InterPlay Q&A’s

What is InterPlay?

InterPlay is easy, fun, and life changing. It is based in a series of incremental “forms,” which are simple structures that lead participants to movement, story, and vocalization.

InterPlay is firmly based in affirmation and looking for the good. You don’t need to think of yourself as being creative in order to do InterPlay, but chances are you’ll find you are much more creative than you thought! You are likely to find that there is great wisdom in your body. InterPlay invites you to unlock that wisdom.

InterPlay is a global social movement that is dedicated to ease, human sustainability, and connecting a community of people around the world through a wide and deep variety of play. The Triangle InterPlay community is one of the members of this global organization.

Who Does InterPlay?

InterPlay is intergenerational, multicultural, and interfaith. InterPlayers come in all shapes and sizes. InterPlay is being done with elders and the very young and everyone in between. In addition, many people are applying InterPlay in their professional lives. In the community of InterPlayers, you will find people from a wide variety of careers. It is a community where dancers, scientists, musicians, engineers, counselors, business people, clergy, professors, computer gurus, tradespersons, teachers, and people from many other careers gather together and communicate in a common language of play.

How Did InterPlay Start?

InterPlay was developed by Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter, who have been collaborating as artists, performers, teachers, writers and philosophers for over 30 years. They have both been interested in how individuals and communities could regain a sense of integration and connectedness—how all the parts of our lives can work well together. They recognized that the process of creating in the moment has a powerful effect and is a great teaching tool. They have honed their technique for over 25 years, and many others have contributed to the wisdom of this system. It is constantly growing and changing as the movement spreads throughout the world.

How Does InterPlay Work?

InterPlay reconnects us with the wisdom of our bodies—what we know from paying attention to our own experience. We are often cut off from that wisdom by the expectation of others, by external authority, by fear, or by repression. InterPlay is rooted in creating, in looking for the good, in play. The InterPlay atmosphere is one of ease and fun, rather than struggle. We gain huge insights from the simplest of activities—learning through playing—and regain confidence in our ability to respond in the moment. Unlock the wisdom of your body and expand the possibilities in your life!

How Is InterPlay Used in Everyday Life?

InterPlay helps us reduce stress and regain balance in our lives. It gives us tools for dealing with unexpected or difficult situations. It helps us to be “lighter” and to savor the good things in our lives. It reminds us that sometimes the best thing to do is just breathe. It also creates community—a web of relationships that can support us in what we want and need.

What Happens in a Typical InterPlay Event?

Although InterPlay events can take different shapes, an event will generally begin with a warm-up and then move into a series of what we call InterPlay “forms,” which are simple structures for playing with movement, stories, and voice. There are a few basic forms which can be built upon to create more complex forms. The forms are taught incrementally, and are easy to learn. If there are new people at an event, we go over the basics as needed. Over the course of an event, or a series of events, participants will learn many ways to play with what a body can do.

Most of the forms involve interaction with one or more people, providing excellent ways to connect easily with others. You won’t be put “on the spot,” and there are many ways that you get to choose what you will do or not. In the process, you learn more about how your body works, what is possible, and how to find the greatest amount of ease in the process. You get to play a lot with your own “information,” perhaps what you are experiencing at an event, specific or general experiences in your everyday life, or what you have experienced in the past. You will also learn to move through self-consciousness in easy ways.

What is the Role of Performance in InterPlay?

InterPlay is, among other things, performance. To be more specific, it is improvisational performance. The words “improvisation” and “performance” evoke different thoughts and feelings in different people. If you are one of many people who feel intimidated, don’t stop reading just yet. You would be missing out on a fun and life-changing practice that you can do. Through improvisational performance, we create dances, stories, songs, and sometimes various combinations of all these things on the spot and in the moment. InterPlay is a technique that makes this sort of creating easy. It doesn’t presume previous training or skill but can incorporate your particular training or special abilities.

InterPlay expands the performance continuum. We might be creating in solitude with the blinds pulled, or we might rent a grand hall and charge admission. Or we might do anything and everything in between: performing for a partner in class, performing for a small group of people, performing for an audience of family and friends. All of these various levels of performing are valid. Participants in InterPlay have the freedom to choose the level of performing they wish to do. Chances are there are one or more levels of performing where you will discover authentic joy in doing.

InterPlay uses the stuff of our lives as its content. It tends toward real people and real stories, often highlighting what might sometimes seem mundane. It can be funny or poignant, pointed or broad, verbal or non-verbal, analytical or emotional.

Where and When Is InterPlay Happening?

InterPlay originated in the San Francisco Bay Area. The national office, which is called InterPlayce, is located in downtown Oakland, where events also occur on a regular basis. InterPlay is practiced in many parts of the United States and in other countries around the world. To learn more about InterPlay, visit the global InterPlay website. To find out about what, where, and when InterPlay classes are happening in the Triangle area, see our calendar of upcoming events.