Dr Erika Jacobson
“I cannot do it”, “I am too old”, “I don’t know enough”, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, “nothing ever changes”, “ I’ll never make any money”, “to get on in life you have to be realistic”, “I won’t be taken seriously”, “I’ve got nothing worthwhile to say”, “I’ll never have time”, “it won’t be good enough”, “I’ll look like a fool”… the list can go on and on.
Disheartening and pernicious, thoughts like these lurk around our minds like shady characters constantly whispering and criticising; judging and throwing doubt, deterring and deflating our dreams of a more creative life.
Using aesthetic, applied theatre techniques when exploring and unpacking some of these voices can be so powerful for three reasons:
The collective - When working on issues that affect a group of people, one person’s individual story can be the springboard for the collective examination of what is going on for everyone. This approach can allow people in a group to understand their own story by examining another person’s. As well as collectively exposing the voices that hold everyone back, the group can creatively problem-solve and rehearse possibilities for overcoming obstacles. ‘We do not interpret, we explain nothing, we only offer multiple points of reference.’ (Boal, 1995)
The aesthetics – the use of a creative media such as theatre, as well as painting, writing and sculptures, help to shift the brain from a survival, linear thinking pattern to a more imaginative, metaphoric, storytelling pattern that allows a playful yet deep examination of what's really going on.
The reconnection – working with the whole body means working with the whole person, their senses, their minds, and their emotions. When a challenge is examined using the whole of our bodies there is greater clarity and honesty. Similarly, when alternatives are rehearsed in this empowered state this rehearsal leaves a profound imprint, which can be the beginning of transformation.
Photos: Donna Wolter - Echoe Images
Location: Js Retreat, Wilyabrup, Western Australia