These are exciting days at Canarsie. It’s December now, and the program is gearing up, transitioning from pure education to production. We’re beginning to think about this year’s game concretely, beginning to apply the lessons we’ve learned. On Monday we held a four-hour workshop on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights that was dramatically different from our past sessions.
Traditionally, our workshops have followed a model of introducing a topic, discussing it, playing an online game about the issue, and then discussing the game and the issue together. Monday, however, we took a break from the computers and gave the students the opportunity to really stretch their creativity. After discussing human rights, the class broke up into small groups and developed skits that demonstrated human rights violations. There are many parallels between theatre and games (as Agusto Boal and Gonzolo Frasca would surely agree) and, while the kids didn’t immediately see the connection, they dove into the task. We actually had to restrain their enthusiasm a bit, as some of the performances involved leaping around and screaming in imitation of police brutality and war.