Playback Theatre in Stroud in 2018

If you would be interested in getting involved with a new Playback Theatre group in Stroud, there’ll be an opportunity in early 2018.

This will be together with my colleague Jo Tait (formerly of Playback Edinburgh) and we will lead the group. We have been discussing this for awhile and the time seems right.

I was a founder member of Stroud Playback back in 2007 when I first came to Stroud and eventually left to go freelance.  I graduated from the school of Playback Theatre in 2008 and since then have trained Playback groups and offered workshops around the world at various Gatherings.

You can read more about Playback Theatre elsewhere on this website and at www.iptn.info

If you would like to know more, then drop me an email or call (see the contact page) and I’ll happily answer any questions that you might have.  It doesn’t matter, if you haven’t had any experience, as full training will be provided.  So bring your curiosity and your stories and come and give it a go!

Looking forward to hearing from you…

 

 

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Fool / Impro Workshop with Michael Loader in Stroud

*LEAP Before You Look!*

A One Day Workshop in Stroud on May 20th £40 (£35 early bird if you book before the end of March)

For Booking details contact: briantasker@hotmail.com

Give yourself permission to play in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere

An opportunity to develop

SELF-AWARENESS, SPONTANEITY and IMAGINATION

With 

Michael Loader 

Formerly of Festival of Fools 1993 – 2006

Touch & Go 2006 – 2013

Director of Somerset Storyfest from 2012-present

Play with the qualities of Breath, Movement and Voice through exercises and games to establish specific theatre skills through Improvisation, using feedback and reflection to ground this experience

*Step into your creativity, take more risks, make more mistakes!

Play with your habits, rather than them playing with you*

*Say YES quickly!*

*Move beyond assumption into the present moment of now-ing!*

Michael Loader

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Happy New Year 2017

rooster party

 

Happy New Year 2017   The Year of the Rooster begins January 28th

The Year of the Rooster indicates it’s time to wake up and get going while being aware of the risks that the rooster characterises. The rooster’s purpose is to protect and serve and that’s often perceived as a need to dominate the immediate environment. Roosters protect hens from predators, act as peacekeepers in flock disputes and find food for the hens. Roosters are loyal and committed yet they lack the flexibility to avoid conflict, often being willing to fight to the death to keep their status. In these fragile times, a conflict–free human world remains elusive, so may your Year of the Rooster be flexible and free of conflict because it all adds up!

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India Visit May 2016

I visited India in May this year, the hottest month as I couldn’t go earlier or later and experienced temperatures up to 45 degrees which combined with being ill made the trip overly difficult. It was my twelfth visit to India since 1971 when I was 21 and now at the age of 67, I had to concede that extended travel on boneshaker buses was possibly something I was too old for.  Nothing bad happened, the people were great but it looks like it might be my last visit. There was an element of nostalgia to my visit and India has changed so much during the intervening 45  years and even since my last visit in 2011.

I started out in Delhi where I ran a pre-arranged Playback Theatre workshop for the Yuva Ekta Foundation, an NGO that works with disadvantaged youth in the Delhi area.  They were a lovely group to work with and were very pleased to have an opportunity to be introduced to Playback Theatre. I did two days at the outset and a third day at the end of my three week visit as a follow-up. In the interim period, the group offered a Playback Theatre performance to the staff at the offices where they were based as a trial run, which was much appreciated and they told me that the performance offered an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other in a new way through their stories: the Playback way!

yuva-ekta

You can see some more photos here:

http://yuvaektafoundation.org/playback-theatre-workshop-with-brian-tasker/

and read a reflection on the Delhi workshop here:

Stepping Stones by Rijul Kataria of the Yuva ekta Foundation

Our method has always been our standout feature. No matter what we work on, we as a Foundation have always prided on our ability to use tools of Expressive Arts to bring a diverse set of individuals on one common platform. Theatre has not only been for us a medium to engage with people and communities, but also a tool for self exploration. Over the years, we have been able to expand its scope and practise, so as to be able to use Theatre in diverse socio-economic settings. Be it schools, Juvenile Observation Homes, Communities or Theatre Festivals, we have been able to carve out for ourselves a space, where Theatre and Expressive Arts are healing and therapeutic tools.

