In the third week of My City My Voice, we focused on True Story Theater. In True Story Theater we shared stories that have affected us in the city of Cambridge. But the gist to it is that we had to make that story come to life by acting it out and performing it in front of people. We had to learn how to do music documentations using PBT (play back theater) techniques to try to tell a story. We had to use stage and lighting props, and learn how to take in our environment and not be afraid to be ourselves while we perform. We also are trying to interview people who have true stories that they would feel comfortable with sharing and letting others hear. People who used to be shy are now learning how to get out of their bubble a little bit and express themselves more.
On Saturday, for our final performance called Our City Our Story, everyone did amazing and we followed all the techniques that we learned. Everyone sounded natural and the acting felt real. That way, the story was able to come to life.
Sir Jester, Slick, and I (StarFox) made a song in Garageband that we are sharing with you. I thought it symbolizes duality, like our MCMV 2k14 theme. The beginning of the song is a stormy, sad beat that then progresses into a calm, happy beat that raises your spirits. As we made the track, I thought that the happy part of the song sounds like adventure music that you will hear when playing a game like Zelda or Final Fantasy. I found my time working at MCMV as an adventure because of the many obstacles and challenges I’ve faced there.
Every Monday we would do silent art: we would describe the songs we were listening to using symbols, lines, or whatever we wanted. I used sound waves and rhythm when the song was playing. After we were done with all of our paintings we hung them up on the wall. The counselors split us up into three groups. The group I was in was coming up with action and emotion/expressive words on poster paper. We divided the action paper into two categories, bad words and good words, to enhance our vocabulary. It was a really neat activity because people had different perspectives about the paintings they saw.
We’ve also done other really cool things like silent mask making. Our objective was to put things on the mask that shows us our personality around our friends, and cover the other side about our inner self, or how we act around our family. You could use pictures that relate to your traits. We were able to use magazines, or write words. Then we shared our masks and told three things about ourselves that describe “the inner you.”
I put a couch because I’m really lazy. I found a picture of a concert, and Iput it on my mask because I love music. I was hesitating to put that I love anime, because I thought people would think that I’m weird because I love anime, or that other people would think that anime is lame. But in the end I ended up sharing that to the class because I wasn’t the only one— someone else shared that too.
For our final performance, we made masks that show places that are special to us. Some people did places they always wanted to go, or just if you really love a certain place. We searched the place on Google maps, projected it onto the masks, and traced the area with a black marker on our masks.
I decided to do the area around BMC (Boston Medical Center) where I used to live. I did this because I remembered the times thatI missed the bus, Iad I would run to the next bus stop where Ariana was. We were really close friends. She was like a little sister to me. It may not sound like an important memory, but those are the things I hold dear to me.
In My City My Voice we all have a nickname that is our artist name for the summer. To get this name we first choose a colleague to stand in front of the group. He or she is not allowed to talk during the process. Then we start with choosing words that describe our colleague from different categories like Action, Animal, Weather or Buildings. After that step the colleague gets to add on words then he or she chooses his or her name for the summer. The process for me is tough because the words have to connect in some way with the person. Some of the words don’t fit or are just random. What’s also hard about the process is not all words make it to the final because the person getting their name can choose three words that they like and we debate on which one fits them the best. This then leads to them choosing their name. The whole process itself can be long or short depending on the person who is getting their name chosen because the list can be very long or pretty short.
My colleague DC got the name Dragon. He chose that name because a dragon is a creature that stands out from the others. I think the name fits him because he seems like he’d be a dragon. I think the process was very interesting and fun because it seemed really cool for everyone to get a nickname. I got the name Dark Shadow. It definitely fits me because of my personality and how I dress.
True Story Theater is a live and entertaining group event that led all of us (My City My Voice) into a bigger sharing on how we were inspired by our factual stories in life. Whether it was in the past or present. Some had to explain it to everyone else and to those who volunteered to act it out in a visual performance. The stories that they told to everyone didn’t just revoke their point of view in the story. It captured the whole situation including the surroundings, people, and information that helped to shape it out better. I was one of those few people who described a story. Want to know my experience? How’d the visual performance profound your story? Out of all of them, why was this one of the events important for you to speak about? My experience was beyond what I expected. I didn’t expected to be chosen as the first to tell a real story that happened in my life. I thought “I should just tell one quick story to get it over with”. A true narrative that included one major theme: Happiness. Although there was not much time for me to clearly think about one to present to everyone, I still managed to stretch back and choose. Even if it was a story we wrote about in our past activities as well. It still would count as a story with a moment of happiness. Counting down the seconds to when it was my turn to tell it. A story about the birth of my third niece.
As I was telling my “happiness” memory, one of the instructors from True Story Theater asked multiple questions in between each moment I was talking about. The surroundings, the characters, everything. It seemed that each piece of my story mattered. Since I knew everything about it, I felt comfortable with the various questions being thrown at my face asking about that day. Reaching to your comfortable/speech zones in yourself certainly matters in My City My Voice. We were very thankful for what True Story Theater provided us to do in the fun activity. Welcoming them into our sustained domain and allowing them to present themselves has invented a memory in our program to remember them. Speaking out my story and letting others act it out in a visual way was surely a creative movement to perform. Opening all of our creative minds and innovating them into this activity was a big experience to do. Especially using mood was also an important theme. Everyone was included.
