Ola Faleti was in the Free Street ensemble 2009-2010. She was in the ensemble that toured to Thailand and created work in a cultural exchange with local youth artists. Ola is a founding member of NeuroKitchen and serves on the board. Ola is a published writer (ie: apologia, To Mold a Star without Burning (or, Jean-Michel Basquiat: An Art Critique), or Omniscience) who works as a development manager for 826CHI, an organization devoted to supporting youth with their writing.
When I think of entities that influence my writing process most, Free Street is at the top of the list. I'll always remember the rush after doing emotionally-charged contact improv: pens would fly in the air, paper would scatter, and a room of 15 or so teens would write. I learned to not judge my first thoughts, just accept them and see where they take me. I still take this approach when I write now. And I never, ever get writer's block.
Our three-week Thailand trip felt like the culmination of the things I learned at Free Street. To make art with another theater troupe as playful and curious as we were was an experience that can't be replicated. Many good moments to remember, from our time rehearsing together with the northern Thai countryside as our backdrop, to our night time adventures. More than anything else I remember the kindness and hospitality of the troupe that hosted us. And the power of collaboration - an essential tool for creating good art and creating bonds that transcend language and culture.
- Ola Faleti
(written December 2018)