Last week I had the amazing opportunity to teach a spoken word workshop to 6 very creative young people in my community, Lakeshore (South Etobicoke). The workshop was based on Shakespeare’s comedic play, As You Like It, which was one of the plays being presented by Canstage this year in High Park. (for more info click here)
I focused this workshop on the use of writing and performing monologues as a way to express oneself and centered the main writing activities around one particular monologue which is delivered by the rather melancholy character Jaques in Act II Scene VII of the play. It begins with the famous line “All the world’s a stage…
I chose this monologue in particular (to use as a line starter for the writing exercises) because I, as I’m sure many people around me, tend to take life way too seriously sometimes. We forget that life is an adventure waiting to be uncovered, we have the power to create the life we want to live and unlike a Shakespearean play our lives are not rigidly scripted and predictable. There are many players and characters who come into our lives for different purposes -some of whom will make an appearance for one scene only, some who will be there from the beginning to the final curtain and some who will definitely need to exit stage left immediately upon arrival.
This workshop was about utilizing monologues performed as spoken word to have the participants reflect on their own lives, rewrite their own plays and make a bold declaration about it as they re work their own interpretations of the All the world’s a stage monologue.
True to my form the workshop ended with a mini spoken word SLAM in which I was thoroughly impressed and blown away by the quality of content and the way in which these 6 young people (who had a total of 20 minutes to rehearse) performed their pieces. In the end we had 2 winners, Alexx (stage name X2) and Diana (stage name Electra) who not only wrote fantastic pieces but also performed them with such passion and courage. I was truly inspired.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to finally work with young people from my own community (as I am a well known nomad who tends to travel to far off hoods across this city). For me it felt as though I had been travelling abroad for years and I was finally able to root myself at home again.
I want to take this opportunity to shout out Lakeshore Arts and their Articulate program for giving me the space to practice art in my own community and for creating spaces for art to be discovered, created, loved, exhibited, admired and act as inspiration for building our community. Lakeshore Arts is an amazing organization and if you are interested I encourage you to check them out here.
Congrats again to Alexx and Diana on the win.