A Week of Workshops!
Happy Spring Break!
This week I had the amazing opportunity to present workshops for all the basic skills I'm passionate about! I led a public speaking workshop and an object puppetry workshop for Full Sail University instuctors, and I led a Viewpoints workshop with the cast of Craigslust (one of the fantastic shows available at this years Orlando Fringe Festival).
The main thing this week has reminded me is how joyful it is to teach people who WANT to take your class. Right now I teach Public Speaking 40 hours each week - 16 hours each week in the classroom, and the rest of the time I am interacting with my online students. It is a general education class, which means that every student is required to take the class. It is a class that inspires a lot of fear, which leads to push-back and sometimes angst. I spend at least 1/4 of my 4 week semesters convincing students that they are in a safe place and that this class is important (implied: please don't be a jerk to me or the other folks in the class).
This week I had the privalege of teaching students who were already interested, who had already bought in, and who - even if not completely into the subject matter at the beginning - were game to try new things. How. Flipping. Cool. It was a bit like drinking an ice cold glass of cucumber water.
The other part that is exciting about teaching folks who jump in immediately, is that I was able to spend more energy on the topic and I started to realize where I wanted to expand my personal knowlege. I'm sure folks who teach will know what I mean with this. When you spend all of your time teaching beginning level skills, you find that you know those beginning level skils quite well. When you get a chance to coach beyond that, it it incredibly exciting, but a bit closer to unknown territory. Just because you work professionally in your field does not mean you are accustommed to teaching your craft at that level. So, I got to feel a lot empowered and a little uncomfortable. Amazing. And fortunate. And lucky.
Hopefully there will be more Viewpoints workshops in the future. If you are in Orlando and would like to start learning Viewpoints right away, Aradhana Tiwari will be leading a class at Mad Cow theatre on May 16-18, 2014. It's going to be an incredible experience.
I've been told recently that Orlando will never be a receptive place for the evolving theatre. The city is just fine with the status quo, folks say. The citizens will not support theatre they are unfamiliar with or theatre that challenges them. I've been told that there is no market for the kind of theatre I most love to watch and make - that if I ever live in a different city I will probably not return to this one.
I encourage you to challenge that statement. Theatre is evolving all around us, and Orlando is a bigger city than we realize. Traditional theatre is wonderful, and I value it, but there is room for more and other forms. If you are in Orlando and participate with evolving theatre - teach people about it. Lead or host a workshop. Bring a co-worker or a neighbor just for funzies. Think of it as offering a sample outside a restauraunt. It's hard to support movements if you are not aware that they exist. Perhaps if we trust the city enough to include it, then the city will support us in return.
Breathing and smiling,