VIEW from the Inside – a participant’s reflection

A recent participant in the VIEW from the Inside program, was kind enough to share  these thoughts about the experience.
When I was originally contacted by WP Puppet Theatre about joining a group of individuals regarding a puppet workshop, I was a bit reticent. I know next to nothing about puppets and only had my memories of Punch and Judy characters from my childhood and and the Muppets collection of characters that my kids grew up with. 
However, the title of the Workshop, “The View from the Inside” did catch my attention and there were some accompanying facial masks that were unlike anything that I have ever seen. I do have a bit of a creative thread running through my life and was captivated by all the colours, textures and themes displayed in the masks. The Puppet Theatre was also looking for some seniors to trial this program and as I am over sixty and retired I was seen as a suitable candidate. I took a chance and decided to “give it a go”.

Several weeks later I was supplied a paper bag full of various art supplies. Various paint brushes, paint, colourful odds and ends, and one plain white mask. I had to wait for the first Zoom mtg to gain some instructions as to how we were going to progress. Briefly, the first  weeks focused on the external aspects of the mask and how I might express and represent myself externally.  This was an interesting challenge and I found myself drawn into an artistic “flow” of ideas to try to capture my external essence. I even found myself visiting a couple of Art stores to look for some different art supplies. During the next sessions, we were challenged to give expression to our “inner” selves  and share a glimpse of my equally important personal world and what “artifacts/symbols” I could utilize to reveal how I am connected to the world around me. By this time I felt safe enough to share a little about “me” and enjoyed getting to know the other participants and their uniqueness of character. Interestingly, and surprisingly, we were becoming a “community”.

In these COVID19 days, I really enjoyed the mask making process and the contact with the other participants twice a week. During the final week, we were again challenged to make our own “face puppet video” and give our completed mask puppet a voice. I guess this is the essence of puppetry and as scary as it was to accomplish, I finished “giving it a go” and was very satisfied with my result. Who knew I could do such a thing? Certainly not me!

The hardest aspect of the program when the weeks were finished was saying goodbye to the other participants. This workshop was meaningful at a personal level and reaffirmed that given the right situation, circumstance and direction a community can arise. I have heard it said, “that if you can understand a persons story, you will better understand the person.” The most meaningful take-a-ways of this program was the affirming value of staying connected to people and the value of taking the time to listen to the complexity of their stories. I have also been inspired to continue to explore my creativity.  

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