Over the course of three weekends in Spring 2021, APTP gathered more than 50 Chicago students, teachers and artists together on zoom for Remote Learning Curve, a project envisioned by Associate Director Maggie Popadiak to memorialize through storytelling and performance the unique challenges of remote learning during the Covid pandemic.
Friday evenings were dedicated to storytelling, with students and teachers sharing their experiences of adapting to remote school and of trying to do school during a year that was terrifying and destabilizing in so many ways. Our storytellers include APTP ensemble members, teachers from our APTP@School partner schools, and APTP alumni now working as teachers (teaching is the most common profession chosen by APTPians).
On Saturday mornings, APTP teen and adults artists returned to the zoom to spend the day devising scenes inspired by the stories we heard. Each weekend concluded with a Saturday evening show-and-tell of the works-in-progress created that day. One particular delight of the weekend was seeing APTPians from different generations create and perform together for the first time, as alumni from 10 and even 20 years ago collaborated with current ensemble members and more recent alumni.
As heavy and painful as many of the stories were, we found encouragement in the solidarity and compassion shared by students and teachers alike. We may return to Remote Learning Curve down the road to create a full-scale performance. For now, we hope you enjoy these scenes created during those exploratory weekends in Spring, 2021, recorded straight off zoom just minutes after the scenes were devised and less than 24 hours after the stories were shared. This is a true glimpse into the APTP process…pandemic style.