We have never worked with the intention of creating a theatre piece at the end of our workshops. The aim is always to open up a space for deliberation, dialogue and interaction. We hope that this platform is a space where individuals can open themselves up to the experiences of others and create an environment of mutual trust.

Playback Theatre has been a great boost and learning experience to fulfil our endeavours. As facilitators, we feel more confident and equipped to go into different settings and help people bring out their stories. We feel that it would help us immensely to connect with people at an affective level.  Everything we have aspired for as a Foundation is closely related to how Playback Theatre functions. This is exactly why this particular experience has been so important for us. The learning has been immense.

Our introduction to Playback Theatre was overseen by Brian Tasker. On his visit to India, he brought with himself an irresistible recipe. It contained a hint of expertise, with a desire to engage and a will to impart knowledge. Seen by all as the perfect combination, it lasted for a special span of 3 days where Mr. Tasker was able to give us a part of his life, experiences and memories, in order to grow the Playback Network.

While working with Playback Theatre we discovered a new found coherence as a group. Since we were the actors, learners and the audience ourselves, we had to adjust to a growing personal space. Not only did we share our stories with each other, we also saw elements of our lives being portrayed by other facilitators. It was a part of our journey in Playback. Actors who were a part of the workshop felt that it gave them a chance to present emotions more clearly. It helped them nuance their own understanding of expressions. At a personal level, Playback is an intense exercise. All of us discovered something about ourselves. It also kept us on our toes constantly. To be able to improvise at the drop of a hat was dreading and endearing at the same time. But what it did to for sure, is add a lot to our repertoire of skills.

We also learnt new techniques of telling a story. One of the most critical aspects while working with communities and street theatre is the ability to tell people’s story to them. Playback is just the medium we needed to enhance our own capabilities as facilitators in order to do that. By the end of the 1st day that lasted close to 7 hours, the exercise seemed effortless. We couldn’t wait to practise Playback ourselves.

Although we couldn’t cover all Playback Techniques, whatever we did was a novel experience. Be it the tableaus, the stills, the 3 part story or the chorus, each of these forms taught us how to become careful observers. To be able to portray a single image or one emotion, or quite simply, one human being is more complex than it looks. The idea of working closer together even physically, gave us new dimensions of time and space as actors. While using basic props was allowed, one of the challenges during the initial phases of the workshop was to be able to blend the brand of theatre we practise, with the new form we were learning.

There was also a considerable stress laid to tuning in with beats and music. As an essential component of Playback, music was of utmost importance in being able to create a flow and process which everyone in the workshop could tune into.

The 2nd day was spent in developing the techniques we learnt and perfecting whatever we could. The most memorable part of this day was the sharing activity. We were told to write a kind of a short advertisement about ourselves which contains our strengths and weaknesses. We were then asked to present them in a prototype Playback introduction where one actor comes up and makes a statement about him/herself and the other actors have to portray that.

We also delved into the art of conducting Playback. Ms. Puneeta Roy (Managing Trustee, Yuva Ekta Foundation) took on for some parts, Brian’s role as he taught us how to conduct a session. All this was a part of a comprehensive training module which went a long way in bettering our workshop structures.

On the 3rd and final day of the workshop which was scheduled as a feedback session after a fortnight, we shared our own experiences of having conducted two Playback sessions in that time frame.

Community Theatre and Playback

Our first Playback performance as an organisation was in Jahangir Puri. An urban village in Delhi, Jahangir Puri has been our site for a Community Theatre Project. We have been working on creating a community network and addressing community concerns since the last year. As a part of our ongoing theatre workshops, we implemented a Playback Session to re-introduce ourselves as facilitators and actors, in order to hear the stories of our participants. The response was magical. Not only did we manage to share our intent with them, we also got requests from our workshops participants to get up and perform. Stories that emerged ranged from the feeling of loss to being let down by friends, to everyday troubles at home to being cheated by touts. Stories were personal and intimate.

