The Dramatic Work of Rich and Joyce Swingle

In the shadow of justice there is Compassion Corner

06.20.09 07:44 PM Comment(s) By Rich

I taught a sociodrama ( master class at the Christians in Theatre Arts ( National Conference in Orlando. We started the class at the conference, where I taught the history and basics of the dramatic/therapeutic form, then we took a free (thanks Orlando!) public bus to Compassion Corner, shown here, across the street from the courthouse. It's an ideal location for them, since their prime focus is helping clients move through the legal system as they look for jobs and housing. It's given them great visibility, and they now have volunteers from 14 churches and at least 9 denominations (off the top of the leaders' heads).

We had an amazing sociodrama with their clients. Our warm up was done in four small groups in which they had to come to concensus on a shared dream. Two of the groups had a dream of greater compassion in the world. They beat out dreams of family and a home.

The scenario was a rich man (played by a client) walking past a homeless woman (played brilliantly by a CITA member). Someone gave her a back pack, which she put on her back. The clients said, she wouldn't be wearing it because she'd have been carrying it too long. So we put her on a park bench. On the first pass the rich man moved away from her with a grunt. Then we talked about how the rich man could show more compassion. He took some suggestions from the group, and stepped back into the scene (this time played by a second client who tagged in with some great ideas). The rich man struck up a conversation, and he happened to comment on her sun glasses. She said she got them at the Salvation Army, and he said he used to go there. We talked about how we all have had low spots in our lives, so we prayed that people would be less inclined to look down on people who are there right now.
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