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Interview with Lizbett

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Grayscale image of Lizbett Benge on the left, on the right of the image is the name Lizbett Benge, below the name is a quote "there is value in being an artist and an artist can be all encompassing in the same way a director artist is a healer..."
To find 'Alt text' right click on image and click on 'inspect' image

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?

All right, Lizbett. Welcome to Any Other Anythings? So would you like to start with just a little like introduction of the roles you’ve had with Grey Box?

LIZBETT: Absolutely. So the roles that I've had with Grey Box include being a performer in It’s Not That Simple 2018. And I’ve also taken on a directorial role, for two shows with Grey Box Collective.

MOLLY: Yeah, and is there a warm-up and/or a grounding activity that you'd like to share with us today?

LIZBETT: So, I think my favorite just kind of warm-up, a real quick kind of warm-up, and I would also say just check in, that I tend to be a fan of, is just opening with a gesture and a sound that communicates how you're feeling in that exact moment. And so, for me, right now, because I believe in modeling these kinds of things, my gesture is just gonna be deep shoulder shrug and *sigh*, cuz I need some air. Some breath.

MOLLY: Yeah. That feels nice too to just like mirror you right now, just like, “Oh. Oh those were locked up high. Thank you.”

LIZBETT: You’re welcome.

MOLLY: And thank you for describing it for those who are listening as well. I'll hop in and my gesture, so I’m fanning myself right now, and like a *exhale* with that, because our AC just went out. So it is toasty. Yeah.

LIZBETT: That double fan.

MOLLY: The double fan cuz my little fan is not pumping out much right now. Nice. So do you consider that your check in, your warm-up, and your ground down? Or do you wanna share some other ones?

LIZBETT: Okay. That I would consider just a really concise check in. As far as warm ups go, I really, forgive me, I don't know the exact name for this exercise, and in theatre we tend to be pretty, uh not naming things and naming where they come from explicitly. So this is just a thing I have learned along the way, which seems pretty par for the course. But it’s a count down where you’re kind of using all corners of your body. So I call my hands, my top feet. So like asking people to raise their top feet, and then plant their bottom feet, and just kinda shake out. Since I’m left handed, I go from left to right. You start at ten and so…

MOLLY: Ooo here we go.

LIZBETT: And so shaking out your left top foot. Uh huh and you really kinda get out of breath giving it like a ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one! Then you move to your right top foot. And then you move to your left bottom foot. I know it gets tiring, so I’m not gonna do all. But then, right, as you go ten, then you do nine, starting from the left, going around, eight. And that for me is a good kind of warm up because it really gets everything moving, and the time you hit zero, people are just like shaking, moving messes but in a really enjoyable way, I find. So that will be one of my favorite kinds of warm ups and as always, that can be modified in any way that people need. Using terminology that so fits. Or maybe you want to isolate that to just a head, belly, knee, or whatever works, right? To me, I think it’s just important to hit different parts of your body.

And then, a ground down...for that, I find asking people to find points of connection to be a ground down activity. And usually for me, I will ask people in their own space, in their own time, to find a point of connection; and I might call out a body part. So finding a point of connection between your eyes and an object in the room, right? And then asking people to focus. The you move to finding a point of connection between your left rib and energy you feel. So just, again, varying and also being cognizant of people’s abilities in that. You can also just ask people to move through the exercise how they would like with a broad kind of structure that you’re just focusing on finding different points of connection in different parts of you, and different parts of the space.

MOLLY: Nice. That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing those. I enjoy them all. And just the language that you brought to it as well like I think that's really...Oh there’s a kitty in the background. I think that's awesome. I think it's also just that like, open-ended prompting is so important so that people can really like take it where they need to take it in that moment.

LIZBETT: Exactly.

MOLLY: Yeah, and so then from that, where would you go with a rehearsal? Like if you were getting ready for your Hyphenated States rehearsal, and that's how you checked in, and you're warmed up, and you are grounding down, then what happens?