The Playback session was categorically placed right in the middle of the Community Theatre workshops. These were conducted with 2 batches, i.e. with girls and boys separately. This session was tried with the boys’ batch due to time and space constraints.

Workshops at Jahangir Puri can be exhausting because of their length and the terrible weather in Delhi. That was possibly the first time, we as facilitators didn’t feel even an iota of exhaustion. At the end of that workshops, both us and our participants left feeling energised and confident about the activity they were engaged in. They came back the next day and reoriented their prepared work, which turned out to be better than ever.

Rijul Kataria

———————————————————————————————————-

It was a pleasure to read Rijul’s account and hear how powerful Playback Theatre can be.

Following the initial workshop, I made an overnight bus ride to Nanital in the Himalyan foothills (6087 ft.) as I wanted to find the hut where I lived in 1971 at a village called Jeolikote below Nanital  at an altitude of about 4000 feet.  Nanital is a Hill Station built around a lake from the time of the British Raj that served as an escape from the heat of the plains for the Colonial rulers. It’s now a holiday destination for Indians and serves the same purpose.  It would be remiss not to mention the help of Rahul (very front of photo on the right) who drove me to the pick up point for my bus that evening which had moved to an obscure location.

My story, or at least part of it was that I ended up in Jeolikote back in 1971 having walked there barefoot (my money had run out and I was living on the street) and met an Indian school teacher called Ravi Chand who was about my age and visiting his mother who lived in the village and who was the local midwife.  They very kindly let me stay for a few days and introduced me to an English writer and his wife who were living in a bungalow further along the valley.  The writer was called Neil Smith (do get in touch if you ever read this) and they invited me to return and stay with them in September after the rains.  It was July when I met them and I wanted to return to my search for my supposed Guru Hans Ji Maharaj (then 13 years -old) who was proving to be very elusive on his travels around the area, but that’s another story. I did return in September as arranged and they let me stay in the servant’s hut behind the bungalow.  As I had no money, they gave me a smart suit to sell up in Nanital. So I duly walked up to Nanital via the goat path to hawk this suit around the local bazaar. I must have looked an odd sight, this barefoot long-haired hippy in ragged khurta and pyjama selling a very smart navy pinstripe double-breasted jacket and trousers. I did sell it and bought some provisions before walking back down the path to Jeolikote. I spent a delightful month in that valley post-monsoon

jeolikote-valley

and while there wrote to my sister in England who sent me three one pound notes concealed in an envelope to get me back to Delhi where I had £40 waiting at the American Express to get me back to England overland; the way I had come. There was more money waiting at the American Express in Tehran to help me complete the journey and ensure that I came home. Except, I didn’t go straight home, I took a train to Bombay (as it was then known) then a boat down to Goa where some old friends were.  I stayed on Anjuna and Calangute beaches for awhile just hanging out (there was hardly anything there in those days) before heading back to Delhi and beginning the trip home.  I hitchhiked to Kabul leaving India on the day before the war started between India and Pakistan in early December. As I headed west across Pakistan on the top of trucks, military convoys were heading east towards the Indian border. I got back home on New Year’s Eve, the journey taking just under a month costing around £50.

I returned to Nanital 45 years later hoping to find the hut and see who might be living in the bungalow nowadays. I spent a few days hanging out in Nanital, getting my bag of repairs done by a very helpful Muslim tailor for 200 Rupees (£2) who wouldn’t accept any more money.  I then rented a taxi for a couple of hours to drive down to Jeolikote, a village much expanded since I was last there. I asked the taxi driver to wait at a chai stall near where the goat path started, while I walked back towards the village.  I did find the bungalow eventually, but it had been destroyed in a fire making it difficult to see from the road.

bungalow

I climbed up to the ruins and saw that the hut had survived. But the debris surrounding the ruined bungalow that included a large number of discarded whisky bottles made me wary of approaching the hut any closer as it seemed unlikely that the current inhabitants would speak English or welcome my intrusion. I took a photograph before leaving,

hut

then back on the road got waylaid by two groups of Indian tourists who wanted a photo opportunity with me and it was interesting to note that I still had novelty value. I walked back to the chai stall and my taxi driver asked around the people there, including an old man, but no one seemed to know what had happened to the bungalow or know of the midwife Mrs. Chand back in 1971.

