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Connecting with the Performing Arts

“I on the Sky”
Brittany Babott ~ Grade 4-9 Fine Arts Pre-service teacher
Werklund School of Education

A reoccurring theme in my drama classes the past term has been the exploration of what a ‘punctum’ is and how it relates to theatre.

The word punctum is a Latin word:
punc·tum
ˈpəNGktəm/
nountechnical
noun: punctum; plural noun: puncta
1. 
a small, distinct point.

I had first been introduced to this seemingly strange word a few years back when I attended a Ghost River Theatre workshop on devising theatre. Co-Artistic director David Van Belle had asked us to participate in an exercise where we would listen to a story and record 10 ‘punctums’, any part of the story that resonated with us or ‘pierced’ us. I have been fascinated with this term and its applicability to drama ever since.


I recently had the pleasure of being able to organize a field trip for all PVA (performing & visual arts) students to attend a professional play. All 200 of us ventured down to Vertigo Theatre Center to attend a YStage play called “I on the Sky” by DynamO Théâtre. The play is a beautiful showcase of the rigor of DynamO Théâtre; it is a non-verbal physical theatre piece incorporating movement, dance, acrobatics and gymnastics. The story is of a woman who has been exiled from her home country due to war, and how she is able to find comfort in memories as she is currently subjected to isolation.

The response from the students was varied based on personal experience, such is the magic of live theatre. I had asked the drama students to either discuss or to journal about their punctums. It was fascinating from an educator’s perspective as there were some similar threads – isolation, loss of family members, acrobatics and spectacle. Some responses were vague whereas others wove personal narratives and personal perceptions throughout. Centering conversations around personal connection and resonance was a really great discovery and learning for me.

1 comments:

  1. Brittany, it is always great to have a pre-service teacher share some insights relating to their practicum experience through the Connect! Blog. I now have a much better understanding of the meaning and significance of a punctum. Through your Vertigo Theatre, PVA field trip and follow-up activities you provided a rich learning experience for your students about the significance of punctums.

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