LIZBETT: If we’re at a point in the rehearsal where people are comfortable, in… and you know, I’m envisioning this as like an in person thing, but as I talk through that, I’ll also think about what that can mean in a digital space, or maybe we aren’t convening together in a physical ind of space but, I think my impulse then, would be moving toward partnering kinds of activities. From moving from finding points of connection between yourselves and the space, within that space, I image there being other kinds of people; and so, this is something that you did with us as well, throughout the rehearsal process for INTS, would be to just like, find another person, and find a point of connection with them physically. And then, moving into some kind of weight sharing. So that could look like something as simple as grabbing another person’s hand that is across from you, and people, both kind of leaning their weight backwards, and relying on that hand to kind of help keep them up in place. Just adding movement and awareness to that. So right, the shape that people are making can travel. And it doesn’t have to be far, it can be, you know, spinning in a circle with it. It can be taking one step to the left, perhaps. But I think that's where I would go in a physical space just to get people physically connected. And then, if we were in a digital space, we had just gone through points of connection, I might then ask people to, to show something that's in their space that they connected with. So for example, I have not eaten, so I have this burrito next to me, so I’m holding it up to the screen and showing Molly my burrito because I am just staring at it. And offering that as a way, to like, bring someone else into the space with me, but also showing a little bit of like, where I am at, and where my consciousness is, which is, you know, on food and this burrito.

MOLLY: Yeah, that’s lovely. That’s lovely. Especially since we are being invited into each other's home’s constantly right now. It's like what are some of the cues, or the the things that happen in our environments, that kinda let us kind of settle in here. Like food.

LIZBETT: And as a person who loves to work in found spaces with found objects, I think it’s also important to just highlight, you know, cool, this burrito can be something. In Hyphenated States, we had a yam as part of the show because someone just brought a yam with them to rehearsal. And so again, just honoring the fact that like, hey whatever you bring is whatever you bring, and like, I respect it.

MOLLY: Yes. Yes, I love that. Taking it not just to that point of whoever is in the room really matters and shapes the show, but it’s also like what are you physically bringing into the space because that might also make it into the show. I was wondering if the yam was going to come up in conversation and I'm really glad that it did.

Could you talk a little bit more about Hyphenated States, I guess version one and version two?

LIZBETT: Okay. Is there...that feels like a big question.

MOLLY: It is

LIZBETT: Is there a point of entry that would be maybe most helpful?

MOLLY: I'm thinking maybe chronological, and taking that like creative process lens through it as a director?

LIZBETT: As a director, I'm trying to...I generally feel a little out of my element taking on the role of director. And I understand, right, intellectually, I get that that can be and mean whatever I need it to be, and mean. However, the way that I was trained, right, was that a director means like I am facilitating the space, and holding it in this way, I have a vision that will be executed, and you all, it is your job to figure out how to execute my vision. That’s not how I work, so, Hyphenated States, particularly the first iteration, was really about, one, me figuring out how do I figure this out for myself? And work with people who can also help figure out and shape a show in a way that feels ethical? In a way that still feels nuanced? In a way that feels honest. So like there’s that aspect of it. And then creatively, I love me a good structure, and I feel as though I can look at, or absorb, or see, hear, you know, just experience different things that provide structures. And I like to translate those structures into different spaces.

So for example, Hyphenated States, is about foster care. Particularly the foster care system in Arizona. Foster care in and of itself is an entire. And what I wanted to do in the first iteration is figure out, cool, what are some structures we can work that are from foster care but artistic? And can live in an artistic kind of place, and communicate what the system is without overtly saying: here is the process of foster care in Arizona, and what it looks like, and here’s the bureaucratic mess. So, so that’s kind of the process for version one and I’m happy to expand on that if there’s anything you want me to say, particularly.

And then in the second iteration, which I think, there was about, nine months in between the two, maybe? Does that sound about right, Molly?

MOLLY: About right.

LIZBETT: Okay. My sense of time is all over the place, so…

MOLLY: That’s okay. Yeah, I feel that. I think it was about, it was essentially Spring to Fall.

LIZBETT: Oh yeah. Okay. So in that amount of time, I felt a little more comfortable being like, okay, this I learned from Cornerstone Theater, right? Like you can always make things more collaborative. And that was a goal for me, was to make things more collaborative. I don't believe that, you know, I had the directorial, with a capital ‘D’ vision of like, this is this thing, you're gonna make this thing. But it was a process of just like, cool, yeah, let's literally just like things. I’m gonna massage them. I’m gonna take a little more time with it. And we’re gonna look at foster care in the ways that you all want, and you know, hey ensemble, what are some of the themes that you see? What are some movements that we keep repeating in the rehearsal process? What’s the mirroring that’s naturally happening amongst people? What are the stories that are just emerging from what we’re doing together? And then trying to shape those together in a way that felt, again, just good and honest, in that it was nuanced and challenged us. So, there wasn’t, if I think about the specifics of the rehearsal process, I don’t think there was a huge difference in terms of the activities that we did or the exercises. But the material that was generated because of people’s lived experiences was vastly different between the first iteration and the second.