Shortly after, I left Nanital and spent the entire day travelling to Rishikesh on boneshaker buses and spent a week there in a hotel with ‘Ganga View’ in Laxman Jhula, just out of town.

100_0721

 

I had lived in Rishikesh in 1971 with the chillum Sadhus on the banks of the Ganges but couldn’t locate where they might although my chillum-smoking (Om Shankar!) days were long over.  I was able to launch some puja boats (marigolds, incense and a candle on a leaf boat) down the Ganges for some friends before returning to Delhi to deliver the final day of the workshop.

2940

 

2956

Returning to my search for Hans Ji Maharaj back in 1971, I did eventually track down my Guru one rainy afternoon in a town called Ranikhet where he was giving Satsang in a private house. I filed through with all the other devotees, somehow and somewhat naively expecting to be blown away by his presence. Alas, when I saw him, I felt nothing, I wasn’t even disappointed, I just felt nothing. I went and sat down with some men in the corner and told them my story, they shrugged and said “For some men, there is no God.”   I bummed a cigarette and left to continue my spiritual journey without a Guru.

To be continued…

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Visit my new blog!

I have a new blog at https://briantasker.wordpress.com/ do visit and have a look!

 

 

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World Music DJ Baba Ganoush

World Music DJ Baba Ganoush…

It’s later than you think, but never too late to dance!

Baba Ganoush: the DJ of choice for the discerning older generation!!! Available for parties and events (free for non-political charity fundraisers if the Baba likes the cause).

The idea of Baba Ganoush as a DJ stems from my long-standing interest in world music, a love of dancing and providing music for my own parties and events using my laptop and Fender Passport 150w PA system. The first LP that I ever bought was the Rolling Stones first album in 1964.  Not long after, while browsing in the HMV store in Oxford Street, I bought an LP of Arabic music on a whim featuring artists like Oum Khulthum and Farid al-Atrash. I loved the atmospheric sound of the oud and the strangeness of the music compared to what I was used to listening to.  Now in my mid 60s, I have been collecting music for 50 years and from that early experience with the Arabic music, unafraid to take a risk in buying music that I suspect would be good even if I’m sometimes left with stuff that only gets played once, the gems that have been found are worth the effort and the expense.

My interest in world music is influenced by my travels around north Africa, the middle east and Asia and my training in Biodanza that introduced me to the music of Latin America and of course anything that is good to dance to.

So the Baba plays African soukous, hi-life and funk, Latin fusion, salsa, cumbia, bomba, merengue, boogaloo, Brazilian percussion and Samba and even some stuff that you might actually know! Also Nu-jazz, Swing, good old-fashioned R & B and Jazz classics with some early Stones, Chuck Berry and even the occasional jig and reel thrown in to shake up the mix!

Sorry no vinyl, the Baba is too old for that malarkey but your fave CD tracks can be incorporated into a playlist in advance.

email: djbabaganoush@gmail.com or call or text 07867848365 and the Baba will get back to you…

Baba2

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Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year 2016
Year of the Monkey (February 8th)

When the gods reconcile… always an auspicious moment! Shiva the Destroyer of obstacles and his avatar the monkey god Hanuman as two aspects of the same god reuniting.
The Monkey can be mischevious, curious and clever witty able to solve problems working with their group while demonstrating an independence that gets things done. The nimble monkey is playful, cheeky and often likely to get the better of an encounter with humans. You don’t want one on your back and certainly not one in your mind, jumping around, screeching and chattering endlessly distracting from the task in hand. It’s said that the fear monkey is the loudest one of all.

