well as high standards of behavior, that they realized all the skills they value need to be learned, and that it’s okay to be anywhere along the learning continuum, as long as you’re actively participating in workshop activities.
Unlike most conventional theater programs, any pressure a girls feels about the success of her performance comes from within herself. She doesn’t have to memorize her lines because all performances are staged readings. Through weeks of theater games and activities, she has gradually learned to how to embody a character, so, once gentle guidance from her director sets her on course, the rest comes naturally. Her fellow troupe members are flexible and forgiving; she know they make mistakes and need do-overs, too. Also, because they have truly formed a troupe, the girls support each other so that nobody ever looks bad on stage.  All of these things come together to give each girl the confidence she needs to perform successfully.
This confidence was evident in their June 7th performance and in the follow-up discussion with audience members. When asked about their writing and performance process, the answers of the veteran girls showed that they have completely understood and assimilated it. Even the newest girls seemed comfortable talking about their experience. Several moments in the play had elicited audible emotional responses from the audience. There were moments of laughter, but there was also a scene that caused the 8th grade girls to gasp in shock at the way one character spoke to another. Not only were the actresses able to play through these moments as they occurred, but they were also able to talk freely about their own feelings and listen carefully to those expressed by the younger girls in the post-performance discussion. Even (or, perhaps, especially) the actress who, speaking of her comfort on the stage, told the audience, “Right now I am terrified,” is evidence of the program’s success. She spoke with poise and complete confidence that her confession would elicit only sympathy and empathy.

There were years, early on, when Carolyn and I would be nervous wrecks as performance time approached. No more. We’ve learned what’s important, and we know that the girls will be fine.  After all, we’ve been working this program for 12 years.




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Watching Them Grow


The girls have been in rehearsal for the past two weeks, and they have two rehearsals to go before their first performance on June 7. There was a time when having so few rehearsals would have worried them, but that time is gone. At least, for this troupe. Five of the eight girls who will be in the play are now experienced GS actresses. They know that they will be able to pull things together in the time they have to practice. As I watched them work on a scene during last week’s workshop, I shared their confidence.
They had begun their work on the “Sandra” scene the week before and, by the time they got through to the end of the scene, everyone agreed that it was a mess. The concept was great, the actresses did their best with the script, but the writing was so weak that the scene made no sense. The problems in the script weren’t apparent to the girls until they saw the piece on its feet. During previous readings, they couldn’t seem to get their heads around problems when Carolyn and I pointed them out; they needed to physically work through writing to find its weak points: speaking the dialogue as they interacted with each other, trying to visualize the setting as they moved in the performance space. Once they saw the problem, they sat back down to fix it, reading through the script, line by line, identifying problems, adding dialogue and suggesting character actions that would help the audience place the characters in the setting and understand the motivations behind their words.
This is part of the GS writing process and, although it is time consuming and can be nerve wracking, especially with show time right around the corner, it works because it is led by the girls. Carolyn and I could have fixed the script in days before the girls first rehearsed it, but we’ve learned that doing so would be counter productive. Last week’s rehearsal of ‘Sandra’ was proof that things work best when the girls do the work.

At the beginning of the workshop, Carolyn handed out new copies of the revised script and the actresses, in character, read it aloud.
“That’s it?” asked Claudia after the actress playing Sandra read her last line, “It just ends like that?”
“The characters are in a group therapy session,” we said, reminding them of the frame that connects the three scenes, “what might she say to the group as this re-enactment of her ‘lost’ experience ends?”
The girls looked back over the last lines and began to talk to each other.
“There are still problems with the Spanish,” said Lisa, whose knowledge of the language is primarily academic. “The word for joke is broma, not bromio.”
(I’ve noticed that the Spanish language skills of our English speakers, including me and Carolyn, have been improving through our work on this bi-lingual scene.)
“And,” added Carmen, who speaks Spanish at home, “I don’t think Sandra would call her parents ‘mis papas’. She would say, “’mis padres’. Papas mean potatoes,” she added.
It can mean parents, too. I say mis papas,” said Giselle, another Spanish speaker.
“C’mon, don’t argue; make a decision,” said Angel. “We only have three more rehearsals.”
“Only three more rehearsals?” This was from newer girls.
“It will be fine,” I said.
“It always is!” Lisa, who is a senior with three years in the troupe spoke with confidence, but I remember the time she was one of those most nervous about our scant rehearsal dates.

