MOLLY: Hello and welcome to the podcast where we talk about creating experimental art in trauma-informed and sustainable ways that support artists, our communities, and the organization as a whole. I'm Molly, and you're listening to Any Other Anythings?
Lauren, welcome to Any Other Anythings? So would you like to start with a check in and introducing who you are as a human, and feel like your role, or slash roles over all of Grey Box is probably a separate question. So maybe just an intro to begin with, how are you?
LAUREN: I'm doing well, Molly, thank you for having me on Any Other Anythings? I love the title of this podcast by the way, it is very close to my heart.
MOLLY: I appreciate that.
LAUREN: I’m Lauren Scott, I am a performer, choreographer mostly. And I've been with the company since it started.
MOLLY: Yeah, you have. Since like before it started. Like…
LAUREN: Yes. So I have so many...my, my…
MOLLY: Here we go.
LAUREN: My Facebook memories from yesterday, so I get up in the morning and I'm looking through it; yesterday I don't know how many years ago, like six maybe, seven years ago, was my very first rehearsal for Finger Painting for Grown Ups.
MOLLY: Oh my goodness.
LAUREN: I was so excited, and it was just, this post full of all this youthful energy and like the excitement towards getting to work on a full scale show which was something I hadn’t really been a part of in that like capacity before.
MOLLY: Yeah and I was totally six years ago. Yeah and the rest is history. So here we are. Before we hope in any further, would you like to lead us through a grounding activity and a warm up?
LAUREN: Absolutely. Oo okay.
MOLLY: Here we go.
LAUREN: I gotta put on my best Molly voice for this one.
MOLLY: Uh oh
LAUREN: With your eyes shut, taking inventory of your breath. Finding the top of your breath where your inhale ends and your exhale begins, following that exhale all the way to the bottom of your breath where you exhale ends and your inhale begins. And if you’re not driving while listening to this, place your left hand on top of your sternum, and your right hand on top of your belly, and just follow that breath all the way to the top of your left thumb, to the very, very tip of your right pinky. And you can let those hands drop down to your sides, still feeling where they were touching on your body, and letting your eyes slightly open for a soft focus, bringing some of that light in, and then just becoming a little bit more aware of the space, taking in more of the light.
MOLLY: Thank you. Would you like to take that into a warm-up activity?
LAUREN: Um...my...it is after 3 p.m. My brain is fried on warm up activities but I would love to be one.
LAUREN: I can only think of like the folding activity right now.
MOLLY: Oh, that's fun! Okay, so do you want to intro the folding activity?
LAUREN: Sure as best I can with the fried brain.
MOLLY: Yes, teacher brain.
LAUREN: So we're going to explore all the different ways we can fold our bodies. So folding the fingers over, folding the hand, and for now, let’s just start on one side. And you fold your arm, and like your whole upper body. How can you fold your toes? And your feet, and your legs?Maybe folding the like head to the shoulder. Just kind of exploring and opening up to crossing that midline, maybe folding both sides of the body.
MOLLY: I had a really good neck crack.
LAUREN: Oh man. I gotta like do both in the same way on each side otherwise I feel so weird.
MOLLY: Right? Like it’s such a dancer thing of like we have to do both sides exactly the same or we’ll feel lopsided the rest of the day. Did we do this in Understanding Otherness?
LAUREN: I think so?
MOLLY: I think that’s where this came in a lot. Thank you for bringing it back.
LAUREN: Thank you. I actually would really...I need to start writing these things down because I’m getting old and I can’t find anything on my computer anymore because it's all like an abyss of like, Google Drive and like my hard drive. But I want to do, like, what's a quick like 1 to 2 minute green zone activity with like some of my classes each day. And I’m like we can't just do nothing for 2 minutes everyday. Because they’ll get real tired of that. They’ll be like over it.
MOLLY: Yeah. So you’ve, like, set me up for a shameless plug. Are you ready for this?
MOLLY: Okay. So I'm going to try to, for those listening, it doesn't work as well but you’re on camera, I can do the influencer thing...I haven’t figured out how to like, you know, like, where they like, I don’t know. Like hold up the hand behind the product? So, we will be selling a little stack of little cards that are about the size of a pack of gum. And on it, on each one, these are so out of order cuz Princeton knock them off, my cat knock them off when I was ordering them the other day. And every one is some kind of resourcing activity. There are about 40 of them.