The year of the monkey is an opportunity to befriend your inner monkey and put all that energy into the task in hand. Learn from the monkey, trust the monkey, take the leap and trust that the next branch of the tree will be there to receive you!hanuman2

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Glosnet: Gloucestershire Network of Counsellors and Psychotherapists

Glosnet: Gloucestershire Network of Counsellors and Psychotherapists is the local county-wide network that is open to any counsellor or psychotherapist living in Gloucestershire or nearby.  Established in 2006, Glosnet offers networking opportunities between therapists and is a place where you can circulate news of any workshop or training that you may be offering.  Occasional networking lunches and suppers are informal small gatherings hosted by members at home as opportunities to meet other members, sharing food, and discussion.  In the past, Glosnet has offered day conferences and CPD workshops and may offer these again in the future.

Glosnet is not accessible to the general public and doesn’t offer any kind of “find a therapist’ facility. Those services are offered by BACP, the Counselling Directory and others. Members may at times, circulate requests for a particular therapist offering a specialism or local service.

Glosnet is free to join on request by qualified therapists and trainees may join at the point in their training when they are on placement.

Membership enquiries to briantasker@hotmail.com – thanks.

Brian Tasker MBACP (Snr. Accred).

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Encuentro De Teatros De Tranformacion, Salamanca, Spain, July 2014

Desplácese hacia abajo para la traducción española de Antonio García

Playback Theatre is practiced in many countries worldwide with Spain being one of the notable exceptions in Europe.  I had been thinking for some time about how I could contribute to the establishment of Playback Theatre there when I received an email in January about a proposed theatre event.  The email was from Ana Fernández and the event was the Encuentro De Teatros De Transformacion  to be held in Salamanca July 4 – 6th. I emailed back to Ana and said that I’d like to come and eventually offered two workshops, an Introduction to Playback Theatre and Dancing your story (my Biodanza / Playback Theatre hybrid).  What was interesting was that Ana doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish, so all our co-ordination was conducted by email using google-translate.

I decided to spend the week in Spain and as the event was in northern Spain and I’d always wanted to visit Santiago de Compestela, I thought I’d begin there. As the direct flights were all early and inconvenient, I had the bright idea of flying to Oporto in Portugal and taking the bus from there to Santiago.  I hadn’t reckoned on the actual distance and it’s a 6 hour bus ride at a cost of 30 euros.  I slept for most of the journey – pointless really.

Santiago is an interesting town and is the destination of the St. James pilgrimage.  As I wandered around, many pilgrims were arriving. I spent my 65th birthday in Santiago on my own knowing that I would be able to celebrate it again with my then unknown new Spanish friends.  I just had a simple two-course meal, soup and fish, in a small non-touristy restaurant.

My communication problems were to develop when I was unable to access my email and my mobile phone had no signal so I couldn’t text. The only contact I had was Ana’s phone number.  In the end, I asked at the Tourist Office and they made a phone call to Ana on my behalf letting her know when I would arrive in Salamanca, which was about a day away by train.  Ana met me at the station with her son, Angel Salinas Fernández acting as translator and they drove me to my accommodation at the El Colegio Arzobispo Fonseca, a beautiful old building dating from the 16th century and a very generous gesture from Ana who was providing accommodation in exchange for my participation. I was joined there by other Playback practitioners, Jutta Heppekausen from Freiburg   in Germany and Jose Marques and Antonio Vicente from Lisbon.

Fonseca

El Colegio Arzobispo Fonseca

Salamanca is such an elegant city with its squares and medieval buildings and made a fantastic backdrop to the event including an outdoor performance by some of the group members on the steps of a church on a balmy Spanish evening.

The Spanish people that I met at the event along with others from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Portugal, Uruguay and my translator Luisa originally from Mexico were so warm and friendly.

Brian Luisa

After my birthday party with my translator Luisa

After the opening ceremony, my Introduction to Playback Theatre was one of the first workshops and as participants were new to Playback, I did a ‘typical’ Playback Theatre workshop with warm-up games, some social mapping, fluid sculpts, pairs and a couple of stories to demonstrate the all-important Playback ritual.  The lack of exposure in Spain to Playback Theatre meant that there was some conflation with other forms of improvised theatre. It’s a theme among Playback practitioners to make that distinction clear – something of a mission at times.

