Posts Tagged ‘Fun!’

The Actor Is What We See, But Only 1/8 Of What Is There

Two earlier versions of this post were published in 2010 and 2012. Several colleagues asked me to re-post it, so here it is.

When I work with individuals or groups on ways Theatrical Intelligence can make a difference in their lives, my goal is to stimulate an exploration into their creative core.

The term Theatrical Intelligence evokes responses such as: “Yes! It’ll help me when I have to give a presentation” to “Not my kind of thing – don’t like being in the spotlight” or “No way. Acting? Yuck!” There is an assumption that Theatrical Intelligence = Actor.

What we see

In a theatrical production model, the Actor is what we see, but only 1/8 of what is there. She/he wouldn’t be on the stage if it weren’t for the Writer, Producer, Director, Designer, Manager, Technician and Critic. The talent and skill contained in each of these roles is interdependent, and without them, the Actor wouldn’t be seen at all!

What's Really There

What’s Really There

Creative collaboration requires that each person within a group takes on his/her most comfortable role, and everyone contributes to the creative potential of the collective. It is built on the premise that all collaborators’ talents and skills complement one another. In other words if I don’t have a particular strength, one of my cohorts will.

Recently I worked with a young woman who told me “I don’t have one creative bone in my body. It’s just the way I’ve always been and I’m fine with it.” She was politely annoyed that I didn’t accept her “non-creativity”. What became abundantly clear during a quick writing exercise, is that she was a born technician (the only one who could get the electronic hook-up to work); and a gifted manager (she organised a group photo while keeping large egos satisfied, and everyone ended up grateful that she was there).

When I pointed out her strengths in those roles, she explained “But that’s the easy stuff!” which gave us our biggest laugh of the day. Everyone admitted their techno-ignorance, impatience with managing differing personalities; the combination of her geeky-gift and people-management-savvy was something they longed for in their employees.

The talented young Technician/Manager took all this in, and with just the hint of a grin, said: “Well, maybe I have a couple of creative bones…” 

Understanding her Theatrical Intelligence that day, she fully experienced “the fun part of being smart”. Yes, it was easy. And the smartness was all her own.

What’s “the easy stuff” for you? How much do you use it every day? Are you giving it the respect it deserves? 



My spam folder was full this morning (neglected by me over the holidays) and just as I was about to delete the ubiquitous penile enhancement posts, I was tickled to see a couple of messages from Santa…

 “Your article really did turn the light on for me personally as far as this specific subject matter goes.” Signed: Santa Claus Calls

“In the grand scheme of things you actually get an A for effort and hard work. For right now I shall subscribe to your position.” Signed: SClauswerks

 Santa’s style sure reflects his spirit, unlike the other 98%:

“I was wondering how to cure acne naturally, and then I found your blog.” Signed: Rickets (Yuck!)


“1st, you wish a 3-season sleeping bag with the casket and the semi-rectangular style; the added amore due to the abridgement of autogenous space.” Signed “Polo Outlet Online”. 

(WHY NOT “Casket Sleeping Bags”?) Go figure.

Asian language spam is on the rise: 


And… *blush*… I actually used Google Translate: “Even though a little higher at the surface that could hurt excessive force to account for, and the effect of hair care reached three times greater risk of burden.” Signed: Luxury-Brand-something. 

OK – enough! But then I saw one of Santa’s comments that seemed rather sleep-deprived, or even delusional:

“I like this information and it has given me some sort of desire to succeed for some reason.”

Unless… d’you suppose Santa struggles with self-esteem,  just like the rest of us?

Guess I’ll check my Santa-Spam next December.

And now… (She presses DELETE.) On with 2013.


Illustration: 123RF (Royalty Free) Stock Photos


A Childhood State-Of-Mind (Or) The Power of Blizzards

What is it about blizzards? That they’re so mind-bogglingly dramatic? That they surprise us even though we know they’re coming? I mean who isn’t talking about “the blizzard of the century” this week?

Growing up in New Hampshire, I faced real danger in snowstorms and pulled off highways numerous times to wait out hazardous conditions. During one such wait many years ago I found myself wearing a giddy grin and giggling. What was the matter with me?! My goofy state did not indicate a grasp of reality. In fact, I was fully cognizant, it’s just that blizzards make me feel as if I’m 6 years old.

When a snowstorm hits, some mysterious force takes hold and I’m flooded with memories: jumping off the roof of my childhood home into huge powdery snowbanks; building snow forts that rivaled castles in my mind; making snow angels and praying that the dogs wouldn’t… y’know. Those memories stimulate fantasies that range from prehistoric cave dwellings to trekking cross country in a covered wagon to – you name it. To me, snowstorms mean that anything is possible.

This week’s blizzard unleashed word inventions such as “blizzicane” and “snowmageddon”; blizzards can be a catalyst-for-craziness. Proof? My snapshot of a dear friend leaping barefoot through snowdrifts in a completely transparent negligee.

What a gift is a blizzard! If we choose to embrace it, it has the capacity to release the genius that is hiding in all of us. In this way it is similar to Theatrical Intelligence. Whether your dominant role (or mine) is Actor or Technician, I am confident that our gut responses to blizzards are worthy of our attention.

Why? It is revealing to capture that place in ourselves that’s willing to leap into unexplored terrain. That core of our being is often ignored in favor of our more practical parts. Finding it can be fun; sometimes even transformational. And you don’t have to have grown up with snowstorms to experience their phenomenon.

Next time a big blizzard is forecast, what the hell? Get ready for an emotional adventure – hidden worlds are waiting for you and your imagination to discover them.

A Theatrically Intelligent Holiday to You!


Are you wondering what Theatrical Intelligence is? Simply put, it is a process I have developed based on the theatrical production model, to bring joy and creativity into the workplace. It’s finding the fun in your work!

It came about as a result of my personal career shift from working IN the theatre to working ON the theatre, which (for me) meant working in a more businesslike environment.  My first three blogposts form a trilogy describing the way my professional experience gradually grew into this new venture.

Theatrical Intelligence has six principles and eight roles (listed below).

Peak performance - an "A" in lights


1. Everyone shares the same goal
2. Everyone shares an equivalent risk
3. Collaboration rules
4. The work matters
5. Failure is your friend, and the fastest way to learn
6. Success comes with the courage to step into the unknown


1. Writer
2. Actor
3. Director
4. Producer
5. Designer
6. Manager
7. Technician
8. Critic

I will be blogging about this concept (and related subjects) and you are invited to join the conversation.  


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