LAUREN: Oh my gosh.
MOLLY: Resourcing activities. So you could just like take this little pack of cards out in the middle of your class, and be like okay everyone today we're going to “give yourself a hug.” Give yourself a hug which is in code with all the physical distance in right now. We also like, we can “shake it out.” “Do nothing” is totally on here too. We got some “marching in place,” get that cross lateral pattern coming in. So…
LAUREN: Molly, I have to say, it was after one of the last meetings, or I think it was after the last workshop where we did. And I was thinking like I should get some index cards and start writing these down, and then I'll have a pack. And then this came to me in like a fever dream or something as like, “I bet Molly already has this. Like ready to go that I could just order from like the Grey Box shop.”
MOLLY: Yes! Which is… and we also have this which is, they’re all about the size of business cards, and they all connected on this key ring, and these are Devising Crumbs. So taking our crumbs, nuggets, and muffins, and now you have, again, you can just pull a card and create something from it. Like, “find ways to interact with light,” or “tell a story in a made-up language”.
LAUREN: Oh man. This... honestly, like right now, the sensation of like my heart rate and my blood pressure just kind of chilling out is really, I cannot describe like what a positive thing this is.
MOLLY: I appreciate that very much. Yes. They’re in the works as in like we will go to print this weekend with them. So.
LAUREN: The love and support we need in 2020.
MOLLY: Yeah. Yes. Exactly. So...gosh. Where to go from all of that? You mentioned green zone activity and some of the workshops, so that’s unpacking the message behind the madness that you experienced for six years. I'm curious to hear like, how your lived experience, and then being that like workshop side of it has been...I don’t know, like, have things been clicking? Or I'm curious. I’m just straight up curious for any responses having been someone who really has lived it, I think, in the. the most varied of ways for the longest period of time.
LAUREN: I’m really glad that you bring that up because it's something that's been kind of on my mind the last couple weeks. Obviously, going through the process, and as someone who was originally a non-dancer, non theater person coming into this, and becoming a dancer, and becoming a theatre person. I always knew that Grey Box rehearsals were where I took the best care of myself. And what I assumed kind of overtime, “Okay we're doing these activities, maybe, so Molly can see like, how we move or like what our go to gestures were.” And I knew that they were all there to build up the ensemble trust because a lot of, like I think back to Finger Painting like a couple of them knew each other from before, and then I was like coming in brand new. But by the end, like I remember all of our warm ups and things we do before the show. And that always brings me a lot of joy. So as someone who's like lived it, I knew that there was a purpose behind everything and I knew that it was doing good. But now being able to step back having not been in the rehearsal process over the summer, and instead look at this through the workshop, and the science and the like neural programming that goes on with all of that; I just have such a overwhelming like love and respect for the work, and the research you do with your performers, and like, “Oh my gosh. That’s great. Like that is the ultimate care.”
It makes me think a lot about It’s Not That Simple, and your work with making sure that we weren't taking that trauma and that content out with us. So, yeah. There’s a lot of thoughts there, and you know I just, I support it so much. And I still can't find the vocabulary to fully express just the warm, and good that I feel, like coming from that rehearsal process. I remember going into rehearsals and just having like a totally crummy day, you know, like something awful had happened, and there's something really liberating about being able to create when you go into that space, and are really actually able to let those things go because you're so focused on like the sensation, and the content, and the other performers. It's something we talk about as performing arts people all the time. Like leave it at the door. This is your time to do the work. But I think about how many teachers don’t, or directors, don’t get you there. So I know that was like so many hours of rehearsal just kind of really checking in, grounding us down, and getting us to the spot where we could create. And you know, I think back on it so positively. You know, because I clearly need to be doing that more in my life, even outside of rehearsal.
MOLLY: I really appreciate that you, you brought up like the care, and how you could go into rehearsals having a crummy day, and I think like there’s such a self-fulfilled prophecy maybe? Or if we're doing work around rape culture, or mental health, busy culture, insert whatever tough topic you want, that, like it's going to be a really heavy rehearsal; Or that there will be like zero laughter. But there can be, there needs to be room for play. There needs to be room for, for building relationships with each other. Otherwise, what's the point? And so I'm curious if you could dig into, if you care to share, maybe some of...like were there particular structures in place? Is there a moment in rehearsal that you remember that really kind of pivoted for you?