After fixing a few more problems, the girls began to rehearse in earnest. Carolyn reminded them of the blocking and the scene began. Angel, the actress playing Sandra, is a freshman who has never acted. As she worked on the scene, playing and replaying her lines at Carolyn’s direction, I watched her develop as an actress, right before my eyes! It was like watching a time-lapse video – one of those where you see a flower sprout, grow, and bloom in just a few minutes. This development is also apparent in the other new girls, and you can see them gain confidence as they begin to feel comfortable in their roles.
The girls worked on the scene, stopping to play something differently when problems developed. Carolyn directed; Renee and I observed and interjected with praise and suggestions. By the final run-through of the scene, near the end of the workshop, it was working.
Two weeks to go. One scene has still to be blocked and rehearsed. But the girls will pull it off and present an emotionally complex and moving performance. They always do.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Time to Act

           
“I’m so excited to be moving around,” Adrienne said as we gathered into a circle and stretched. The troupe was warming up for their first rehearsal. 

They were ready to act.  The girls don’t come right out and tell us when it’s time to put their pens down and finish writing their play on their feet.  They let us know in other ways. Discussions about problems with the script begin to bog down.  Last week for example, the girls spent about 30 minutes trying to rewrite one line.  Then they started giggling, peeked at their cell phones, chattered about school, the prom, and upcoming exams. Almost in unison, they asked to take a break and bolted for the bathroom. Sitting and talking can become counter-productive when it’s time to polish the writing.

After the girls’ break, we set up a stage area in the classroom we use throughout the school year for every phase of the program – writing, rehearsal and performance. Because it once served as the high school’s dance studio, floor-to-ceiling mirrors dominate two sides of the room. There is no stage either. Finding a place to put the stage, therefore, presents a logistical problem.

“Which is the better option,” we asked ourselves. “Place the stage facing a mirror or place the audience facing a mirror?  Who would be more distracted looking in the mirror, our teenage actors or the audience?”

Our final decision has a lot to do with the reason why we got the girls out of their seats in the first place: lack of movement can lead to distracted behavior.  During the performance, the girls will have too much to do both physically and mentally to notice the mirror, even if they are distractible teenagers.  The audience, however, will be stationary and some will be newcomers to GS performances. We decided that they would be too tempted to take a peek at themselves and check out what else is going on in the room if we stuck them in front of a floor-to ceiling mirror. If one of the goals of theater is to fully engage the audience in the lives of the characters in the play, our choice was clear. What we thought originally was merely a problem of logistics turned into an artistic one.  Logistics and art go hand-in-hand when creating theater.

Later, as we started to block the play, the girls, too, discovered that artistic decisions overlap with practical ones in theater. While they knew they had to get from point A to point B on the stage, they found that the route they chose and the way they moved across the stage could alter the meaning or the impact of the moment. The girls began to notice how some of their movement choices enhanced the dramatic effect of the text more than others. Even a seemingly insignificant change can make a huge difference in the way the audience perceives the characters’ lives and personalities.

We started the blocking with the entrance of a character named Chili.  Initially Chili entered the playing area from the side, but something about her entrance didn’t seem right.  We weren’t sure exactly what was wrong, but we decided to play around with other options. When we changed her entry point to an upstage corner, we knew at once why the first choice didn’t work. Entering from the side, she appeared in profile to the audience, and, as a result, her first line lacked punch. When she came in from upstage, far removed from but fully facing the audience, the character blossomed into the quirky, confident, “chill” 16-year old girl named Chili that our writers had envisioned on paper. Far from falling flat, her first line popped out like a bullet, demanding attention and smiles from the audience.  “Ok girl,” she says as she looks over her friend’s immaculate bedroom, “two words…NEAT FREAK.”

The blocking process also reveals flaws in the writing that the girls fail to notice when they’re focused only on pen and paper.  For example, we knew that the ending of one of the scenes they had been working on was insufficient. While we had been trying to explain that to them for several weeks, it wasn’t until the girls acted the scene out that they realized it too.

As soon as Kate, the actress whose job it was to end the scene, uttered her last line from the stage, she turned to us, incredulous.

“What!” she exclaimed.  “That (line) makes no sense at all!”

“This scene goes off, first in one direction, then in another,” added Suzanne, who had been struggling with her role in the play too. “All my character does is yell,” she also observed.


Staging had provided us with the “teaching moment” we had been waiting for.  Moving through the scene on the stage had allowed the girls to realize on their own what we had been trying to tell them during our writing and discussion workshops.  

Rehearsal invigorates our writing process. Exploring when and how to move with the dialogue frees the girls to explore the script in new ways. By activating another part of the brain, it allows them to discover nuances in the writing that would have eluded them had they never gotten out of their seats.  As a result, they gain insight into what distinguishes dramatic writing from other genres.  They learn how to transform their writing into the unique artistic experience we call theater.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Muraleandas - or - How Art Can Save Lives


            There was only one chair left with a decent view of the stage, but it was smack in the middle of the first row.  I hesitated. The center is not a place I like to be in a small theater, but I really wanted to hear and see as much as possible. Tired after a long day of touring, I decided that my mind might drift if I sat on the edges of the evening’s entertainment.  I took the seat.

