Whenever you get invited to participate in a theater workshop in Manila, what ideas come to mind? You need to know something in case you have never been in one – a career in the performing arts is always optional. When you know that you have the talent but not the confidence, you need a major push to put that talent to good use
I conducted the Confidence Through Theater workshop in Manila last Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015. It was sponsored by the Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI) and held here at iChill Theater Cafe. Here I found a way to share the kind of confidence I learned in a workshop in Spain of a similar format. It was called “Theater for Shy People” where I discovered the confidence I needed to push for a career in the performing arts. The kind of confidence I earned there applied in other areas of my life too like managing a business and handling my employees.
The participants consisted of different individuals coming from different backgrounds. I appreciate it that they were open-minded enough to give this a try since some aspects of theater can be applied in their respective careers even if they don’t take the theatrical route. If ever there would be participants that could relate the most to some of the pointers I shared, it would be the sales people.
If theater people are always expected to deliver believable performances, salespeople are always expected to deliver excellent sales presentation. Both endeavors involved going onstage and saying your lines. The audience may be concerned with what you have to say. But they are also looking forward on how you are going to say it. How confident are you in what you do or say? If the best actors and actresses are those that succeed in producing believable performances, it is because they found something in the performance to believe in.
Apply that analogy in salespeople and you will realize that the best salespeople are those that believe in their products the most. Now that’s confidence. Apply that confidence in other areas in your life and you can convince anyone of anything that you believe in. It will secure the kind of convictions that you have in life. It’s one of the primary goals of this theater workshop in Manila.
This is why in between activities, I encourage participants to talk about the things they did in the tasks given. I highly discourage statements like “I can’t”, “I am not comfortable”, “I am not used to doing this” and similar causes. I want to make sure that all participants imbibe the confidence that I wanted to instill in them. So I watch even the words they say.
Whatever you tell yourself, your mind will believe. If for every activity you get into, even activities outside this theater workshop in Manila, you say “I can’t”, then you end up not doing it. You think it does not affect your attitude towards any endeavor you get into? Think again. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy because you condition your mind into a negative result before you even perform the task. I had to remind some participants not to say “I can’t” occasionally so they would attain this “can do” attitude.
This “can do” attitude earned extra emphasis the moment the theater workshop in Manila has arrived at the postcard activity. This is where I give them a scenario and I leave it to them to take any role in the given scenario. They went onstage and assumed a role based on how they imagined themselves in it. I discouraged them from explaining their roles. It’s useless to explain when the performance ends up coming out differently from how they explained it.
Some of the participants attempted to change their roles midway into assembling the postcard assigned. I just let them. I explained the consequences that come with it after the postcard activity was over. Imagine. What if this scene in the theater workshop in Manila is real life? What if you are given or assigned a role and you realize that it’s not the role you wanted in the first place? Do you have enough time to switch roles?
Confidence becomes an issue again since it seems like the uncertainty got them panicking. And it made them switch to another role that they seem like more fitting for them. Here in this theater workshop in Manila, they have enough time to do that because it’s a simulated situation. But in real life, you get into a situation with a role you already accepted. When you realize that you are not confident enough in that role, do you switch roles? No.
You own the role. Play it. Mistakes will be unavoidable. But the way you played and owned the role will keep your resolve durable. It will strengthen your confidence. Eventually, you learn the art of being proactive as a consequence of strengthened confidence. And you will not attain that resolve until you have mastered the role long enough before you switch into bigger roles.
I loved the theater workshop in Manila that I facilitated. Everyone was participative. There were less inhibitions and, even if some are still shy in between discussions, the sincerity in expressing themselves is felt. It pushed all of them out of their comfort zones in a liberating way. And it made even the participants with a theater background view theater as a way to handle life. I look forward to doing the theater workshop in Manila again here at iChill Theater Cafe.
There is a request to stage another theater workshop in Manila using this format. I am very thankful to HAPI for letting me facilitate this memorable workshop. When would it be? This blog would be one of the first sits where you get to learn when. Just click “Like” on my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano to keep yourselvs posted for the latest updates. Gracias!