LAUREN: I think I remember like a lot of very specific moments in rehearsal. There was one, oh gosh, this is taking it way back, I had that duet with Anya before Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice was Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice. It was I Am Enough. And it was the duet with the text by Brene Brown, and like the runway and like the rib cage corsets, which hands down, favorite costuming of any show. A little cabbage-y patch kid, with like charcoal…
LAUREN: But I remember you had us do laughter yoga, and after we've done our regular like breathing, and checking in, and our verbal work. And you’re like, we have laughter yoga, and I was like, “What?” Anya hadn’t heard of, we were just kind of sitting there in the room. And like, “Well, we’re gonna do laugh yoga.” It was something to the effect of like, Anya and I had to like touch fingers until we started laughing and...which saying out loud, seems really silly but I remember going into it with like no doubts whatsoever. I was like, “oh okay. We’ll do laughter yoga because I’m in this rehearsal space, and we already did all of the starting stuff, and like it's going to be okay.” Like I knew even though it was, maybe weird, or strange, or different that it didn't matter because I knew it was going to be all right on the other end. Like there was absolute trust in your, and like my co performer. That it was just a really delightful moment. I remember, just such a powerful connection in that part of the show because there was still that element of play, and also it was new and exciting.
MOLLY: That’s great. I love these conversations because it's bringing back like, “Oh I forgot that we did that.” It's bringing back more memories for me as well, so thank you for adding that in. And so you had mentioned… and maybe just for like context, you are an educator. So when we like, we back and forth, and I think there's a lot of parallels between holding rehearsal spaces and holding classroom spaces. So how has...how have these experiences, like what do you value in these experiences that you bring into your classroom spaces? Or rehearsal spaces because you have those as well.
LAUREN: Something I really value is taking care of the whole performer first, and whether the performer is a student who did not sign up for my class and does not care to be there; or the performer is the student who signed up for my class and has been with me for seven years of their schooling. Even if we can't agree on, you know, the work that we’re doing, the content that we’re generating, or the script that we’re reading, or the music that we’re looking at, I always want my students to know that I will protect them no matter what. And that’s not just the stuff that we go through now with practicing lockdowns and making plans to evacuate campus if someone who wants to hurt us, you know, gets there.
But also understanding like even if you go home to your family, and they don't want to hear about your day, I will always, I will always listen. Like I will always hear you out because, I mean, I think so much of the heartbreak we feel as young people in just us having an opinion on something, and feeling like nobody's going to listen to it. You know, we're growing and this world is getting crazy, and you're trying to like learn to use your words, you know, formulate thoughts outside of like what used to be you being a kid, and thinking only caring about yourself, and now you’re ready to think about other people, and you want to talk about it; and everyone else has their own idea of what that looks like already, and they don’t want to hear you and that’s not cool. So I always try to practice like extra grace and patience with my students. You know, because, at the end of the day, if they turn something in to me late, that is not the end of the world. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things like, yes I have to give you a grade, but like more than anything else I want you to be okay. And when you're not okay, I want you to know that I will be here.
MOLLY: That’s beautiful, and I think we need more educators with that, with that lens so that learning is actually happening.
LAUREN: Thank you.
MOLLY: And so like, having to go through...it’s a rehearsal for a mass shooting. Like the trauma side of it. Like we talked about trauma a lot in rehearsal spaces and in the content of the show, having taken some time this summer to dig into the trauma-informed creative practices, I'm curious how that's been forming or shifting a lens as you reflect back on some of the trauma that you see in your classroom spaces.