Fourteen other Americans made up the rest of the audience. All of us were part of a group visiting Cuba on a Road Scholar program that promotes people-to-people connections. The presentation we were about to see was part of an evening packed full of opportunities to learn about a community arts organization known as The Muraleandas.



The Muraleandas sprang to life in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Havana that had deteriorated into not much more than a garbage heap during what the Cubans ruefully refer to as the “Special Period.”

“What was so special about the Special Period?” our Cuban guide asked us. “Not what you would think.  Nothing good, like a 16th birthday or a wedding celebration,” she said, with an ironic smile.  The “Special Period” in Cuba, she explained, started with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s primary trading partner, in 1991 and lasted more than 10 years. The US also maintained a strict embargo on Cuban trade, as it does today.

Cuba is still recovering from the severe shortages of food, oil and other resources that resulted from the Soviets’ abrupt withdrawal of economic support to this island nation. The neighborhood where The Muraleandas live, however, is a bright spot on the landscape and a beacon of hope for a better future. Despondent from lack of meaningful work and troubled by the sight of too many idle hands in their homes during the “Special Period,” a couple of young local artists decided to do something about it.  They put the neighborhood to work cleaning up their garbage filled streets.  Enlisting the help of anyone with time to spare, children and seniors included, the artists salvaged what they could to make art. They gathered hubcaps, wheels, spokes, car engines and anything else that would withstand the test of time to build the sculptures that now stand proudly on their street corners.  They also beautified their deteriorating buildings with colorful murals. They taught their neighbors how to paint and sculpt too, and before long they were leading art workshops for people of all ages.



Today, this little corner of Cuba is a thriving arts community. The neighborhood takes so much pride in their street art that it still looks brand new. No one has defaced it. The Muraleandas have expanded their operation too; they now offer classes in music, dance, and theater in addition to the visual arts. The performance we saw featured a film made by one of the group’s young filmmakers about how The Muraleandas reclaimed their neighborhood, a Cuban band, and several young dancers.  One of the dancers was only six.  Dancing a fabulous chachacha not more than two feet away from me, she captured my heart with her bright eyes, confidence, poise, and talent. 

When the bandleader asked audience members to join the kids on the dance floor, we didn’t immediately respond.  I think we probably were feeling shy about putting ourselves in the spotlight. A few more minutes passed, but still, no one moved.  “It only takes one to get things started,” I said to myself, and for other reasons I did not entirely understand at the time, I suddenly found myself on my feet, moving to the stage, and stumbling through the unfamiliar dance steps with the kids. Later I realized that I had been acting partly in response to the good will and generous spirit of our hosts.  How could I refuse the sweet faces of those children?

It took a little time, but eventually other members of our group joined the dance. As the music built, I felt confident enough about the dancing to take my eyes off of my feet and look around.  Everyone was smiling, dancing, or clapping to the music.  People of every age, from 6 to 84, were hugging and laughing as the dancing drew to a close.  Music had united us and given us permission to forget the differences in language, culture, and life experience that separate us.

We had dinner with our hosts at long tables in a big hall above the performance space afterward. As we passed platters of food and picked up our forks, we talked about our lives, our work, and our families.  Dinner was followed by more music – some Cuban, some American – and, of course, more dancing.

One of the most interesting stories I heard during our visit was how The Muraleandas built the beautiful art complex where they had entertained and fed us. Their home is a recycled concrete water tank that once supplied the steam engines that ran through town on their way to and from Havana. When steam engines became obsolete, so did the tank, and for many years it sat full but useless. The neighborhood kids used it as a swimming hole.  During the “Special Period” the trains stopped running altogether, jobs were lost, and the tank started to crack and crumble.  Not only was it a serious physical threat to the community; it also cast a dark, ugly symbolic shadow over the houses below - a constant reminder to the people within of their fragility and suffering.
 
While the tank stood empty, The Muraleandas were hard at work below, transforming their neighborhood and trying to figure out where to hold their increasingly popular workshops.  The makeshift tables they had set up outside when the project first got started were useless during the rainy period. The teaching artists needed a more permanent solution to house their expanding operation. Long deprived of the material goods that we enjoy on a regular basis, they had learned to scavenge for scraps, and the tank looked like a scrap with possibilities.  They decided to appeal to the government to give them equipment and tools in exchange for cleaning up the hazardous tank. The government agreed to the deal. The Muraleandas dug out and rebuilt the entire multileveled space they now call home by hand. Deprivation had taught them the value of creativity, flexibility, hard work, collaboration, thrift, and optimism.

