Tag Archives: Theater games

Improvising Breakthroughs in Difficult Conversations

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How can we engage in difficult conversations in a way that is productive, satisfying, and even FUN?

How can we open ourselves to learn something new about the other person’s perspective?

What is the difference between a response and a reaction?

DwD-Lauren

Lauren Stein presented an interactive, experiential exploration of “difficult conversations” at November’s DwD, engaging about 30 people in playful ways to approach these conversations – expressed as speaking and listening to concerns about criticism, personal emotions, relationships, money, and fears. Using the tools and experiences of improvisational theatre, Lauren showed us how to slow down conversations to separate reactions from responses. The goal of experiential learning was to identify and use internal information, both intellectual and emotional, to construct respectful responses rather than triggered or knee-jerk reactions.

Lauren emphasized the  philosophy of “Yes/And” as a relational tool, a way to stay on the same side of the other person, even if we disagree about a particular issue.  The exercises – from opening circle to improvisational conversation theatre – all reinforced the importance of an open and curious attitude.

From the very start, the OCADU Auditorium was buzzing with discussions, from the introductions, to paired exchanges into questions, to exercises exhausting the imaginative space of asking questions.

Some participants were asked deep questions and discovered things they did not know about themselves. People learned and took home new games for conversational exploration, such as the Curiosity Game and the Questions Game (based on the idea of asking your partner about anything you’re curious about). One couple even reportedly resolved a personal dispute just by using the improv principle of “Yes, And.”

Hobeen-Peter

The final exercise involved volunteer demonstrations of improvised conversations between participants acting out scenes drawn from their own feeling states.

Here two DwD participants, Hobeen and Peter improvise an emotional exchange between a worn-out boxer and his coach, both struggling with the will to win and the meaning of the match. Lauren skillfully set up the pair to adopt postures and positions, wait for the impulse, and to create the context and conversation as it emerged.

Lauren reminds us that sometimes the highest we can achieve from a difficult conversation is to understand the other person’s point of view and remain respectful.

 

About the Host

Warrior Woman-sm

Lauren Stein is director of Laurentina’s Improv Club, where she performs and facilitates improvisational theatre experiences. She has taught and performed all over the world, including Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, and Switzerland. With a Master’s in Expressive Arts Therapy from European Graduate School, she helps people awaken their creativity and overcome life’s hurdles through play.

Homo Ludens – The Playing Body

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An exploration of our physical relationship to media technology

October’s DwD session was hosted by Antje Budde of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studiesat the University of Toronto, affiliated with and inspired by the exhibition “SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine” curated by KMDI Fellow and international artist Nina Czegledy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WORKSHOP CONCEPT & CONTENT
Digital technology has a drastic impact on our lives and the way we communicate with each other. This has strong implications for how we engage our bodies in our communication, especially now that we are in constant contact with mobile computing devices. Through a series of live and mediatized physical exercises facilitated by theatre performers, this workshop will explore the role that our physical bodies play in this shifting technological context. 

Do we have to fear new developments or can we courageously embrace them? How can we maintain control over our bodies and body images? Playfulness and a healthy dose of doubt are a perfect mix to keep an empowering distance between us and the at times overwhelming demands of the multitude of devices now attached to our bodies and minds.

The workshop was created by the Digital Dramaturgy Lab (Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at UofT) and SLICE. The session will be conducted in collaboration with graduate students from UofT, York University and emerging local artists from Pandemic Theatre in Toronto, including: Art Babayants, Aidan Dahlin Nolan, Douglas Hamilton, Myrto Komarianous, Kat Letwin, Montgomery Martin, Tara Ostiguy, and Michael Reinhardt. 
Opening dialogue with roughly 50 participants inviting performance and participation.
One group improvised by performing and recording soundscapes (of city, farm, office, factory) with found materials. In the auditorium, the second half of the group built human shape tableaux to structure these same settings,
Presentation of the soundscape and human shape video mix, followed with inquiry and dialogue into the experience.

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HOST   
Antje Budde, a graduate from Humboldt-University, Berlin and the Central Academy of Drama, Beijing, is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. She is currently in the process of establishing the Digital Dramaturgy Lab in association with her home department and Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI). Her upcoming experimental performance piece “Artaud’s Cage” is investigating the possibilities and challenges of audio-visual motion tracking technology in live performance and will be presented as part of the conference “The Future of Cage: Credo” which will take place at the end of October 2012 in Toronto.

Dialogue with Clowns

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February 2011 DwD featured nonverbal participatory social presence, led by Heidi Madsen (Columbus, Ohio), Elsa Lam (Dzieci Theatre Troupe), and Patricia Kambitsch (Playthink).

Some of the exercises required attentive listening beyond hearing. Dexter Ico captures Four Clowns at  Bus Stop, performed here by all participants. The “lead clown” is given a scenario, the others, without peeking, peripherally pick up on the behavior and act the part until they all, somehow, learn together the scenario without it ever having been communicated. This is as funny as it sounds …