LAUREN: Absolutely. The... actually something that I've been thinking more about is the last show that we closed before things were cancelled due to Covid-19. We had that little crumble series, and Crystal and I worked on a duet together with you. EMP_T_Y and it had the letters for “empathy” blocked out in there. And at the time, I was like, “Oh yeah, you know,” I remember in rehearsal we were talking about like, compassion fatigue, and social media, and being overwhelmed with that news on social media. I remember talking about it, and was like, “Oh yeah, you can just like turn off the phone.” And then in the light of this summer, the world, literally, and metaphorically, being set on fire; and there was no turning it off at all because we were in our homes, and you turn on the TV, and you know, all this news would be out there, and then you pick up your phone to try and hide from the TV, and all this news would be out there, and then you try and go outside to maybe read a book on your patio and you’ve got you roommates battling it out over whether this, or that, or the other thing was racist or not. And also like having been simmering over the frustration of like, “Oh no. We have to be considerate of our other human beings, and making sure that we're not spreading this disease or this virus.” So it was just a lot going on. And I remember, I was just sitting in my room one day, and thinking of, like the sound scape that William had created, and how they used like all of the notification noises, and then the singing. I remember like the second show, we had two little girls that hopped in, and decided that they were going to be in the performance too. And so they're playing with all these like great news paper articles about like sexual assault, and political like, what's the word I'm thinking of, like wrongness and, and, and they're just having a grand old time, and it really kind of put things into perspective for me; because people say like, “Oh all this is new.” But it’s not new, it’s been going on forever, but we owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves so we can keep fighting this. There’s people that already bowed out and have decided that they don’t care. It’s like, we need to care. And if you don't, like, do something more productive with your time than argue with strangers on social media. But just, it really reaffirmed the importance of like that slow burn commitment to this work, and to speaking out. We can't do it if we don't take care of our voices, and if we don't take care of her bodies, and out minds, and our hearts.
MOLLY: Yeah, yeah, totally. I feel like I have to confess like I've been picking fights with educators on social media.
MOLLY: Yup. And it goes back to like empathy and compassion, and they’re like, “This student hasn't shown up to my class for like weeks.” And it's like, “There's a pandemic.”
LAUREN: And I don't know who needs to hear this but the pandemic isn't over just because you're over it.
MOLLY: Yes, yes, exactly. So I've been picking fights with educators and I'm learning how to pick them in more persuasive ways.
LAUREN: Yeah, well, because it’s upsetting. I, one thing that I thought of was how aggressive, like pure educators were about like, have your camera on. You need to have your camera on or I think you're playing games and I'm like...
LAUREN: Honestly. And I tell my class, turn your camera off. You don’t need to see each other, you don't need to see...like staring at yourself. Like if you want to, I invite you, I’d be happy to see your face. But as long as I see your name, and you pop up, and if I type a little chat to you, and you answer me back, like, I’m great. You know, if you're turning in work, and you can’t even get into our Zoom meeting, that’s fine too, like whatever you need. Let me know. I’m not gonna penalize you because you're young and technology is new. Now that we've gone beyond the world of our phone and opening up the five apps we use all day, and having to deal with like your IP address and a password, like it's fine. Like it’s really not the end of the world. These students are either on campus or in their homes, and a way, we can’t make them do anything. We can try and help them feel safe and welcomed. And if that means for them that they're texting all through class, and still turning in the work, I’m okay with that, because when get back to a point when we can have class in person, I know they’re not gonna do that to me.
MOLLY: Yeah. That’s a great point of like, this is temporary so, like, let us all cope, let us all adapted and mitigate the way that we need to to get through it.
LAUREN: Well, and the big thing is like, maybe in our lifetimes, we go back to this. Everyone keeps bringing up the flu, and people die from the flu. Like, yeah, but what if they didn't? Like what if we just weren’t that inconsiderate to other people? And I think of our young people, “Oh my gosh. What if you have to live and work through another pandemic? You're going to be the most resilient, capable, amazing, experts of life this way.” And you know, I hope you're not fighting with each other over petty and childish things like we are.
MOLLY: Yeah. Well I'm thinking like trauma... there's some like quote that I hear a lot, or some...I don’t know. It feels more like a cliche at this point, that like your traumas are your blessings? And I struggle with the like...that phrasing of it, but also it’s like post-traumatic growth, which is something that we talked about a lot in It's Not That Simple 2016. I think we always called it like PTG. So getting our post-traumatic growth into the show as a way to, to be able to hold traumatic or tough topics in ways that felt a little less heavy is knowing that through adversity, we do grow. And on the other side, we, we tend to have that resiliency factor come up for us.
