Content Warning - This post addresses issues of self-harm, panic, anxiety, and other experiences some people may find triggering.
Persephone is not an easy show to sit through. It pulls the audience into Persephone's experience of the world which includes moments of tension, panic, and self-harm. It's a difficult show to sit through, however, we have been careful to balance the intensity of these particular experiences with absurdity, hilarity, chaos, and calm. As a person whose everyday life is effected and influenced by these same experiences, I also find it incredibly validating to see them depicted onstage with honesty and vulnerability. I think it's important that theatre require something of its audiences beyond passive observation.
All of this begs the question: how do we ensure the safety of performers throughout the rehearsal process and of the audience during performances?
First, we do a lot of talking. A lot. We once spent the entirety of a rehearsal during the original production checking in with each other and holding space for whatever we were carrying - as it related to the show, or otherwise. In the current production we take time at the beginning of each rehearsal to do a brief check-in, do so again after a particularly difficult scene, and take time at the end for a physical grounding exercise. This usually involves a dance party and keeping a balloon aloft.
This brings me to another new aspect of the show that I'm excited to be sharing with you all. There will be a mental health professional at each performance. Additionally, there will be a post-show discussion after each performance, and, on Saturday, May 5th, between shows we will be hosting a free self-care workshop featuring Margaret Gavian, LP, PhD, and Julie Kilpatrick, PHN. Dr. Gavian is a licensed psychologist and a life coach. She works at North Memorial Medical Center and has a private practice, Blue Peak Consulting. Margaret is a faculty member with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine. Julie Kilpatrick is a public health nurse and a local Mind-Body Medicine practitioner. She offers Mind-Body Skills Groups, workshops and trainings through St. Croix Mind-Body-Spirit. Julie is a faculty member with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine.
It's impossible to know what we will feel triggered by. It is possible to know how to take care of ourselves when confronted with these triggers. It's easier to do so when given a comprehensive set of skills to do so. We hope this workshop, should you choose to attend, will serve as a jumping off point for building your own toolkit.
Self Expression for Self Care
Saturday, May 5th at 4pm
4200 E 54th St, Minneapolis, MN 55417