Core Work 3.17.20

Core Work in the Time of Corona: Dispatch 1 (3.17.20)

Image: The suddenly ubiquitous Zoom screenshot 🙂
Post by Emily Hartford

WHO: Corey Allen, Alex Chester-Banks, Omi Ford, HJ Farr, Emily Hartford, Rachael Hip-Flores, Ned Massey, Alisha Spielmann, Isaiah Tanenbaum, Jason Tseng, Justin Woo

WHAT: Reading the extended ‘living room’ scene that forms the core of Jason’s new play, The Other Side–a two-hander interrogating sexual violence, rape culture, and restorative justice; playing around with some virtual found-text collaging with Emily; reading episode two of Justin’s horror-comedy webseries, Hunger.

HOW: Oh, returning to a beloved routine–even in a new form–was so very reassuring. And to convene with wonderful creative humans, and start to work those muscles again (gently!), was a gift. Jason has been revising their play The Other Side–tackling and deepening the play’s excavation of the long-term journeys of both a sexual assault survivor, and the perpetrator of that assault–as well as the harmful systems within which their journeys exist. Rachael read Esther and Isaiah read David, and we all discussed. Then, I invited folks into some very light co-creation: we all took five minutes to find a piece of text (pulled by impulse–maybe a book we meant to re-read in our self-isolation, an article we couldn’t get out of our heads, a poem we were finding meaningful, etc.) We found 1-2 sentences. Then, we sat with each other, and let the text emerge–creating an impromptu found-text collage, spoken over Zoom. (I’ll put that text below.) Finally, we were treated to the second episode of Justin’s Hunger, a web series following Sasha–who is kind of an asshole, and is also possessed by a demon. Alex returned to read Sasha, HJ read Michelle, and Omi read the action description.


  • Justin–[Re: The Other Side discussion] I like that Rachael liked that Esther was unlikable, as a character. I liked that you liked that.
  • Isaiah–I’m left with the bee who wants to inflict pain so badly that she rips herself in half [an image from an Esther monologue in The Other Side]
  • Rachael–A part of the text collage: ‘the greater part of transformation is decay.’
  • Omi–I feel like there’s this pressure when you’re making art to always be confronting something deep and dark and serious but that’s not what it always has to be–and I appreciate Justin’s script for having a really fun element. 
  • HJ–I feel that all art is going to be very useful for the next little while–to make us think and put our focus or to distract our brains entirely. I’m grateful for this community that lets us try things out. I hope to bring something some time. 
  • Alex–I’m thankful that you welcomed me to this circle again, and for giving me space.
  • Alisha–Everyone taking a few min to find text and actually listening to what each person had to share, as well as the order in which they randomly emerged…how they fit together, how they were shared. I want you to do something more with it.
  • Corey–I loved the sharing of the scene from the web series and am very intrigued by discovered text exercise and what you might find–I’ve been doing found text exercises with my students, and I’m curious what synchronicity you might find. I was happy to focus on something creative with creative people.
  • Ned–The simple act of us being together is and the fact that we’re all artists and face a lot of the same anxieties or fears–this is a nice way to connect with other people in these trying times…We shouldn’t walk away like it ends, but as a way to stay in touch with each other and be mindful of how we can connect with our community at this time.
  • Emily–That was all lovely, y’all. I’m going to lift up Alisha’s northern lights [moving Zoom background!]


Found Text Collage Created by the Ensemble (or, “A Little Bit on How We’re Feeling”):

We have to tell stories to unriddle the world.

Two or three billion years ago, the earth was a ball of fire, revolving around its own axis. 

Where I’m at it peaceful. It calm.

 You hope to find love. Couldn’t you tell from what he just said what you’re going to find?

 Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar.  What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems.  No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.

 I was born when all I once feared–I could love.

 When his mind seemed absent,  I followed yes I, in strange and complicated actions, very far, good or bad: I was certain of never entering his world.

 You remember what it was like, people just freaking out…
Boarding up their houses, stealing food, guns, shooting everything that moved. 

All I have is a voice
To undo the
folded lie,
romantic lie in the brain
Of the
sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie
of Authority
buildings grope the sky:
There is no
such thing as the State
And no one
exists alone;
allows no choice
To the
citizen or the police;
We must
love one another or die.

The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair where they have left not one stone on a stone, but they would have the rabbit out of hiding, to please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, no one has seen them made or heard them made, but at spring mending-time we find them there.

Perhaps he has some secrets for changing life— 

It took millions of years to cool under the constant downpour of rain. The process was slow, imperceptible, but the gradual change, transition came to pass. The crust of the earth hardened, great cataclysms pushed up hills, created valleys and ravines through which rivers could flow. 

Then came the unicellular forms of life, and the globe began to swarm with living things.



Alan Garner, The Voice that Thunders, quotes in The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook by Caitlin Matthews

“Transition”, from The Art of Dramatic Writing, Lagos Egri

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Robert Anderson from his play I Never Sang For My Father

Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost (quoting the novel Regeneration by Pat Barker)

Rabia (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

Delirium by Arthur Rimbaud

World War Z by Max Brooks

September 1, 1939, WH Auden

Mending Wall, Robert Frost

Rimbaud again

Egri again

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