LAUREN: I think of, there’s that like opening quote from The Great Gatsby about assuming that nobody in life has had the same advantages as you. And as I thought about it working with the wide range of students that I do, I think about my students that might be separated from their biological families, or are in group homes. And a lot of them really do think of that as an advantage because they're like, “Well, I have this extra place that I go,” and like, “My family still exists.” Or like, “Maybe I don't need them at all.” So it's just, it's really humbling and inspiring to see what someone else might call like an adversity, for these kids to think of it as, “No, this is..this is a kind of like a boost for me. It's, it's going to help me out later.” And that’s... and to see what great heads they have on their shoulders at this age. Like I will, I will challenge anyone who says that young people are like not prepared to run the world because I have so much faith in them even with their silly memes.
MOLLY: That’s great. That’s great. So thinking about like what you're saying around, around having a compassionate understanding of what your students might be experiencing, also sounds like you're really holding multiple truths, which is something that I feel is really important to put into performances around traumatic events, or tough topics. And so I’m interested to hear some of your thoughts, having embodied as a performer on and off over six years, what are some of the multiple truths that stand out? Or, or the ways that you were able to navigate multiple truths.
LAUREN: Oh this is tough. I think like as an educator, I have to always assume that everyone is trying their best. And I have to understand, like, that looks different for everyone. So the family that I never ever hear back from, like that's not a flaw of their being. It’s just part of the...you know, emailing me back is like the one thing that is too much for them. Or the family that I hear like too much from, you know? It's, it's just like their version of surviving and thriving, but also understanding that we can always expect that the people around us can do more. Like they're good, and whole, and worthy enough to hold themselves to a higher expectation, and sometimes we don't know how to do that unless someone else lets us know. I think of like, a friend of mine who went through young adulthood being like, “Oh. Well. You know, I'm not that good at stuff, and you know, I just kind of have this job, and it's whatever.” Until you know, we really spoke with her and said, “No, you're actually really capable, and you should consider going to a trade school or something.” Or, “You have like a really good knack for this skill and you should follow through with that.” And you know, sometimes we just never hear those things, or we hear them and we don't listen. Like our family, my parents always are saying like, “Oh. You are music. It's you. You're so good at it.” And I say thank you but it's one of those things like, on the inside, I never take, I never take those words in. I just kind of hear them and then they don't stick, and then someone else might tell you like, “ Wow. You're like a really considerate musician.” And I'm like, “Oh my gosh. You're right. I am.” So we can hear the same thing over, and over, and over.
I think of another friend who stayed with her partner like a really long time, and everyone of us was like this isn't healthy. Like you need, you deserve better ,and you are like worth it. And she was like, “Thank you. I'm going to stay with them.” It's like okay. And then finally like, some complete stranger talks to her and was like, “Girl, you deserve better.” And she was like, “Yes. You're right. I do.” Okay. Like, still happy for you, and you got to it in your own time. So I think the big thing is like don't be afraid to use your words. Cuz, you know, like, past you deserves to hear those words.
MOLLY: Yeah. That’s great. And so, for you, having art be or making art be a larger part of your life, and also being an educator being a very large part of your life, how do you balance it all? What are your...what are your tricks?
LAUREN: That’s a great question. When it's time for me to go home, I try to go home, which seems like a very silly small thing, but ultimately, the work is always going to be here, and I can always do more work. If I could, like, fill a seven day week with 24 hours a day of things I need to do for my job, oh I could do. I could do it so fast like there's a laundry list but ultimately if I don't do any of those things, and I show up, and I teach my class, and a let all my students know that I'm happy that they're there, the job ends up being just as good. So I'll get to those other 24/7 things that wake me up at 3 in the morning of like, “Oh. You should really redo this.” But also like I got to go home. It helps that I have a dog that I need to go home and feed, you know, and she’ll look at me like: excuse you, you are one minute late. She's extremely judgmental. I love her dearly. So that’s kind of balancing the work thing. And then balancing the performance thing seems much easier. Obviously with Grey Box, we check in, we check out, and it’s kind of like putting all the supplies in the brain away. That way when I leave, I'm only leaving with good things to think about. If it was like a particularly stressful rehearsal, I don't feel like I take that home with me. And I also play a lot of video games because they're nice and they reward you, with like, you know, so easily, and I like to play video games with really good stories about, like, doing good things because, you know, we could all use a little saving the world every now and then.
MOLLY: That’s great. Princeton's the same. He will, if I am back here like when it's clearly past my bedtime, he will jump up here. During the day, he doesn’t care. But like there’s a cut off in the evening.