One thing that I had to get used to was the timing of Spanish meals, a late lunch and a very late dinner.  My second workshop Dancing your story on the second day was due to begin at 4pm and we were still having lunch at that time!

Restaurant group

After Lunch!

Dancing your story is a method of integrating emotional awareness through dance and movement with its roots in Biodanza and Latin American culture; it’s designed to be emotional, affectionate and tactile and consequently it was well-received as that was exactly the nature of the participants.

Following on from my solitary birthday in Santiago, a special celebration was organised by Ana on my behalf one evening which I much appreciated.  My new Spanish friends took me to their hearts, so warm, loving and affectionate; there is something special about belonging to a group that is so warm that reflects the ideal inclusiveness that is at the heart of Playback Theatre. I have fond memories of my visit and I hope to be able to continue to support the development of Playback Theatre in Spain. Adiós por ahora!

Encuentro de teatros de transformación, Salamanca, España, julio de 2014.

El Teatro Playback está extendido por casi todo el mundo, siendo España una de las pocas excepciones en Europa. Llevaba un tiempo pensando sobre cómo podría contribuir al desarrollo del Teatro Playback allí cuando recibí un correo electrónico en enero invitándome a un evento. El correo electrónico era de Ana Fernández y el evento era el Encuentro de Teatros de Transformación que se celebraría en Salamanca del 4 al 6 de julio.

Respondí a Ana diciéndole que me gustaría ir y finalmente ofrecí dos talleres, uno de “Introducción al Teatro Playback” y otro de “Danzando tu historia” (mi híbrido Biodanza / Teatro Playback). Lo interesante del asunto es que Ana no habla Inglés y yo no hablo español, así que toda nuestra coordinación  se llevó a cabo usando el traductor de Google.

Decidí pasar una semana en España y como el encuentro era en el norte, y siempre había querido visitar Santiago de Compostela, pensé en empezar allí. Los vuelos directos eran muy poco convenientes porque salían muy temprano, por lo que tuve la brillante idea de volar a Oporto en Portugal y tomar un autobús desde allí hasta Santiago. No contaba con que la distancia entre ambas ciudades es considerable, por lo que al final gasté 30 euros en un viaje de autobús de 6 horas, de las cuales la mayor parte las pasé durmiendo: había sido una mala idea.

Santiago es una ciudad interesante y es el destino del Camino de Santiago, ruta de peregrinación mundialmente conocida. Mientras deambulaba por allí, vi llegar muchos peregrinos. Pasé mi 65 cumpleaños sólo en Santiago, pero sabiendo que lo podría celebrar de nuevo con mis entonces desconocidos nuevos amigos españoles. Así que simplemente comí un menú del día, sopa y pescado, en un pequeño restaurante nada turístico.

Fue entonces cuando comenzaron mis problemas para comunicarme por vía electrónica, ya que no podía acceder a mi correo electrónico y mi teléfono móvil no tenía señal, por lo que no podía enviar mensajes de texto. La única vía de contacto que tenía con Ana era su teléfono móvil, por lo que pedí en la Oficina de Turismo que la llamaran en mi nombre haciéndole saber cuándo llegaría a Salamanca, que estaba a un día de viaje en tren. Ana me recibió en la estación con su hijo, Angel Salinas Fernández en calidad de traductor y me condujo a mi alojamiento en el El Colegio Arzobispo Fonseca, un hermoso edificio antiguo que data del siglo 16. Fue un gesto muy generoso de Ana, que me ofreció alojamiento a cambio de mi participación. Allí me encontré con otros compañeros del mundo del Play Back: Jutta Heppekausen de Freiburg, en Alemania, y José Marques y Antonio Vicente de Lisboa.

Salamanca es una ciudad muy elegante, con sus plazas y edificios medievales. Fue un telón de fondo maravilloso para el encuentro, incluyendo una actuación al aire libre en la escalinata del Patio Chico, en una apacible noche de verano.

