This past weekend, from Friday night through all day Saturday and all day Sunday, I participated in a workshop called "The Creative Dynamic." The workshop was given at the TAI Group (formerly The Actors' Institute) and has been around in different forms for approximately twenty years.
It began as a workshop for actors, teaching them how to connect more effectively with audiences and it became extremely popular as actors told friends who had all different kinds of jobs. I think I talked about this before - anyway, there were ten participants and a number of TAI trainers also in the room. There were a few actors and musicians, a business affairs person, a Yoga teacher, a corporate trainer who does similar trainings herself but came to TAI to experience their techniques. She was blown away. She was also seven months pregnant and I think she was happy to be there and not at home with her two year-old. There was also a college president. So, it was a mixed group with varied experience performing in front of audiences.
We all brought in something to "perform" - a song, a poem (the college president spoke in both Aztec and English), several speeches (FDR, Harvey Milk and a Tony Kushner speech), a monologue by Neil LaBute from "Fat Pig." I brought in the first five minutes of my monologue. Each person performed and then the leader, Gifford Booth, came up with some way to change the dynamic of the performance and to have the performer connect more intimately with the audience. I can't really explain it - I can just tell you that it worked every time. And then everyone in the audience wrote down thoughts about the performances (most of them extremely positive) which we all took home. I'm going to have my comments laminated and wear them around my neck every day of my life, since I don't seem to have much self-confidence of my own.
During the weekend, we also did acting exercises and danced. We danced in a group and one of the leaders would call out our name to lead. When it was my turn to lead, I did something so energetic that I hurt my back. Serves me right.
Anyway - the inner child in me had a joyous, fantastic and challenging time this weekend and I have to say that I pretty much loved every minute of it.
So, there will be no complaining out of me tonight. (Except it's still cold out. I couldn't resist. Sorry!)