We reach the outskirts of Jacmel and, with the help of the locals, reach our destination. Standing out front of a nice building, hair freshly braided, is our host, Aaron Funk. The last time we worked with him, we had to use cell phones and candles to see each other during the night workshop. This time he has a completely different location that has plenty of light, several rooms for learning, art on the walls, and more people than the 25-30 students we worked with the year before. It is fantastic to see how well things for his group are coming along. He admits that things are going so well in this small complex he’s running and that it’s becoming difficult to facilitate so many people, but he is trying. Here the children and young adults that attend learn various aspects of theatre, from performances to lighting and scenic design. At this point he doesn’t teach nearly as much as he used to. Instead he puts the work into the hands of the Haitian students he had from the year before and now he facilitates the overall learning and management process. He also tries to expand the students’ knowledge of the different approaches to theatre by inviting guest artists to teach.
After giving us a brief tour of the building and explaining the work they are doing, he leads us to the roof of the building. Though, ironically, we are teaching this class with only one light source, the roof proves to be the best space for so many students. The three of us take a very brief moment to discuss the plan for the evening and wake each other up from the long day. Aaron introduces us to the group and then we begin. Once again, we lead a group stretch to become grounded as an ensemble. Then we do an energy-building shake out, where we shake out each limb for a count. From there, we take the students through a sort of follow the leader of emotions and movements that we’ve deemed Michael’s exercise (after Michael McGuigan of Bond Street), to give them an idea of how to perform larger without limitations. Soon after, we lead them through passing the impulse, an exercise in which a performer mimes a movement and sends it across the space, through gesture, toward another performer who then accepts it by allowing it to affect them physically and then changes the expression to their own before passing it on. From there we have to balance the space. They must walk throughout the space making sure there is an even distribution of people in every area. From there we take them through our understanding of Jacques Lecoq’s 7 energies (which has been our main workshop tool for this trip). They are: 1) Exhaustion 2) Relaxation/Casual 3) Economy of Motion 4) Alert/Attentive/Curious 5) Determination 6) Paranoia and 7) Extreme Panic. While still balancing the space we call out the number, the energy, then we demonstrate, and then we all do the action together. After going through all these, now sweaty and tired, we lead through one of our song games, which are all call and response with voice and movement, and call it a night. The students look more tired than us but we can tell they learned a lot. They were very receptive and, from Aaron’s account, certain students that were having trouble feeling free to let loose opened up immensely. Mr. Funk is very pleased by the way things went and now is ready to show us our reward for this long day’s work: some food, a shower, and a place to sleep. The sleep is much needed because we have to rest up for an early ride back to Port-au-Prince for a morning show with Favilek.