La gente que conocí en el evento fue muy amigable y cálida. Además de los españoles, había participantes de Argentina, Brasil, Cuba, Portugal, Uruguay y mi traductora Luisa de México.

Después del acto de apertura, uno de los primeros talleres fue mi “Introducción al Teatro Playback”. Como muchos de los participantes veían Playback por primera vez, hice un taller básico con dinámicas de caldeamiento, algunas sociometrías, esculturas fluidas, parejas y un par de historias para presentar la importancia del ritual en el Playback. El poco recorrido del teatro Playback en España puede explicar que hubiera cierto grado de confusión con otras formas de teatro de improvisación. Nuestra tarea es dejar claras las diferencias entre las distintas formas teatrales y el Teatro Playback, a veces esto se puede transformar en una misión.

Me tuve que acostumbrar a los horarios españoles. Comen tarde y cenan mucho más tarde. Mi segundo taller “Danzando tu historia” estaba programado para las 4 de la tarde, pero a esa hora todavía estábamos comiendo.

“Danzando tu historia” es un método para integrar la conciencia emocional a través de la danza y el movimiento con sus raíces en Biodanza y la cultura latinoamericana. Está diseñado para ser emotivo, afectuoso y táctil y dado que esa era exactamente la naturaleza de los participantes, el taller fue muy bien recibido.

Para compensar mi solitario cumpleaños en Santiago, Ana me organizó una fiesta sorpresa, algo por lo que estoy enormemente agradecido. Mis nuevos amigos españoles me llegaron al corazón a través de su calidez y afecto. Hay algo relacionado con la pertenencia a un grupo que es cálido, y eso expresa el ideal de inclusión que está en el corazón de la propuesta del teatro Playback. Me llevé de España recuerdos muy preciados, por lo que espero tener la oportunidad de continuar apoyando el desarrollo del teatro Playback allí. ¡Adiós por ahora!

 

 

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In Memoriam: Haiku Poet Martin Lucas 1962 – 2014

martin-lucas630A personal reflection on a friendship

Martin Lucas was a highly significant figure in English-language haiku for more than twenty five years, as a poet, essayist, critic and editor. He was awarded a PHD for his thesis Haiku in Britain and was the founder- editor of the haiku magazine Presence, now in its 49th issue.  He was also much loved as a personal friend to many and for his warm and supportive style as a friend of haiku for both beginners and seasoned writers alike.  Martin was a lover of nature, a keen birdwatcher and walker all of which provided him with a rich source of haiku.  Martin’s commitment to the development of haiku combined with an appreciation of haiku as nature poetry gave him a generous and compassionate world-view that was reflected in his editing.

All of this ran alongside a background anxiety condition that Martin did his best to manage for most of his adult life.  It does seem that this anxiety condition played a part in Martin’s disappearance from home on March 21st without money or phone, not to be seen again until his body was found on April 14th  on St Anne’s Beach near the mouth of the River Ribble, an area that he loved.

Martin’s funeral was held in Preston on May 2nd – a very sad and moving event that I was able to attend. I drove up the evening before so I could visit the beach where Martin’s body was found in the morning before the funeral.  I spent about an hour there and made a little shrine of seashells and incense before leaving to drive to Preston for the funeral.

ML10

on the beach
where his body was found
I gather seashells
each and every find
a deeper loss

From the many tributes that I have read, we have the legacy of Martin’s poems and writings and of course, many fond memories of his friendship, we are still left with the void of his absence from our lives – a tragic loss that is beyond words for his family, friends and for English-language haiku to which he contributed so much.

Brian Tasker
Stroud, April 2014, updated on May 2nd.

You can find a selection of Martin’s haiku and an article Haiku as Poetic Spell on the Haiku Presence website: http://www.haiku-presence.50webs.com/index.html  Martin’s tanka below was taken from the tanka anthology published by the Red Moon Press.

on Ascension Day
looking to the sky
swifts
spin on the wind
rain falls

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