MOLLY: Yeah. Thank you for all of that and walking us through it. Could you, could you talk more about like, kind of the in between of iteration one and iteration two, of that self-reflection to get to the point of wanting to amp up the collaboration?

LIZBETT: Okay. Part of my desire to do so came from reflecting on the fact that I, I hadn’t necessarily explored what my own creative process was in ensemble-based work; because I am so used to being an ensemble member, and I love working in that way. You know, where I’m a performer, and I’m bringing whatever, and ultimately someone says like, “Uh… yes. No. Maybe. Mm hm,” you know? And so for whatever reason, it felt necessary to me, that I started kind of, you know, okay, let’s feel out what this thing is but I'm going to, I'm going to do that as more of a solo process because I don't know how to communicate necessarily what I’m experiencing, or what I hope to achieve even, or what my like big vision is in this. So, once I got to the point of being like, okay, the show happened. We had a compressed timeline. We still made something that felt good, that communicated a message. But what does it mean, and I remember this in our production talks together, like what does it mean to come see a quote, unquote, “Lizbett production”? And that question just kept eating at me and I was like, “Ah I don’t know.” How do people see a piece of art and like, “Oo, Lizbett had a hand in that.” So I realized...Cool. Maybe if the only hand I have in it is saying, this is about foster care, I can let everything else fall to the wayside, and let people just be. And I can share my ideas a little bit more transparently about, here’s how I see the show shaping up, and here’s a thing, but I don’t...can we try this and you tell me what you think? So that’s, that’s part of the reflective process that happened, and also you know, I was also doing a really solitary process of writing my dissertation, which I wanted it to not be such a solitary process, and didn't quite know how to make it otherwise. Which was like, “Cool. I need to make art about this.” And yeah, so that really forced me to like, open it up.

MOLLY: Yeah. That's great. I'm surprised, just like listening to you talk and also having gone through these processes with you for the past two years, I'm very surprised to hear you stay that director feels out of your like wheelhouse. Out of your like comfort bubble.

LIZBETT: Why does that surprise you, can I ask?

MOLLY: Yeah! I just think of you as like having so many ideas, and this is, and getting to know you really through the rehearsal process of It’s Not That Simple, of you always, like your brain’s always going, and you're always generating things. And so it felt very natural, I think, to just see you move into a director role quite quickly.

LIZBETT: Thank you! For me the fear comes around, I love performing, and I miss it a whole lot. And so part of my own fear around directing is like, oh I’m just gonna like step in, and I wanna be part of the ensemble, and I wanna be on stage, and I wanna do this. You know, and there’s like a time and place. There are directors who do that. But I didn’t necessarily think this was the time, or place, or space. So that’s my own hesitation around things.

MOLLY: Yeah. Makes sense. Makes sense. But yeah, I just wanted to name that. I didn’t know that that was something that felt like, out of the bubble.


MOLLY: Mm hm. So are you planning to get back into performing right now? Or are you looking at more directing things? Or some other creative role?

LIZBETT: I am not entirely sure for myself. You know, I want to do all of it. So my answer is yes but I don't know who or what timeline I’m working on. You now, like it doesn’t feel like my timeline right now. So when that will happen and how, remains a little but of a mystery, particularly because I just relocated to Minnesota. And I know two people here. So I’m just working on building that, and hoping to get connected to the community here, and stay involved in Grey Box in some way, shape, or form.

MOLLY: Yay. So then backtracking, you were writing a dissertation while creating a performance, and all the things that you do beyond those two items. So how, how did you sustain it? How did you survive and make it to the end of all of that as an artist and as an educator too?

LIZBETT: I've been, I've been chewing on that question. Particularly because of the word balance in there. And I have come to the realization for myself, at least, you know, what Lizbett’s self right now needs is, I don't need to balance that. And I'm not trying to balance that instead, I'm trying to ask myself, you know, how can I just bring this; bring being an artist into everything that I do and I, I believe that I do, right? But it’s a matter of making it more explicit for myself in how I am doing that. Because for me, being an artist is about the unique ways that I think we can make connections amongst things. And I, I find that to be like, utterly, utterly important and that can be done any time, space, form, you know. So it’s just like, hey how can I bring some creativity into this?