LAUREN: Yes. My dog, she will, she will herd me out of the living room to bed, and make sure I go to bed, and close the door, and then she would go to bed.
MOLLY: That’s great. That’s really what it is. Our pets are like, “Uh we would like the house to ourself. So could you please fall asleep.”
LAUREN: The most considerate roommate schedule.
MOLLY: Yes, yes. That’s great.
LAUREN: Princeton really needs to have his time in the middle of the night to knock over all the muesli.
MOLLY: Yes. Brown rice was a thing of this week.
LAUREN: Very good. Tasteful.
MOLLY: Yes, right? Always. Always with the healthy food that he likes to get into. He has a really good like, the kale chips, and the blueberries, the muesli, the brown rice it's, it's very good for him. He’s obsessed with oat milk. Like, I should film it and send it to the world. It's ridiculous. And olive oil.
LAUREN: Very good.
MOLLY: Yes. Yeah. So for others who are also, like they’re educators, they’re artists, they’re pet parents, like, what advice do you have for others who are in a similar position as you? What are some things you have learned that you want to pass on?
LAUREN: Things that I think are helpful to others: stay hydrated. That’s really my big one. You probably are not drinking enough water. Or not drinking as much as you should. Water is good for us. It helps our systems function. It will clear up your skin. I'll get the bags out from under your eyes. You'll feel less tired in the morning if you wake up hydrated; and that's something that you can control. The weird people on social media, and unfortunately sometimes it feels like the government, and like complete strangers that might be like raging and spitting on others, we can't control those, but we can control our own hydration. So drink your water and know that you're better off than the people around you for it. And you know, don't be afraid to like go back to a story that you really love whether it's like a story in a video game, or like a TV show that you wanna rewatch. Like revisit something that you know how it ends, and you're okay with how it ends because there’s like a lot of comfort in that.
MOLLY: That’s great. Chugging my jar of water over here.
LAUREN: I've also got my mug of water.
MOLLY: Is that a unicorn?
LAUREN: Yeah, it’s a little unicorn water.
MOLLY: Nice. It kind of looks like a blue pig with a unicorn horn in like a hair swoop.
LAUREN: Why not? Oh yeah and the handle is like a rainbow.
MOLLY: Beautiful. Yes. Like a little pride piggy unicorn mug. Not bad at all.
LAUREN: I have a collection of absurd mugs at work. I have one that just says “worry” and it has a donut on it, and it's supposed to say “donut worry”. But I told, you know, I'm like, “No, it just says ‘worry’”. I have another one that's a pando, and it has a pocket in the front of the mug for a single cookie, and then the pando like holds the cookie.
MOLLY: Aww that’s adorable.
LAUREN: I have a similar one to this unicorn that’s just a big flamingo with a hat.
MOLLY: Excellent. Excellent. I didn't know you had a collection of them.
LAUREN: Yes. I have a tea kettle at work. This is me ascending to my greatest, most effective teacher, and organized, wholehearted life is having a tea kettle at work.
MOLLY: It makes a huge difference.
LAUREN: And then sometimes, you have someone visit you after school or during lunch, and I can offer them a cup of very hot water or even tea, and they’re like, “Tea is gross.” And I’m like, “Okay Get out now.”
MOLLY: I’m curious. Like, what has been your favorite show...I’m gonna separate it into like performance and process, like, of all the shows over the years, maybe all the events over the years, is there a process that sticks out to you or a performance?
LAUREN:Oo I think process was EMP_T_Y, and having the, the shapes that you had like deconstructed from like school shooting photos...
LAUREN: And then giving us those shapes with no context. And Crystal and I were like, mm doing a little like breakdancing, and then you telling us after the fact. Like days later. Like, “Oh yeah. This is where I got these.” And we were like, “Oh.. mm. Hmm.” You know?
MOLLY: That decontextualizing it. Yeah.
LAUREN: Yeah, and obviously, like, the whole thing buried in a pile of newspaper, like, I didn't know that was a lifelong dream until it happened. And I was like, this was where I'm supposed to be and what I was supposed to do with my life. I also really enjoyed Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice, generating the content with the text, and just, we had such a dynamic crew, and just so fearless and unapologetic like also, like all of us with our own like little insecurities just like coming together in this perfect empowered storm of, you know, like emulating like all of these things in culture. And, oh man, I just think that's like so many strong women figures that I'm just like, “Oh my gosh. You inspire me.” What a treat that was to work with everyone on that show.
