Theatre in Relationships
One of the fundamental insights that emerges from a “CorporateTheatre” workshop is that true and fulfilling relationships are possible only between ‘Actors’ and not between ‘Characters’.
As characters we take on rigid patterns of behaviour, hierarchy, and conflict – King, Slave, Assassin, Victim, Oppressor, Oppressed, Deceiver, Deceived, etc. Even so, while the hierarchy and conflict of the characters are essential to the play and deeply respected, there is no hierarchy or confrontation at the level of the actor. Each actor is doing their best to make every other actor’s performance also effective and convincing. The play is a typical example of collective success, when the audience gets up and gives you a standing ovation.
This has great significance in our life’s relationships too.
Take the case of spouses for instance. Most of the time I expect my wife to play the role of MY WIFE. However, this actor who plays the role of MY WIFE also has to play several other roles to be a complete and fulfilled actor. She needs to play the role of mother perhaps, daughter to her parents, sister to her siblings, friend to her friends. We realize that while there could be a predominant role that we need to play at some particular time, all the roles are important and any one could become predominant at different times. This realization enables us to give each other the space needed to ‘perform’ our various roles, and to respect the ‘actor’ that we need to relate to, instead of just the one or two ‘characters’ that we consider most important to us.
Similarly, while we regard our children as ‘children’ no matter how old they grow, we also need to accept, respect, and enjoy their other roles as spouse, parent, friend, etc. without letting our character as ‘parent’ intrude into their lives.
Characters can and should change from play to play and role to role as we tread on the stage of life from birth to death. The actor who plays the role is the same. True relationships are possible only when the actor in me connects with the actor in you, with the ability to appreciate and empower the several roles we need to play as we go along, and get a standing ovation from life itself.