The theatre workshop conducted by Mrs. Amrita Laljee was one which was designed as an exploration through the grey world of ethics, along with its subtleties and subjectivity, and as an expression and discovery of our own moral fabrics; the lines we draw; the values we uphold. To this end, a number of activities were designed which pushed us out of our comfort zones, as a process of self-discovery and experience, at a variety of levels.
The key word, to describe the state that we were led to, is ‘vulnerability’. A state of absolute vulnerability, in which we could not resort to our default behaviors, thoughts and feelings, was broached by the group again and again in order to help us to understand how we respond and what drives us. Be it through activities which had us creating freezes out of the frames created by others to create new meanings, or games such as football which had to be played without allowing your hips to rise off the ground, or through interactions in which we had to mirror each other or imitate each other, or draw with our eyes closed, or experience physical space and our own physical bodies in whole new ways; the inherent discomfort which is necessary for any form of growth was experienced by one and all who were part of the program.
Additionally, there were strong initiatives of creativity and innovative thinking inherent in many of the activities we went through. This also ensured that participants explored new ways of thinking, beyond the default, the obvious, the patterns which they have been used to. The exercises done with exploring the space that they workshop was conducted in, the physically intense activities and the acrobatics all impacted the experience in terms of proving to be a new experience for all the students, who have been used to their sedentary lifestyles, and for the most part, have not been exposed to a routine of physical rigor and energy. Even the intimacy established through activities which involved a high level of proximity and contact with one another, ensured that the prepping of participants was done at a multitude of levels – cognitive, affective and behavioural.
C.S. Lewis once said that, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” And he was not the only one – Aristotle once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
Therefore, coming to the key point of this workshop at the School of Inspired Leadership – the exploration of ethics. After the pre-work was done and everybody felt most pleasantly uprooted, they had to step out of their own skin over multiple occasions, which appears to have also been an exercise in building empathy and vulnerability – the crucial ingredient in increasing awareness of one’s moral fabric.
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