Summer is when our collective schedules take a breath, and make room for play.
Making a collage brings a wonderful child-like mood, working with scissors and glue and finding the right place for each image.
It’s summertime, time for a break from the hectic days of September through June, time to play. Play can, of course, can mean many things: physical activities, both team and individual – variations on ball, and water borne games which are wonderful fun this time year.
But some play is more important than games. The need for play that stirs the imagination is built into the human psyche. Deep Play is like an essential nutrient of the imagination; you have to have it to be healthy, resilient and to grow. When I want to feed the imagination, I focus on deep play in the arts.
… as we are playing, I can change my perspective literally and become someone totally different for a moment. (Institute students in costume for drama weekend, 2017)
Each art form provides a unique opportunity to engage the body and feed the imagination.
In the play of dance and movement I experience physical newness, using my body in new ways, easy social interactions. Moving through space feels freeing and fun. Playing together we make something called a dance.
Playing in visual arts, I find myself looking with new eyes, seeing colors and shapes, textures and lines freshly. Its fun to try new approaches to the various media. Making a collage brings a wonderful child-like mood, working with scissors and glue and finding the right place for each image. Using old stuff to make something new.
When I tell a story I can play with characters and costume, action, and my voice. I can try it again. I can add details or take them out. I may even surprise myself. If I act a story with others, I am “in a play” as we are playing. I can change my perspective literally, and become someone totally different for a moment.
Music play allows me to try sounds, silences, and rhythms. To write the soundtrack to my own experience. I can be a beginner again. If I repeat a mistake, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a rhythm. With a soundscape, I can get lost in the rhythm and journey to a faraway imagined country
Even writing poetry is an invitation to reengage the imagination in the playful use of language. How words in combination defy and redefine expectations, transform into new meanings and ideas. Play allows us to use ourselves in novel ways, challenging our self-image, our stories, our “version of ourselves.”
…writing poetry is an invitation to reengage the imagination in the playful use of language.
(EGS Poet Laureate Elizabeth McKim in Palm Springs 2018)
Personally I benefit most from the rejuvenation that surprise and being lost in my own play-land brings, when the physical imagination is engaged. I experience changes in my perspective, my energy, my sense of vitality, my warmth, my social openness and my sense of connectedness. In deep play I feel my face relax, and I open my heart to the sound of spontaneous laughter, as it occurs in play when something unexpected happens. To shake things up in life, we need the small artful risks deep play provides. Doing something different, surprising ourselves, being engaged and involved in something outside of day-to-day life.
My late Mother used to say “If you’re bored, go make a friend.” This summertime, the institute offers workshops and classes by graduates in the Deep Play series. These workshops are designed to be fun, playful, affordable and entry level, with no art making experience necessary. Take a Deep Play workshop. Make a new friend, maybe even your own artistic self.
Though the Deep Play Series is past, you can continue to watch for new listings in the events pages of this website.