So for example, today I just moved into this place, and there’s supposed to be light cleaning that comes on Wednesdays. And they were like, oh if you don’t want us to come, put a note on the door. And I was like, great. I will put a note on the door. Sure enough. I barely have any paper anywhere, and I sure as heck don’t have anything like to adhere the paper to the door with this note. And I don’t want anyone to bother me. So I’m like, okay. Cool. Time to be creative. I’m gonna bring some art into this. How can I leave this note on the door? And so, I dug in my trash, I found this wrapper for a McChicken which I, you know, had gotten modified, so I had a little sticker on it that said like my special order. And I was, perfect. I was gonna use this sticker off of my McChicken wrapper ,and I’m gonna use that wrapper, and I’m just gonna like post that on the door, and say, nope, don't want any cleaning. And for me, that was a way to sustain myself and know like, there is value in being an artist, and an artist can be all encompassing in the same ways that a director can, you know; and I was asked that question at my dissertation. Michael Rohd asked me. He was like, “Lizbett, what does an artist mean to you?” And my response to him at that time in April was, “An artist is a healer.” With some caveats, right? Like particular kinds of artists because not everyone making art or who is creative is questioning the status quo. But the kind of socially engaged artist that I believe myself to be, and that I believe Grey Box artists to be; yeah, we’re healers, and I’m not necessarily trying to balance that with anything. I’m trying to live in that, and be that, and embody that, and let that out into the world, add that.

MOLLY: That’s beautiful. Yeah, I love that. I my brain’s spinning. Thank you. I appreciate that.

LIZBETT: You’re welcome.

MOLLY: Yes. So like can we hang out with like the healer idea, and how that related to Hyphenated States or It's Not That Simple? And since both of those, trauma was a part of the content that you were creating, and then thinking of artists as healers, how do you see those all hanging out together?

LIZBETT: So I’ll say that at least where I’m at right now, I don't necessarily view healing as a desire for wholeness, in the ways that other people talk about healing. Cuz a lot of what I’ve read of encountered in, you know, feminist disability studies, for example, is this questioning of like, what are our norms? What if, what if people just will not be whole in the ways that maybe society deems normative, or appropriate, or desirable, you know? And so, as I think about healing and artistry in It’s Not That Simple and Hyphenated States, for me, maybe what could be part of that healing work for us was about the stories that we tell ourselves, and what we, what we hold, and the kind of narrative healing that might happen for us. And us meaning anyone involved in any part of that creative process. So it could be the audience, it could be the sound designer, it could be the director, a performer, anyone, you know? So how to make sure that there is some kind of honoring and respect around just like people showing up as they are; however that is, right? I think that is already a part of healing because I don't want to place demands on people's existence, you know, like to exist is enough. So, cool, how can people also find some like joy and pleasure in their existence as it is?

So, in INTS, for example, for me, as an ensemble member, it was a difficult time because I was also teaching a class about sexual violence, and then doing this show, right? As a person who has experienced far more sexual violence than I would like to admit. And then, in that process, people disclosing little things here and there outside of a classroom context, you know, where I'm not a mandated reporter. And their just being like, okay cool. The cool part of it being, here is an opportunity to just physically be with other people, and co-regulate with people. So like, doing movement. We did a lot of mirroring kinds of activities which, you know, physically moving around and literally mirroring someone. But in that too, I think the deeper kind of healing that you were having us do was, right, aligning our, kind of, nervous systems with one another, and literally co-regulting. So, that gave me a chance to also re-narrate things for myself to say, “Oh. I can make this beautiful art with people about this. And I don’t have to carry this pain alone.” Which is like, making me emotional right now but that’s great, and I like honor that in this moment. And I hadn’t so explicitly been able to take that idea of sexual assault, rape culture, sexual violence for myself and just look at it, and exist with it, in so many different ways. So we did mind mapping about it. We did, you know, movement-based things. We did partner, you know, exercises where we would generate material. We did solo work. We played with different technologies. And in that process, I realized, oh okay... This is what we do when we are trying to look at the grey areas of things, and not just present one narrative. So we can do that with all these different kinds of forms and technologies. So that’s what I’m gonna do in Hyphenated States because I got to experience something that was healing in that way. And I was able to latch on to different narratives and internalize different messages for myself. So when working on a show about foster care, so like, that can be a deeply traumatic experience for people. Even like, if they have no direct system involvement, constellation care and people involved in that system, is so vast and broad that, you know...One of the counsellors for EMPACT, for example, was there at the show, was also like, “Yeah. I’ve had experience with people who’ve had these experiences and even me seeing this show was like, oh here’s all the other things that exist in that world.”

