We’re bombarded with all kinds of media made by adults who claim to know what’s important to girls and young women, but seriously miss the mark. It’s important for you to create the stories you want to see about the issues you really care about and then to spread that media far and wide to others, so they can connect, discuss, and make change happen. This SPARKit provides you with step-by-step instructions to create a performance piece and short film. The goal of this SPARKit is to broaden people’s understanding and awareness of all the different stories in our lives that we often don’t talk about, and to bring to the surface issues related to sexism, racism, sexualization, homophobia, body, appearance and anything else that we might find difficult to talk about, but which have a big impact.
Let’s get started!
1. CAST IT! Gather a few friends who love to write and perform (or make costumes, design props or DJ music) and discuss the issues you’re really interested in, and the story you want to tell.
2. DREAM IT! Discuss the message you want to convey to your audience. Who is going to be in your audience and what do you need to say to them? What stories do they need to hear that only YOU can express? Create the characters who can tell these stories and make up a storyline. Be creative—you can tell a single story or weave together fragments or separate stories.
3. WRITE IT! Let all your creativity flow… write poetry, songs, dialogue, monologues. If you don’t like to actually write, set up improvisations and then take notes. When you have lots of text, edit it into your play. Imagine a “container” for all your stories – are they set in one location? Are they connected by a specific theme? Is there one prop or costume piece that’s passed around between pieces?
4. REHEARSE IT! Bring any special talents you have to the performance! Maybe you sing, rap, dance, play music, write slam poetry, juggle, skip double dutch, do great cartwheels. Let your imagination run wild. Plan your performance and rehearse your lines, devise your choreography and practice, practice, practice! Invite some close friends to visit your rehearsals and give you feedback and advice about how to make sure your message is coming across loud and clear. Make props and sets and costumes. Or buy your costumes at local thrift shops. Borrow from a community or university theater or raid your high school’s costume room.
5. MARKET IT! Together, think about who needs to hear and see what you’ve created. Make flyers and drop them off at all the places teenagers (or whoever you want to come to your show) hang out – like the library, local cafes, shopping centers or your school; spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr. Send invitations to your local newspapers, blogs and tv stations. Invite a friend to videotape your public performance or simply perform just for the camera.
6. PERFORM IT! Find a fabulous space to perform – a community theater, corner café, public park, parking lot, living room, street corner… be creative! Theater can happen anywhere (just make sure you have permission!) Make sure you’re prepared and you’ve run through it many times. Plan what you want people to do after they see and hear your performance. Make sure you invite someone with a video camera to record it. Make printed programs with lots of local resources. Add some stats or facts or suggestions for actions to your playbill or at the end of your video. Write up a question or two for your audience to think about after they see the show.
7. SHARE IT! Upload your video on YouTube, Vimeo and Vine. Post on social media sites and ask your friends to share. Plan a screening at your school or local library and invite everyone you know to come to watch your video and stay for a discussion. Alert your local paper about your video screening. The more people who can see and be inspired by your performance, the better!
8. AGAIN! Have a little party a couple weeks after the performance and thank everyone for their work. Discuss whether you want to produce it again live or make another show that’s even better!