Hey, my name is Dyaisha and I am from CYAP at School Number 3. For the past three weeks we have been working on a project called Seedfolks. During these weeks we have been working on the blog, reading chapters, doing improv, and talking about the play. For the next few weeks, we plan to keep up our blog, work on our garden, and finish the book. Now just remember, there are others incorporated in this so this isn’t the last you will see of us. Have a blessed year, see you later.
Well, SWAN’s Seedfolks crew got started today in a very familiar way: We found out that the space we planned to use was no longer available to us. This was a reoccurring situation last year; we’ve gotten pretty good at changing our plans at the last minute. But we did finally get down to business in the computer lab.
We started our second week off with an activity. to try to get the crew’s energy levels up. The group split into pairs, and each each partner was assigned a character. The pairs then had to create a storyline between the two characters and perform it for the rest of the group. The catch? No words could be used. This went pretty well; it gave us great insight into some of our new Seedfolk participants’ acting abilities; and it was also great to see how quickly the pairs really got into it and the different directions they took their characters in. As Tom likes to say, “The creative process teaches itself.”
We then got back into the book- we read Wendell’s chapter today. We lost a bit of our focus towards the end and didn’t quite get as deep into this chapter as we’d hoped; however, we did make the connection between our activity and the silent scene in the book between Wendell and Kim. Semaj noted that it was a fun challenge to create a scene without using any words. Semaj also had some interesting ideas about, were we to make a sequel to the original book/play, the evolution of the characters- Wendell would be pretty old, but maybe still caring for lima beans. Maybe Kim would have a daughter of her own that she would bring to the garden.
Hopefully we’ll have Kasim or Semaj weigh in here on the blog tomorrow with some of their thoughts. More soon!
Greetings from C.Y.A.P. at School No. 3. We’re very excited to get rolling with this project. We started today by brainstorming some ideas for what we can do this year. Here are some of the things we came up with:
-Build a garden and sell the crops we grow.
-Put up signs advertising the garden, and place them around town in high-visibility places (i.e. The Mall, School, Public Market).
-Make a movie of the play for this year, and see if we get it aired at The Little Theater, on WXXI, or Channel 15.
-Get the word out through WDKX and 98 PXY.
We read the introduction and first chapter of Seedfolks, and discussed some of the story’s topics. We talked about how spirits can sometimes be a good thing. We reflected about Kim’s father’s spirit, and how we have had expeirences with spirits. Shahira mentioned how she never got to visit her grandmother’s grave, and how she wanted to. We also shared about how we all have felt the spirits of departed relatives before.
We also talked about Kim’s vacant lot. We thought about the lots in our neighborhoods, and came to the conclusion that the abandoned buildings should be taken down, and replaced with a youth friendly resource. Kids need a safe, structured environment where they can do something positive in the community.
The SWAN after-school crew kicked off Seedfolks: round 2 yesterday. We were very excited to have nine youth participating- 6 returning Seedfolks stars and 3 brand-new recruits. here’s a brief summary from Nija (who starred last year as Sae Young):
“Today we read 2 chapters in the book Seedfolks. We read about Anna and Kim. In Chapter 1 was Kim and in 2 was Anna. In the play Anna wasn’t as weird as she was in the book. In the story, Kim had a sad life- she didn’t know her father and he didn’t know her.”
We started the session off by talking generally about the play last year and our plans for this year. Basically, we want to do it again- but bigger, better, and different! Some great ideas were tossed around by all the participants:
- write a sequel to Seedfolks, where the characters are all older and maybe some have kids of their own now….
- Semaj suggested that maybe the mayor tries to turn the garden into a parking lot, and the crew bands together to keep that from happening.
- a character could start a market stand to sell the produce they grow (much like our own Grow Green stand at the farmers market…..)
- making Kim’s part of the story more exciting / give it more action. The consensus among much of the group was that her scene was too boring
- Timani thought perhaps the characters could each act out their own life story first – like little vignettes – then go into acting out the story all together
We then had a little bit of time to journal about what we did- we’re hoping to have more time for that next week. Overall, the energy was good and it made us all excited to see what will happen as we move forward with the project. We’ll post pictures soon! In the meantime, here are a few from last year’s archives.
Janai reading during last year’s very very first Seedfolks session in February.
Here (from left to right), Chazmere, Makenna, Shanika, Ahmere, and Timani rehearse Leona’s famous office scene from last years’s performance.
And here is our little Seedfolk lot: the Grow Green greenhouse and garden, where all the action happens!
The SWAN After-School program, in conjunction with the Grow Green Program, were so thrilled to produce and present the play Seedfolks, based on the book by Paul Fleischman, last year. Starting in February of 2012, we spent about 2 months reading the book and writing the script, and by the beginning of April we’d held auditions, cast our characters, and were holding practices in our auditorium. The play was performed at the end of May and received rave reviews (if we do say so ourselves.)
We were so thrilled with the feedback we got, both about the play and the project overall, that we went ahead and wrote a grant to do it all again- but bigger and better. And here we are today: embarking on a 30-week project that will have us going deeper into the story, writing our own chapters and characters, producing the play, and even doing gardening ourselves at the end of all of it. This time SWAN is doing it concurrently with the Center for Youth After-School Program at School #3- we’ll be following the curriculum together, charting our progress right here on this blog, and coming together in the end to do the play and create a new garden with both our groups.
So! We’ll be checking in here weekly. Each group, SWAN and School 3, will post an entry detailing their progress for the week- what chapter they read, what everyone thought, ideas it sparked, etc etc. It should be an exciting year- we are really looking forward to seeing what unfolds! Check back for updates!