The Muraleandas are proud of these past accomplishments, but they are not at all complacent now that the Cuban economy is beginning to revive.  They realize that the scars left by near starvation run too deep and were inflicted too recently to have healed completely, and they want their story to serve as a reminder that history repeats itself. They tell their story to all who visit; they continue to engage hundreds of people from all age groups in their workshops; and they sell their art and that of their students to tourists from around the globe. Art is what helped them survive their past, what is sustaining them still, and what gives them hope for the future.
            
           My visit with The Muraleandas couldn’t have occurred at a better time.  The future of Girls Surviving is fragile. Once again, Paula and I are trying to figure out if we can keep the program running.  Funding for the arts is always hard to come by.  Now, with the future of the National Endowment for the Arts threatened, everyone involved in arts education is doubly worried.  So many worthwhile programs will be scrambling for scraps to stay afloat if the N.E.A. disappears. Many will not survive the cuts.  As we assess the future of our program during this difficult time, I’ll keep in mind the remarkable story of The Muraleandas and the lessons it teaches about surviving.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Recognizing Each Other

Sandra is a fourteen year old girl from Honduras. She has come to the U.S. on her own, sent by her parents who want to protect her from the violence that is rampant in their city. She is living  in NJ with her mother’s sister, a woman she had never met before coming to America. Everything in her new home is strange: the house, the streets, the school, the language. Sandra is lost.
Sandra is not one of the Girls Surviving troupe members. In fact, she is not an actual person. She is the main character in the third vignette of the girls’ 2017 play which is about different ways of being lost. Although Sandra is a fictional character, she represents many children who immigrate to the United States on their own, and some of her experiences have been shared by several girls in the troupe.

Last Wednesday evening, the girls read aloud the second scene of the new play, the scene they finished pasting together the week before. After the reading, they began to discuss a third scene. Since GS plays are usually composed of three scenarios based on a central theme, this will probably be the last big thing they write before casting and rehearsal.
The first scene they wrote this year is about emotional loss. Its central character is a girl who, coming upon a trove of letters from the mother whom she thought had forgotten her, begins to distrust her father and stepmother who had kept the letters hidden. In the second scene, three siblings become physically lost in NYC.
“So, we’ve written about being lost in emotion and being actually lost in a place,” said Cora. “What other kind of lost can we write about?”
There were several suggestions:
“Lost in a dream?”
“Lost in a relationship?”
“How about someone lost in a country where she doesn’t understand the customs or the language?” suggested Bianca.
“Like lost in Europe or Asia?” asked Gabi. “That might be hard to write about because we don’t know much about those places.”
This comment generated some talk about the places some of the girls do know. For example, the Central American countries where several of our girls visit family in the summer, or where they lived before coming to the U.S. During this discussion, Karen, our counselor, said,
“Actually, there are students here at the high school who are experiencing this country as a new and, sometimes, upsetting environment. Some of them have even come here on their own, without parents, to live with relatives or friends.”
As Karen said this, I looked around the circle. Five the seven girls who were at the workshop that night were either the daughters of immigrants or immigrants, themselves. One girl, Eva, has been in this country just over a year.
“We could write about a girl like that,” I said, “a girl who feels lost right here.”
“Yes!” said Eva, “and she would have a hard time communicating in simple things, like going to buy something at a store. That has happened to me when I couldn’t think of the English word for something. You feel embarrassed.”
The girls began talking all at once. A couple others had had similar experiences, and they were excited by the idea of writing about them.
“I can see how this scene opens,” said Gabi. “It begins with a monologue in Spanish. The character is talking about how lost she feels, but since she will be talking in a language that many in the audience don’t understand, they will feel lost, too.”

The girls started to create a backstory for their new character, the description that opened this piece. Then they each began to write a version of an opening monologue in which Sandra, who has been sent by her aunt to buy groceries, expresses her sadness and frustration. The girls who could wrote in Spanish. Gabi, who was born in the U.S. but spends summers with her family in Colombia, asked Eva for words she didn’t know. The two girls had a lively back-and-forth in Spanish, the first really fun talk I’ve witnessed between those particular girls.
When the girls shared their Spanish monologues, Vanessa, one of our English-only freshmen, shook her head in amazement.
“I… I’m just wondering,” she asked Eva, “is that what it sounds like to you when we’re talking fast in English?”
All of the Spanish speaking girls laughed and told Vanessa about a YouTube video that shows how English sounds to non-English speakers.
The workshop ended on a high note. Eva, whose mastery of English is impressive for someone who has been speaking it for such a short time, but who is sometimes reticent in workshops, led conversations in both languages, and Vanessa and Cora, the two non-Spanish speakers in the workshop, had epiphanies about what it must be like to be a stranger in a strange land. I think the workshop brought all of those girls a little closer together. And we got a start on the final scene for the play.
 
GS troupe members at the unveiling of Totems celebrating
the diversity of the Morristown community,
photo by Christy Ward