Playwright Lauren Goldman Marshall will direct a three-day workshop at CSUN for adults who have learning disabilities or want to learn theater techniques that can enhance communication skills for individuals with learning disabilities.
The workshop, called “Theatre of Possibility for Autism” will take place at CSUN’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing on Friday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 13.
The workshop was created by Marshall five years ago using theater techniques from Brazilian director Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed.” Marshall uses these techniques to practice relationship skills for youth with Asperger’s, Autism, ADHD and other related disabilities.
Boal’s theater techniques include image theater (sculpting images to represent thoughts and feelings), forum theater (role play solutions), rainbow of desire (exploring a spectrum of emotion), and cops in the head (hearing and responding to internal criticism).
“In theater, people tend to be more accepting, therefore (those with learning disabilities) can feel more comfortable to explore themselves. In theater, we celebrate being original and being different,” said Eric Austin, theater major.
Austin described himself as introverted in the past and attributed his experiences in the classroom as a theater major in helping him become focused and people-oriented.
“You sort of enter into a different realm almost, where just about anything goes. You don’t have to follow social norms all the time,” said Wesley Rodriguez, theater minor. “Since autistic kids don’t always follow the social norms I would follow, it is an interesting environment for them to explore.”
Although Marshall lives in Seattle, she has worked nationally as a playwright and a theater director since the 1980s. Some of her award-winning plays include “Waiter” and “There’s a Slug in my Latte”.
In her years as a co-artistic and producing director of Seattle Public Theatre, she worked with youth groups to explore conflict resolution and empowerment in the touring Theatre of Liberation program. Marshall also co-founded Aspire Girls, a social group for girls with Asperger’s, and has a daughter with Asperger’s syndrome.
CSUN undergraduates and graduates are welcome to attend the workshops along with teachers, therapists, counselors, parents and care providers.
To attend the workshop, participants must register and pay a $125 to $150 fee after Sept. 20th to attend all three days. Fees include meals and supplies.