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.”
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
The writing we hear doesn't focus only on Steph and her restrictive, insensitive parents. It explores new territory too – other types of parent/child relationships. In their monologues and prose pieces the new girls describe lovingly protective parents who shield their children from harm. They speak of single parents struggling to raise their children on their own. And, they show us parents who absent themselves from their children entirely. What they express through their prose is invaluable to our process. They provide us with fresh perspectives - insights into alternative family situations. Most important, they decide to share thoughts and feelings about issues they care about with people they don’t know very well at all. They take a risk.
What a terrific group, I think as I pack up leftover snacks, put the classroom back in order and turn out the lights. The veterans are taking the lead. They're modeling the acting and playwriting process, coaxing the newcomers to voice their thoughts and opinions and inviting them to join the chorus. I watch newcomers and veterans mingling as we walk out the door into the cold November night. Smiles, laughter, energy, enthusiasm warm the air.