When “Community” Means the World

autism acting world

It’s a small world and  the work going on in autism communities and the work going on in  theatre communities around the globe is connected – even if unknown to one another.

This connection exists because these two communities, autism and theatre, each work to improve the understanding of people to their world, and the world to individual people.

Now,  put these two communities together to use theatre to enable people with autism to engage with their world AND to present their view of the world, to the world. This is what people are doing around the world.

Autism Plus Community THeatre equals

It is a small world and all around the world people are quietly meeting in basements, in classrooms, in small black box theaters, and community centers and rehearsal studios and holding theatre programs for people on the spectrum. Because theatre builds community and because community theatre brings about positive change.

I look forward to sharing examples of small theatre programs from around the country and from around the world where theatre is being used to empower people on the spectrum.

We are not alone!

Using Knock-Knock Jokes as Short Plays

Short plays are “… a place for encounters not journeys, epiphanies not ideologies.”   – Steve Waters on Beckett & Mamet’s short plays

Encounters.  Epiphanies.  This is at the heart of Autism Communty Theater’s  games, improvisations and short scenes.  Encountering the other;  that “aha!” moment of connection, epiphany  – there’s someone else here! (and the encounter is transformative – even if fleeting.)

Luckily we don’t need to introduce Beckett or Mamet to our actors for these connections. “Short plays” can be introduced using “Knock, Knock” jokes. Yes!

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Creating a Scene with Nonverbal Beats FOR ACTORS ON THE SPECTRUM

Autism Community Theatre using nonverbal beats
Rehearsal for Bremen Town Musicians

Theatre provides so many opportunities to promote nonverbal communication between actors.  One effective way is to use what I’ll call “nonverbal beats.” Scenes are made up of beats (changes in character or action) which can be staged with nonverbal moments of joint attention, reaction or a physical gesture.  Nonverbal beats in theater actually heighten the action or dialogue that precede them; the silence gives more weight and resonance to what has just occurred.

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How to Begin Playmaking with Teens on the autism spectrum

OR

How I Learned to Love the Bremen Town Musicians

 

bremen townshadowFor this first post I felt as if I should write some sort of huge three- or five-year plan for ACT Workshop, but “THE PLAY’s THE THING!”  and I want this blog to be about  playmaking and theater games with this special and diverse group of actors with autism spectrum disorder.

Today I want to talk about how we  are starting our scene work for The Breman Town Musicians.

Do you remember that tale? A donkey, dog, cat and rooster all set off on the road to Bremen town to play music. They meet some robbers, scare them away and . . . never make it to Bremen Town to play music.

Continue reading “How to Begin Playmaking with Teens on the autism spectrum”