Core Work 9.13.19: Harvest Moon

Post by Corinna Schulenburg

WHO: Neo Cihi, Sienna Gonzalez (video chat), Corinna Schulenburg, Alisha Spielmann, Isaiah Tanenbaum, and Salma Zohdi; with a ritual contributed from Anna Rahn

WHAT: Pack by Corinna Schulenburg; Revolution Cycles by Salma Zohdi; a stand-up act by Sienna Gonzalez; a ritual for the harvest from Anna Rahn; a brainstorm about The Kitchen, a framework for play development


  • NEO: Every single time Corinna slammed her hand on the table with a Pack epiphany
  • ISAIAH: Alisha’s brilliant Minnesota-nice delivery of “it’s nice to hear and I hope it’s true” in Pack
  • CORINNA: The metaphor of not leaving a play on the burner too long because it will; trust when it’s ready 
  • SALMA: The hope for a path to masculinity that isn’t toxic but healthy
  • NEO: Appreciating the space to make an executive decision about a character I’ll be embodying with my lived experience
  • CORINNA: Sienna’s joke about why “it’s good to invest in some plastic” (this joke my be a little too blue for a blog update) 
  • SIENNA: A really open and willing audience to some fresh material, it means a lot
  • CORINNA: The freedom of liberated public space versus the claustrophobia of hiding in private space in Salma’s revolution conversation
  • ISAIAH: Anna’s beautiful moon ritual!

Alisha acting in Pack while Isaiah watches. Sienna performing her stand-up via video chat.


Our very first Core Work back from the the Little Pond Arts Retreat! As our small-but-mighty team gathered, I was buzzing with anticipation. It felt a little like the old thrills of prepping for a Flux Sunday, but it also felt like something entirely new and unknown. Which it was!

We started by workshopping scenes from my Pack. It was a gift to have Neo and Alisha present to read Harker and Harmony, as we were able to have deep dramaturgical conversations that were centered in the bodies of the actors who may very well play the roles. This is my preferred way to work, and we went deep into the nature of their relationship before Harker’s medical transition, and discussed how romantic and sexual intimacies are different but connected, and how transition can complicate and transform them.

We then discussed the end of Pack and fate of Harker’s character, and how it has cascading impacts on the fates of Tanner’s character (who I hope will be played by Isaiah) as well as the character of Bali (from Corey Allen) and the fate of the Trans-Separatist Wolf Cult. It all revolved around a single question: does the play believe masculinity is fundamentally toxic, or can it take healthy and healing shapes? We took the conversation as far as we could, and looked forward to having voices like Corey’s and Dominique Rider’s join the conversation.

Next up: a discussion about a metaphorical framework for play and project development that might be called The Kitchen. We were looking for something joyful and evocative that would help frame the processes of projects we’re working on at all stages of development. Using this framework, we’d be better able to resource and timeline these projects, and ensure we always have a solid number moving toward the front burner: 

Here are some examples of how it might work:

  • At the earliest stages, we’re trying to figure out the recipe for the project: who are the people, the prompts, and the processes that it needs to move forward?
  • Plays on the back burner might be getting less heat than those on the front burner, but they’re still cooking.
  • Sometimes projects are cooked and ready to eat, but we’re not ready for them, so those go in the freezer. 
  • Who is the lead chef and who are the sous chefs? And when are there too many chefs on a project, and in the kitchen itself?
  • Like a meal, a play is gift we cook together to nourish those we invite into our space. 

We also discussed other frameworks–those of waterways and farmland–before feeling like The Kitchen might be the most accessible and functional. Stay tuned for more on this front!

Salma then led us in watching two videos, Sout Al Horeya صوت الحريه Amir Eid – Hany Adel – Hawary On Guitar & Sherif On Keyboards and محصلش ثورة في بلادي..أبو حفيظة يقدم أغنية صوت الحرية بشكل جديد. Made by the same Egyptian artist five years apart, they chronicle the hope and then the heartbreak and cynical humor of the revolution and counter-revolution that has, for now, prevailed. We responded to witnessing these videos, and moved into our thoughts on revolution. I was struck by the juxtaposition of the liberated outdoor public space in the first video against the claustrophobic interiors of the second. Dictatorship and oppression can make our homes both a place of perceived safety and a kind of prison where we ourselves are the warden. We began listing the ingredients for the next stage of this idea’s development.

Sienna then wowed us with snippets from her five-minute set that will be a part of the Glow Worm series on Saturday, 9/14 at 7:30pm. Please go and support her comic brilliance! My favorite story was about the financial costs of healing from a bad breakup and an unexpected strategy for dealing with the next one:).

Lastly, we participated in a Harvest moon ritual created by Anna Rahn, who could not be there but whose presence was very much felt. Here was her invitation:

Find out where the moon is in the sky. Have everyone close their eyes together and breathe deeply, maybe three times, or more. 13 times for Friday the 13! Each time they breathe in, ask them to imagine the light of the full moon entering their bodies through the tops of their heads and flowing throughout every part of the body! As they breathe out, the spiritual residue of anything they’ve been holding onto that no longer serves them is pushed out of the body by the light of the moon.

And she offered us this lovely quote from Sarah Faith Gottesdiener:

This promises to be a powerful Full Moon—it is a Harvest Full Moon, so themes around what you are gathering, what you will be working with until the Solstice may be coalescing in your psyche, and in your actions. Trust yourself.

This is a Full Moon of helping. If the last Full Moons have overwhelmed some of us, this time period can help us understand the whys and whats: why things were stalled, how to proceed, what we are ready to undertake…If we decide to pay attention. At the very least, this Full Moon can grant us some perspective. Pay attention to what this Full Moon is illuminating for you. Even if it is painful, it could offer you awareness. In that awareness is a way through.”

We are all feeling the fullness and power of the moon…so now let’s decide to keep paying attention.

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