I still think about It's Not That Simple a lot. I think like really with a connecting with the audience and just like what that meant for a lot of them. Although, like the content was more, like, obviously we're coming in from a previous iteration of the show with the content, so it’s a little less devised than some of the newer productions of Grey Box. But that one always stands out to me just because like I can remember some certain scenes, and I remember like the eye contact made with the audience. Like those really intense moments that, you know, it's like, I'm just looking at them but it almost felt like, like you, you make this eye contact with them, and they give you permission to kinda like look through them, and like into their life, in like this infinitesimal moment.
MOLLY: Thank you. Yeah, it's definitely been a bit of an evolution in terms of the process too because the work was like semi-devised when we started, and now it's like completely devised. And I think what would be really fun is to take Finger Painting for Grown Ups like the original 2014 script, and then put it into, I guess, a new process.
LAUREN: We would get like a totally different show.
MOLLY: Yeah we would. But I think some things need to stay.
LAUREN: Especially now...
MOLLY: Condom balloons.
LAUREN: Oh sorry.
MOLLY: Some things need to like, I still want the condom balloons, and I still want like the smoking lollipops, and snorting bags of candy, like I still want that in there. The juice boxes, the wine boxes as juice boxes. Basically, I’d just like, I just like to keep the props is what I'm saying. The show can change but I want the props to stay.
LAUREN: Oh that’s like a, that’s a whole several weeks of rehearsal right there is just devising with the props, and working backwards from there.
LAUREN: Oh wow. I think...what a groundbreaking moment of my life that show was, and realizing like, “Oh no, I’m not just this character,” like “I am this. I am this character.” Like on a really wild level and then understanding that I already had a solution to not be that way because of the work we did in rehearsal. But also, like, what does that show look like now that me, further into my adulthood, know how to better use my words, and explain things, and express feelings that have, you know, just been put off to the side for all these years. Like, if we got the crew back together, like did your life become horrifically, suffocatingly, busy again? What are you doing about it?
MOLLY: I don’t know if I ever shared this with the cast; but, because I had done this show in 2009 for, I don’t know, advanced directing or some undergrad course. And then when I revisited it in 2014, I felt like I was reading something I wrote to my future self.
MOLLY: Right? And like, I need to figure out how to fold that into the script.
LAUREN: Yeah. And I was thinking about this today with, obviously with like, being a teacher and we’re talking about like, “Well, if you get sick, you can’t really get a sub because you don’t know where the sub has been. Also no sub will come on campus. And all of your classes are online.” So, you know, they’re wanting us to, if we’re gonna gone or if we’re gonna get sick, to keep doing what we’re doing online. Or like, pre-record stuff, or like put up lessons, or like, they can get invited to another class. You know, like there’s all these options. And I’m like, “Cool. Options are nice.” Except, you know, in this Zoom world, we’re trying to be more conscious of our work days and not spending too much time in front of the computer, and I think what a wonderful opportunity, for like college students to like, “Okay, I’m out of town. Can I still come to class?” Before, if you asked to Zoom into a class, your professor will probably tell you no. It’s like, “You won’t learn as much,” or some other contrived reason. And now they’ve all been forced to let everyone Zoom in to class and they’re learning the same amount of stuff; and it’s just like slightly more inconvenient, but like, we’ve all done it once, right? And in the future, it should be better. But then, also, what does that mean for, like, our natural reversion to busy culture? Like does this mean later that kid who could be shut down from stress, are they going to be Zooming in to class from the hospital? Like, are we gonna use the fact that we can log in to anything from anywhere against us almost?
MOLLY: Yeah. Oo, that’s...a lot to process.
LAUREN: Yeah, it’s almost been, like it’s almost been this blessing of being able to prioritize what’s important. You know, a lot of people are spending more time with their family or reaching out to friends that they haven’t spoken to or other people who might be important to them. But will we also turn this into a massive disrespect of our outside work time?
MOLLY: Yeah. I’m gonna just like, let that hang there. And yeah. That deserves to just like, hang. And it does sound like a beautiful question to start a new show around, maybe.
