Touch the Wound, But Don't Live There
by Sarah Mantell, American Theatre Magazine
Submitted by Nathaniel Haywood
ITA Secondary School Theatre Division Representative
The "emotional Olympics." When you review the most produced plays in high school, there is a fair share of comedies and lighthearted musicals...but there is also a fair share of emotionally taxing, intense work as well. 12 Angry Jurors. She Kills Monsters. Radium Girls. Even Romeo & Juliet. We are accustomed to working with out students to create serious, emotionally taxing theatre - and we should be. Those kinds of scripts and production experiences can be edifying and rewarding, not only helping students to see and connect with people outside of themselves but also learning more about themselves as well. These emotional Olympics are beneficial to our students, but in her article Sarah Mandell posits that we often overlook a crucial piece of the process.
In today's theatre, intimacy choreography and direction is seen as having equal importance and necessity as fight choreography and direction because actors and students deserve to feel safe and protected. These steps and measures are a great leap forward in all areas of theatre and in particular can be helpful in the secondary arena. As the following article expounds, it is high time that providing students with the support to feel mentally and emotionally safe and protected when engaging in these "emotional Olympics" become standard as well.