Theatrical social responsibility (TSR) with Maria-Francesca DOGARU – a review of a theatrical class held at “A treia cafea”

This message is all about a workshop on theater with Maria-Francesca DOGARU. You can read here a class description. The class was organized by “A treia cafea“.

A. Going into the history of things

Last year, on 4th of November, 2009, I took part to a workshop on theater with Maria-Francesca DOGARU. I wrote about that class on my blog. I went only for one session, due to some other class.

This year, starting from 18th of April, 2010, until 24th of June, 2010, I went again, and this time I didn’t miss a thing (I went to all of the meetings – we had some breaks).

What changed from one year to the other?
1. These two feelings completely disappeared; I got almost zero stress with this:

a. Most of the participants in the room, whenever reacting to something new, got to laugh; Surprise! Laugh! My reaction was different; Surprise! Think about it! Stress goes high! Ignore stress! Manage your reaction! A bit afraid! Ignore fear! React!

b. If I were to describe the exact feeling I’ve got, that would be similar to “no peace” (I’ve got an ID in Romanian similar to “fără pace”); And yet fine with it;

It’s either I got confronted with new situations or the new class participants made me feel better, can’t quite place this;

2. Now I have a brand new explanation for this feeling from last year:

Was it pleasure? It was an excitement for which I answered with controlled fear, and was happy with it; In the same time I learned new things; The pleasure itself is out of the question;

Now I explain this with (current) favorite quote, from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines movie:

Terminator: “Desire is irrelevant. I am a machine!

I have a blog post in Romanian about this.

B. What happened at the courses (a class description)?

We did mostly exercises of improvisations:
– there’s a given situation on stage, new characters join the situation; now react!
– imagine a situation and act according to the other characters in the room;
– how would a … (insert human typology here) … react? Suppose you were that person; how does such a person speak / act?
– start a situation simply by knocking at the door in a certain way;
– how would you speak if you were … (another participant at the course)? How would that person answer questions? How would that person describe herself?
– you should pick an animal and borrow a few of its characteristics in a human behavior;
– speak in a non-existent foreign language;

We also did rehearsal and interpretation of texts from “Platero y yo” (Spanish for Platero and I) by Juan Ramón JIMÉNEZ; you can see my text here; it was one of the few memorization things I had to do in the past years (after my Master’s was over);

We had some memory exercises, yet I mostly forgot them all; on a serious note, they involved memorizing objects on a table, remembering what do other persons wear; we also had an exercise for memorizing a long string of texts;

We had some ice-breakers and energizers (like a game with Samurai);

C. I enjoyed it a lot; why is that?

– The very first thing I liked were the participants – nice people, funny, good all-around persons;
– The courses were Mondays; each Monday I would go to the class, have fun, and keep a good level of optimism and good spirits through the whole week;
– There are three types of events you can typically see in Bucharest:

  • Conferences;
  • Workshops;
  • Training courses;

I go to a lot to conferences, yet I like more the workshops and even more the training courses; this class was similar to a training course, even if the focus was on experiential learning, rather than on formal learning; so the main structure of the class was very enjoyable to me;
– The atmosphere was very friendly and safe;
– I have been a part of these theatrical companies: “Studio 24” (2 months), “Calandrinon” (5 months), “Toma Caragiu” (1 year); I have done a summer school on theater between July 7 and 13, 2003, and seen some rehearsals at “Podul”; and now I’ve done this theatrical class; I can say that I learned most things about theater at the summer school (a lot of information crammed in a few days), and yet I felt best at this current class from “A treia cafea”;
– I can’t think of anything negative about the class itself; very nice experiences; I shortened one trip just to be a part of a class; it was that good;
– I’ll end this blog post with a characterization of Maria-Francesca DOGARU, which relates to the current topic – the class itself;

D. Why I liked the presence of Maria-Francesca DOGARU at the workshop?

Maria-Francesca DOGARU– Her skills as a facilitator were very good: good knowledge of theatrical procedures, attention to details, understanding of emotions, adaptive to situations, on time, friendly, helpful, innovative, positive thinker, she gives a lot of feed-back and empowers others; quite a list, huh?
– The thing that was most impressive to me was this: her care for the outside world; imagine this: you enter a wood; my care while passing through the wood would be getting on time; her care? “What would the wood think if I’m passing through it? How does the grass feel? What would the birds think about it?”; now, if she (probably) would care about the wood, grass, and birds, you can imagine that at the workshop she showed a lot of care for the participants; in fact, it was so much, that I can compare her, to some degree, to Carmen CUCUL; had the care for other persons matter on business issues, I would have written a message on this page; for now, it was just a personal human touch; it was so amazing seeing this much care for all the participants, the organizers, the hosts; everybody was involved in the ecosystem; and everyone was cared for; Nicolae STEINHARDT, in my favorite book of all times, “The Happiness Diary“, says this:

“Printre motivele pentru care Domnul se referă aşa des la ospeţe şi îmbie cu mese încărcate […]: fiindcă numai la ospăţ se bucură omul de bucuria altuia, ba şi are nevoie de această bucurie: ospăţul e cu atit mai frumos şi mai izbutit cu cît toţi cei de faţă sunt mai veseli. Ospăţul este poate – în chip paradoxal – singurul loc în care bucuria celuilalt nu este pizmuită. Şi unde nu există concurenţă […]: creşterea numărului comesenilor departe de a constitui o piedică, o primejdie, multiplică bucuria fiecăruia şi a tuturor. Dacă-i aşa, atunci ospăţul realizează condiţia paradisiacă: ea presupune în primul rînd capacitatea de a te bucura de bucuria altuia, de a o împărtăşi.”,

which would translate into:

“Among the reasons for which the Lord so often refers to feasts and invites to tempting tables […]: because only at does the man enjoys the other person’s joy, and even needs this joy: the feast is even so much beautiful and successful as all those present are happier. Feast is perhaps – in paradoxical way – the place where the happiness of the other is not envied. And where there is no competition […]: increasing the joy of mess is far from being an obstacle, a danger, it actually multiplies the joy of each and all. If so, then dinner makes the paradisiacal condition: it involves primarily the ability to enjoy the joy of another, to share it.”

and this is also how I felt the workshops – the bigger the joy in others, the greater the success of the training itself; so much for CSR (Corporate Social Responsiblity), which can now be TSR (Theatrical Social Responsibility); and this care for the others by Maria-Francesca DOGARU made the workshop feel, at least to me, a great experience;

Bottom line: one of the most pleasant activities in the past months, the workshop with Maria-Francesca DOGARU was a wonderful experience, which I hope I will repeat.

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