And so, I think the, the art, the socially engaged art, in particular, gets us to a place of, maybe not having to embody and take on that role of like, you know healing, healer, all by ourselves. But to do that together and recognizing that real transformation in that is not, you know, me being director, healer saying, “I'm going to do this for you.” But here are a bevy of tools that people can take up to do what they need with in the world, and that, for me, is the healing.

MOLLY: Thank you for sharing all of that, and I also love that you brought up like I feel like so often we feel like we're preaching to the choir. Like who shows up to a show about a sexual violence are like people who already know we should be talking about sexual violence. But I think, I’m thinking, my own experience with your show around the foster care system of, it allowed this deepening and, and expansion. I got a really below the surface level, in a good way, of the nuances that happen in the system. And like my inroad into that world of knowledge is through sexual violence, that is where my, my focus is. But still just even, counsellors going into these spaces are like, “Woah. Like okay. I thought that I got it, but know I like get it.” And I think there's something about like we can just constantly keep digging deeper, and, and get to that space of holding multiple truths through this work.

You brought up co-regulation, co-regualting. So, I’m curious to hear, first of all, maybe toss a definition out there, or like some idea of what it is, and then what the role of co-regulation might be within a rehearsal either as a performer and/or as a director.

LIZBETT: I am open to being gently corrected about this in this point in the process. But even though, you know, I’m a quote, unquote “doctor,” you know, my basic understanding of co-regulation is that we can experience events, and you like, you store that within you in some way. Even if it’s not perceptible to you, and you know, this can throw off your balance in some way, right? Of your nervous system. And so co-regulating tends to be a, a way to restore balance of nervous systems, and that happens by...I think it can be as simple as breathing with someone. You know? And that’s my simple understanding. Would you say...because again I don’t want to give out anything that is far field and wrong, would you say that’s accurate?

MOLLY: Yeah. I think that's in the lane, or whatever metaphor, and I think, I don't think I’ve shared this with you, I have some like issues...I have some squishy feelings around the idea of co-regulation. And normally, the way that I can hang out with that concept is also knowing that co-resilience also comes with it. Like we can be resilient with each other, and that’s what it’s really building. I have issues with the word “resilience” too. So…

LIZBETT: Me too.

MOLLY: Yeah. I think for our like general conversation, that works.

LIZBETT: Okay. Thank you. Can you remind me of the second part of the question if there was one?

MOLLY: There was. Doesn't mean I remember it. I’m going off script. The role of co-regulation in rehearsal spaces as like a performer and/or director, or collaborator if you prefer to use that word.

LIZBETT: Yeah. The...sometimes for me, that idea of co-regulation is more salient in a space than other times. And I don't know how to vocalize what they intuitive process of figuring that our is necessarily, or else I’d like happily share. I will say, particularly in Hyphenated States where I went from working with two people, to then working with three people, you now, so smaller ensemble, that it can...The first two people in the first iteration, you know, not having direct system involvement, I don’t think I was necessarily as focused on co-regulation as I was in the second iteration where, you know, of the four of us together, I’m putting myself in that group, three of us had direct system involvement. And so, it became little a...Yeah it became not a little, a lot more apparent to me, that, “Hey, we have these shared experiences. Like what are other things we can share with each other without causing and creating harm?” And to me, co-regulation became important to just like, be together and in sync with someone. Because if we think about the violence that the system causes, a lot of it is about disrupting our connection to ourselves and others. So that became a way for me to just look and think about like, “Okay, when are the moments of togetherness?” And I don’t think I thought about, overtly, the language of co-regulation in that, but just points of connection and being together. That became very important throughout the process. And that was just based on my own read of things, you know. The emotional responses in the space that people would have when telling stories, or working through movement sequences, and I was just like, “Hey, what’s a way to have people feel supported?” Like I can tell them but how about people feel that? Like, you know, that’s a little, that’s a little deeper in my book, and maybe people can appreciate that. So, that’s, that’s kinda how that showed up for me and became important.