What word describes you? Haven’t you ever wanted to change your name? Well that’s exactly what we do at My City My Voice. My new name is Eclipse. During the process of getting my name there are many things that you could see, feel, taste, hear, and smell. First when you get called up you’re very relaxed but as soon as they start saying names you start to begin feeling nervous. All you can see while standing is a bunch of eyes just staring at you which feels very awkward. All you can hear is a bunch of seemingly random words that people think describes you. Some words are very interesting and you feel happy about the favorable words that people suggest for you, but also there are some words that you might not like. You should just get over that and move on. While standing there on stage you are not allowed to do anything or say anything besides breathe.
The Word in Me is a very interesting and fun process for almost every kid that goes up to get the opportunity. It is interesting and fun because it describes and shows who you are as a person and how the world sees you as person. When I chose my favorite three, I didn’t really like any of them because I thought that none of the words actually describes me perfectly, so I just chose Elipse because I really didn’t care and just chose it randomly.
I really thought about it and the next day while other people were getting their names, I went back up on the stage and asked the community if I could change. I wanted to switch from Elipse to Eclipse because I felt like Eclipse better describes me. I made this choice because a lot of my art has the moon and I really felt like that’s the name I wanted. During the second time around, I was very nervous but I had to take a step for who I was. There were a lot of arguments on whether I should be allowed to change my name because I was the first person to change my name even before everyone got their name. By changing my name I started to care about what I wanted to be called and chose it by thinking about it a lot. Eclipse.
If you could have a name, what would you name yourself?
We have undergone several processes of conveying ideas, trying to express stories, details, and even background information. One of these exercises is called tableau. A recent tableau was the story of Raven and her 9-month pregnant mother.This was her story: It was bright during English class, the sun blazing through the wooden windows when the phone in classroom rang. Heads shot up throughout the room in a wave of alert and readiness. After a brief moment the teacher blurts out the name of one of the students, waking her from her sleep. The teacher explained to the girl that her mother had just begun labor, and that a teacher was to drive her immediately to the hospital. The designated driver was uncomfortable herself, but a halo of excitement fumed through her pores and she began describing the status of the mom’s labor- making the student contract her muscles, becoming tense, knowing her mother had to have a Caesarean Section.
This was the vast majority of the story and we tried to represent it with as much emotion and legitimacy as possible. The challenge was to create five still images that tell the story in chronological order. The process in which we deconstructed the story and reconstructed it into five still images was simple, but we were met with a few obstacles on the way. First we assigned roles, who would play who in each tableau, and I was proudly assigned to be the pregnant mother. Once we assigned the roles we lead ourselves to establish five significant points in the story that could be represented in the tableaus. Prior to the actual taking of the photographs we had to prep our costumes, such as my making my pregnant belly, the doctor his operation gear, and the baby a pair of yellow eyes. We proceeded to photographing a best-fit improvisation for each of the five key events where we finally were able to take the five shots. Luckily we took the pictures in time, and to be frank, these stories were represented pretty damn nicely.
My peers and I have two rituals we do either twice a week or once a day. One of my peers, Dark Shadow, has to leave at 5 PM every day because she has to go to taekwondo. So we decided that before she leaves we bow and say goodbye by her My City My Voice name. We do this because everyone in our group is important and takes a part in our community, and every day she leaves, we bow to show our respect we have towards her and her work.
This is Dark Shadow’s bow every day before she goes to taekwondo.
Our second ritual is the Cypher. We do this twice a week once on Monday and the second on Thursday. Monday because usually that’s the day everyone is most tired and down so the cypher motivates us to do something creative. We also do it Thursday because it’s the day the week ends and it makes it a nice way to finish the day. The reason we decided to do this is because it gives us something to look up to that isn’t work related. When we do this we feel a connection because we do something together that we all enjoy and is effective in our group.
This week marks the half way point of our new creative writing project, Story/Space. Story/Space is an interactive online blog where teens can reflect upon various places in their lives and share their stories with other teens in the Greater Boston Area. This 10-week project is part of a research study at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. So far, teens have written about a significant place in their lives and developed creative stories that are both true and false, and have received comments on their writing from other teens. Everyone seems to be enjoying the interactive aspect of this project, as it is a reflection of the social media scene we are all a part of.
On Monday, we had a more complex assignment to physically go beyond the youth center and explore our neighborhood while taking photographs. To decide on where to go, each teen researched facts about a specific area in Cambridge and prepared a persuasive talk to convince their peers to go to their place of choice. The final vote went to Kendall Square, for its novelty of shiny new buildings and funky architecture. In addition, it is a part of Cambridge that these folks rarely ever go to. The goal was to photograph things that appealed to the five human senses, i.e. taste, touch, smell, hear, see. Afterwards, teens referenced their photos to create a writing piece that would transform the reader to Kendall Square and to fully experience it as if they were there. Of course, what is a field trip without stopping for a treat? Part of the selling point for visiting Kendall Square was its proximity to the famous Toscanini’s ice cream shop—and that is precisely where we ended our day, with the rich flavors of mint chocolate and cookie dough ice cream.