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Workshop: The Play Party Retreat with Saara Rei (2017)

TO PLAY: to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

Example: “The children were playing by a pool.”

Synonyms: amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun, have a good time, relax, rest, be at leisure, occupy oneself, divert oneself, play games, frolic, frisk, gambol, romp, cavort, caper.

Playing is most often associated with something that children do. But if we think about what playing really is (i.e. engaging in activities for enjoyment and recreation), then we can’t deny that adults play as well, or at least that they should!

A play party is then a party where (in this case) adults come together to play. But how do we come together to play together? Answering this question for ourselves is what this retreat is all about. In this workshop, we will use techniques from theater, dance, BDSM, tantra, and ritual play to come together as a group to form two play parties of our collective, playful desire.

We will first focus on group cohesion, spending time becoming familiar with each other, understanding each other’s boundaries and how we can relate to one another as a community with the common goal of making a space where we all feel vulnerable, exploitative, and safe to be ourselves at our fullest.

We will then spend time building up to our first play party. We will dive deep into our most genuine selves, as well as explore using rituals, costumes, alter-egos, and masks to see how we can bring out, minimize, and exaggerate certain qualities within ourselves and see how our interactions with others in the group change, as we change. We will go both inwards and outwards, learning more about what we each desire for ourselves and about how our desires relate to the desires of the others in the group. 
We will also explore exhibitionism and voyeurism, consent culture in a play party context, and how to use verbal and nonverbal language to promote the space we have collectively created.

Slowness and sometimes even stillness will be essential skill that we will gain more comfort in throughout the retreat, to allow interactions to unfold, and for the play to flow without the use of force or expectation.
We will discuss performance and how performance, sound, and setting can be used to affect a space, and the people in it. Overall, the intention of this retreat is for all those participating to come out of it with the tools they need to go home and confidently play! We also hope to plant the seeds of the play party culture we know and love, and have so deeply been influenced by, of Berlin’s Schwelle7.

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