MOLLY: So then, with your experience of creating socially engaged work around the foster care system, what advice do you have for others who might be interested in also creating work around foster care?

LIZBETT: A couple of different things. And one of the things being, I think it’s utterly important that whoever everyone’s collaborating with, have some kind of experience. So while in the first iteration, neither Britney nor Michael, right, the two ensemble members had no direct system involvement, like, cool, there’s me. I do, like you know my, my name is still on, I’m still helping shape this. And there’s often... I talk about this a lot, and I feel like other people do too but like, okay, it’s worth saying again. There’s common deficit narratives around like, “Oo, dang. That sucks. That’s just a traumatic experience.” Like, “Oo. Oh. Poor kids,” you know, it’s so much more than that. And I don’t think any of us who have had direct system involvement want people’s pity or sorrow, or their savior complexes. So when making art about these things, please think about, for me the language I use was highlighting people’s strategies for survival. And you know, that doesn’t have to be the language that other people take up. But, it not just being about how much it sucks. Like, you know, sure that’s part of it probably for a lot of people. But that’s not the whole of it and that does a disservice to both people and their experiences, and the nuances of the system itself. So, that would be a word of advice for sure.

And that you know, what we’re talking about – trauma-informed care, or trauma-informed creative practices, you know, as we’re having this conversation. And so I think I wanna make explicit that it is important that there are resources and support for people. Because this can be overwhelming, and I don’t wanna say like, “Oh you need a licensed social worker in the room.” Like I don’t...that’s not my belief; but I do think that people need to be prepared for someone to say, “Actually, I can’t do this anymore.” Or for someone to say, “You know what? I don't have access to, to food right now.” You know, or, “I don't have a way to unpack anything that we’re doing.” And to be ready to provide resources, if not yourself as some kind of resource, right? Like be aware of your own boundaries. Like what are the community supports? What are the supports within the ensemble if that’s the kind of work you’re doing? And know that the tangible things like, housing, food, water, sleep, like those are things that a lot of people don’t actually have access to. So to think that they can come to a rehearsal and, you know, just have their needs met is probably a little naive.

MOLLY: Mm yeah.

LIZBETT: I mean, there’s plenty more I could say but I’m gonna leave it there and…


LIZBETT: Uh yeah.

MOLLY: Yeah. Lovely. Thank you. Are you maybe ready for some rapid fire questions and to then wrap it up?


MOLLY: Okay. So, here we go. They’re like “rapid fire”, ari quotes. We’ll see how this goes.

LIZBETT: Am I supposed to answer fast? A buzzer?

MOLLY: Right. I’ll ship you a buzzer. We’ll have to do it again. Okay. What is your favorite prop and why?


MOLLY: From any of your Grey Box shows.

LIZBETT: Mm… the notebook that we used in INTS because for whatever reason, memorization has just gone out the door for me, so it felt good to have a thing that had words there that know, if I needed it, it was there.

MOLLY: Yeah. I was anticipating that you would bring up the yam here but I’m glad that the yam made its appearance earlier. What is your favorite artistic risk that you have taken within Grey Box Collective?

LIZBETT: Ooo okay so in Hyphenated Stated Two, we had these three moments of like highs, I would describe them as. As like, you know, depicting people in literal moments of altered states and being high in different ways. And to me, it was a risk to be like, “You know what? I’m not gonna subscribe to the way that I was trained, where it was like, you come sober to the space and this, this, and this.” Like, I don’t think that’s how it worked for a lot of people actually. And so to overtly say, “Yup, we talked about drugs in the rehearsal process, and here it is on the stage for you.” I think, that was my favorite moment, or risk.

MOLLY: Mm hm. Okay. Feel like this is going based on that, related, perhaps. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to Google for show research? Or like just the general rabbit hold you might go down of, of odd show research?