LAUREN: A Zoom show about Zoom.
MOLLY: Yes. All right. Are you ready for some rapid fire questions?
MOLLY: Okay. What is your favorite prop that you have...oh man you’ve had so many. What is your favorite prop from a Grey Box Collective show and why?
LAUREN: Couch cushion from Finger Painting for Grown Ups because I got to hand it to an audience member.
MOLLY: Yes, nice. What is your favorite artistic risk that you have taken with Grey Box Collective?
LAUREN: Favorite artistic risk?
MOLLY: Uh oh
LAUREN: It’s Not That Simple in...what was that? 2015?
LAUREN: 2016. And you were staging people for like a new part in the show, and I slowly hid behind one of the counters, and you forgot about me. And we get to opening night and you’re like, “You’re behind there. I didn’t know you were there.” And it just, it worked and it ended up being fine in the performance
MOLLY: It was. I remember you like became one with the...for context, we were in a vacant bar restaurant. And you became one with it. That was a wild, wild, show process. All right. So what’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to Google for show research? Or like, the most bizarre rabbit hole of the internet you’ve gone down for a show?
LAUREN: Oh my gosh. I don’t know...I can’t...I think definitely one of our... It was actually at like an audition, and we had to like find images that went with text. And I remember we were looking up, I think we looked up images for creativity and then I got into these like weird eyeball paintings, and then you click on it and you go to other ones. And it was just like this weird surrealist artwork.
MOLLY: That’s fascinating.
LAUREN: Maybe, maybe Chris remembers. Okay. I think he was in my group.
MOLLY: Okay. Okay. Oh was that like during the kick-off event?
LAUREN: Oh. Yes, yes, yes.
MOLLY: That we did last year. You all...and you brought back Finger Painting for Grown Ups.
LAUREN: Mm hm
MOLLY: I only know this because I recently edited that footage.
MOLLY: Yes. Very cool. All right. To wrap it up, are there any other anythings that you would care to share today?
LAUREN: Last thing I would care to share, I still resent the recorder, the tape recorder from Understanding Otherness. I am 26 years old. I grew up with tape recorders and I still cannot figure out how to pause and record without wrecking the tape. Please, make me never have to deal with tape recorders again.
MOLLY: Okay. Noted. I will not encourage the use of it.
LAUREN: Everyone else can use them. Just don’t put me on that part.
MOLLY: Okay. Cool. Excellent. That’s a wonderful place to end. Would you like to do a check-out?
LAUREN: Yes. Checking out, Molly, how are you doing? What are you thinking about?
MOLLY: I am doing well. This was fun to wander down memory lane, all six years. And I’m thinking about food. Yeah. That’s what I got there. And I’m thinking about how, I think once we can finally be in shared spaces, and experience a live performance again, I think it’s time to...we’ll have to kick-off that with Finger Painting for Grown Ups. Whatever it turns into. Yeah. Lauren, how are you doing? What are you thinking about?
LAUREN: I’m doing, wow, so much better than when I started. Not like I was doing bad but again, always leaving the space feeling better than when I came in. I’m thinking about when, you know, obviously I’m excited for the upcoming virtual season, but I’m thinking about way future, maybe we do our ten year podcast, and go down this memory lane. So I wanna leave this weirdly specific memory from Finger Painting for Grown Ups and meeting the cast. Meeting Rashi and her like intro was like, you know, “Oh, I, you know, I’m Rashi and I love to touch people.” Because we were working on like, contact improvisation. And I just remember like, any time I’d work with her, I just have this like gentle touch around my face. And I miss that. I miss touching people’s faces in the name of art and in the name of dance. So I’m looking forward to like, contact improvisation again. Like that would be really wonderful and healing, I think.
MOLLY: That’s lovely. Thank you for that. Would you like to do a slow motion seal it?
LAUREN: Yes. I’ll even scoot back my chair here.
MOLLY: So we’re going classic with this one with the clap over head, with a kick, and a flexed foot.
LAUREN: All right.
MOLLY: Here we go. Awkward silence for listeners, but trust us that we are working very hard to clap at the same time.
MOLLY: Yes. Lauren, thanks so much for hanging out today. It was fun.
LAUREN: Thank you, Molly. I had a wonderful time.