When the Curtain calls…..

 jtd

Bangalore Mirror, 24th Nov. 2008, Pg. 28

Rahul George, Posted On Sunday, November 23, 2008

How many times have you witnessed a weepy session or a flaming row and walked away saying  “Drama queen” under your breath? If you’ve done it as often as we all have, it’s time for theatre-based learning.Theatre-based learning helps individuals not only to understand human behaviour better, but also to manage it effectively. The experiential platform allows every individual to tap into their experiences and derive newer learnings from it. As it’s a group based activity, one gets to learn even from the experiences of others.Theatre is an experiential medium that opens up an individual at a physical and mental level, appealing to all his senses.Exercises in breathing and listening have helped individuals improve their communication skills tremendously. One advantage that most people who have attended such programmes feel is that they are able to listen to others better – not just hear but listen.

As Dr Daya says, “Being a doctor, I understood that theatre is a very good means to understand people. Applying subtle skills learnt during various workshops has given me better insight into my patients. I am in a better position to gauge their comfort levels, read their body language and above all make them feel comfortable, so that they can discuss their problems openly with me.”

Theatre helps individuals understand that alternative perceptions always exist when they deal with people, situations and more importantly even themselves. It makes a person aware of the subtleties of human behaviour – the finer nuances like gestures, facial expressions and body language which speak a lot in any interaction between individuals.

When applied in the workplace, individuals find it easier to assimilate concepts. Character study – an exercise in studying the role one is acting out in a play helps individuals understand different shades to a personality – when applied at the workplace it reduces the areas of conflict between co-workers to a great extent.

Ajay swears by his experiences, “My ability to respect and understand different types of characters is what I’ve banked upon in various interactions of mine with people and it is something that I use tremendously in my journey forwards both professionally and personally.”

Theatre can break barriers between individuals across the hierarchy in all organisations. As Sachin says, “I have to interact with a lot of functional experts spread across a wide variety of cross-functional and multi-cultural teams. My experiences with theatre helped me build trust with my colleagues in Germany.”

A job is a job is a job… What could make it exciting and interesting would be the people around. As a tool for learning, theatre encourages enthusiasm in working together daily.

(Rahul George is CEO & Head of Training – Join the Dots)

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