LIZBETT: This is not so much as odd as it is disheartening. But it feels appropriate to share it here. So I was printing out a bunch of things, because in Hyphenated States phase two, we just get a lot of file folders and papers everywhere. But I wanted the papers to have stuff on them. And so, you know, cool, stuff about foster care. That will be on papers. There is an entire database in the Arizona Department of Child Services website that lists the cause of death for minors in care; and so as I was finding, you know, printed matter for this, I came across the database, and I was reading, and there are things that...none of it was publicized, none of them I knew about, and by the names, one could glean, that these were perhaps children of color, and all different ages. And I don’t know... that, that was a rabbit hole that I did not expect to go down and just like stayed there for a minute.

MOLLY: Yeah, I didn’t know that that’s what you had on all the paper.

LIZBETT: That was in some of them. Mm hm

MOLLY: Mm... Mm hm. Okay. And then last thing is any other anythings?

LIZBETT: I’ve been working with, you know, the idea of holding, holding new and different ideas. And particularly, for myself. Like how, how can I hold new ideas for myself? Or what new ideas can I hold for myself? And one of them being that I just...I love movement. And I want to move more. And I don’t want like a credential that says, “Oh you can move in these certain ways through the world.” Mm mm. I’m not interested in like getting a dance degree.

But I find it beautiful the ways people can hold new ideas for themselves, and not just in like a: “Is this a quarter life crisis? A midlife crisis?” You know, like not that. But I wanna, I wanna just like, shout out to all the people who are taking risks, and holding new ideas for themselves, and new ideas for other people, and different ones, and just travelling the terrain of what that can be. And I’m finding that, particularly, in this moment in the world, like a heartening place to be, and a pleasurable place to be; as opposed to disheartening and displeasurable. So yeah. My gentle, hey like, there’s probably a new idea you can hold for yourself. Like what might that be? Even if you just entertain the possibility, and not manifest it in some great way, like, cool, yo did that.

MOLLY: That’s great. That’s a lovely place to end. Thank you so much!

LIZBETT: You’re welcome!

MOLLY: Would you like to check out? How you doing? What are you thinking about?

LIZBETT: Okay. Let’s do that.

MOLLY: Okay. Do you need an etch-a-sketch?

LIZBETT: Yeah. Okay, let’s just, let’s do all that, and whatnot.

MOLLY: Okay. Ready?


MOLLY: Go for it if you wanna lead.

LIZBETT: My… how am I doing and what am I thinking about. So I’m, I’m doing all right. I had a therapy session an hour before this. And so, I’m left feeling like, “Okay, cool. This is one way to process, of many.” And so, I’m grateful for this space to do so. And excited that maybe people will find something in what I’ve said which is like, “Oh my gosh, yes!” And then, what am I thinking about? So I’m using this gummy, squishy, ropey kind of thing that’s like a softer fidget, and I’ve been pulling it like a worm, and just thinking about like, “Oh, I’m not teaching in person, so I don’t necessarily know how to get people little fidgets and things,” and you know, they’re not things that we can reuse necessarily because germs and Covid. So I was thinking about that more specifically. Molly, what about you? How you doing? What are you thinking about?

MOLLY: I am doing okay. The fan has kicked in, my left shoulder is like cold, my right shoulder is definitely not. So I’m gonna figure out how to balance that out somehow without just...I don’t know. And also just you bringing that up and like I grabbed my stress ball that I keep nearby. And I love teaching online because I can have it just off screen, and like take care of my own needs to fidget without being unprofessional or whatever. So yes. I’m thinking about how you were holding the space for movement for yourself, and that new idea of movement, and I was editing footage from our kick off event from last year about this time. I was editing that this morning and there’s a shot of you in it where you’ve got this like big movement happening, and it’s a lot of movement. You’ll see it. I’ll send you the footage. So I wonder if that like, maybe that idea was hanging out longer than just recently. Maybe. Maybe. Cool Awesome.

Do you wanna etch-a-sketch and seal it? Does that feel appropriate?


MOLLY: Okay. So...all right, so we shake it out. We started with some shaking too. So etch-a-sketch, getting the whole body, shaking everything out, and whatever form you’re in right now.

LIZBETT: I’m seated. It’s a lot of hips and shoulders.

MOLLY: It is. I’m a little worried for my chair right now. And then a slow motion, we’ll do a clap with a kick as best we can online. Just a slow mo… yes. There it is!

LIZBETT: As Molly and I are awkwardly staring at each other. I was looking at her shoulders.

MOLLY: Yup. Yup. My shoulders. Wondering which one’s cold. Yes. Wonderful. Thank you so much, Lizbett!

LIZBETT: Thank you!

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