My praxis and “history” in Playback Theatre

This is the SECOND ARTICLE in this category about Playback Theatre. The category includes 3 articles on how I see through PSP Playback Theatre: (a) the philosophy on which is based its praxis and training, (b) its several very important functions (without Playback Theatre being a “psychotherapy” – on this topic you may see the 3rd article).  

Note: In this LINK, you may see in pdf based on my yet unpublished book: Relational Playback Theatre in the PSP approach”. The article was published in: “The Journal of practical psychologist” (Russia)


 

A SHORT HISTORY OF MY COURSE IN PLAYBACK THEATRE

*** I met PLAYBACK in March, 2003, in Budapest.
*** At that period we established with others the “Hellenic PLAYBACK Theatre” group, in Thessaloniki, (Greece), and we were trained by Jozsef Paradi for 140 hours. In this group, we also worked in a seminar with J. Fox and J. Sallas, and later with A. Chesner.
*** I left this group on March of 2006. Until then I participated regularly in its training cycles and performances as a founding member.

*** In the meantime, I was already, since 2005, developing my broader personal method “PSP -Process Stage Praxis” (regarding an integration of the fundamental principles of the Gestalt perspective with the embodied stage improvisation – you may follow this link to see about PSP).

Today, whatever I do in Playback Theatre, regarding its theory, praxis and training, happens through PSP.

I am underlining that some of the primary Playback elements

had a very significant part in the PSP inspiration (like it also happened with the workshop “POLYTECHNO” in which we are working since 2000 with the director-actress Tina Stefanopoulou).

On 2006 I founded the T!NG Playback group (Thessaloniki, Greece), which was trained on the PSP basis and with which I co-operated during all its life (till 2015).
On this general orientation, since 2006, I am lecturing and conducting workshops of various forms on Playback Theatre. In parallel, I am founding, training and supervision Playback Theatre groups, as well realising cycles of  workshops of different duration in Greece and abroad (Italy, Russia, Serbia, Hungary).

Moreover, from 2008 and for 3 years I trained the Playback Theatre group AquNa This. This long training was supported by members of T!NG who had followed the full Basic Program about training in PSP applied in the field of Playback Theatre (see the next paragraphs). 

Since 2007, I am also systematically working to introduce Playback in the field of Gestalt and other process – awareness oriented psychotherapists.

And this, because I strongly believe out of my own experience, that for any therapist, Playback may become a unique way to further refine one’s already existing therapeutic skills.

Just indicatively, at the 9th EAGT European Conference – September 2007, Athens (EAGT: European Association for Gestalt Therapists), there was included in the program a Playback workshop and a Playback performance (the performance was addressed to all the Conference participants).
These Playback events, were the result of the constant cooperation between the Italian group “META Playback Theatre” and myself.
And, between other similar activities in different frameworks, a similar event took place in the 10th EAGT Conference (September 2010, Berlin – without the performance).

In the beginning of 2008, the “T.T. – Train the Trainers” idea became active for the first time in PSP.

And this, because I strongly believe out of my own experience, that for any therapist, Playback may become a unique way to further refine one’s already existing therapeutic skills.

Just indicatively, at the 9th EAGT European Conference – September 2007, Athens (EAGT: European Association for Gestalt Therapists), there was included in the program a Playback workshop and a Playback performance (the performance was addressed to all the Conference participants).
These Playback events, were the result of the constant cooperation between the Italian group “META Playback Theatre” and myself.
And, between other similar activities in different frameworks, a similar event took place in the 10th EAGT Conference (September 2010, Berlin – without the performance).

In the beginning of 2008, the “T.T. – Train the Trainers” idea functioned for the first time in PSP.

*** “T.T.” is a flexible PSP training structure, addressed to people from Playback who wished to be trained in order to become themselves Playback trainers.
*** Four members of the T!NG group entered and accomplished the extra training levels of the “T.T.” program. With their support, we trained together for 3 years the new Playback group “AquNA This”.
*** Since 2014, members of “AquNA This” followed too the “T.T.” program. Together with the T!NG members who had concluded the program, they form the PSP training in Playback “team”. With this enlarged group of co-operators, we designed and realised several training in Playback through PSP programs and other relevant activities, in Greece and abroad.
*** One of the most important such activities connected with the “T.T.” project of the volunteering program “PLAYBACK JUNIOR”, addressed exclusively to adolescents.

Today, some of these co-operators in “T.T.” program are already training themselves NEW PLAYBACK THEATRE GROUPS. 
Thus, they started appearing groups of second, third and fourth “generation”, which see and work with Playback Theatre through the PSP approach.

 

MY PERSPECTIVE AT THE BASIS OF MY PRAXIS IN PLAYBACK THEATRE AND ITS INHERENT RELATIONAL NATURE

I believe that what J. Fox and his cooperators did with Playback Theatre, is an astounding conception touching and stimulating profoundly the human nature.

In Playback Theatre, I see two interconnected dimensions which create the fascinating and powerful Playback Theatre experience through their constant interaction.
*** On a “vertical” dimension, any person is respectfully seen truly as a “person”, in one’s individual depth and uniqueness, with the full responsibility of choices and of attributing personal meaning to one’s personal universe.
*** On an “horizontal” dimension, the “person” is seen in the complexity of one’s relational web with other “persons”, a web developing along with the process flow of the performance.
And these two interconnect dimensions in Playback Theatre produce something very important for every human being:

which is the fact that Playback Theatre orients towards two basic inherent human needs of extreme existential importance.

*** The first one is to feel “seen”, acknowledged, respected, honoured as a unique and whole person.

*** The second one is two-faced. It has to do with transcending on a deep level our individual features and get in contact with the Other, yet without losing our personal unique individual reality by fusing “into” the Other.

I think that the Playback performance provides an excellent frame for these needs to be actually, ritually, experientially met.
And since these needs have to do with relational processes, I believe that the primary Playback Theatre’s feature is its inherent relational nature.

Sharing stories, respecting the narrator, the improvisation technique and style while enacting the stories, all these, are not goals by themselves; they are partial elements that get immediately clarified both theoretically and practically if we see Playback Theatre as a relational event. 
And depending on what we philosophically choose to believe is important in this relational perspective, we may shape accordingly theoretically and practically whatever in Playback Theatre.

Speaking specifically about PSP applied in Playback Theatre, the relation is seen through the philosophical ideas of the existentialism, phenomenology and the way of thinking of field theory and systems theory.
Based on such philosophical perspectives to comprehend things and our relational processes, I attempt with great respect and care to enrich through my PSP approach the philosophy, theory, praxis and training in Playback Theatre.

Today, even if I work much less in the Playback Theatre field, I do hope that the relational perspectives that are emerging in Playback through PSP, are enhancing further its solid fundaments, adding in parallel to them even more structural elements that are compact and coherent.

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