Playback Theatre Performing to the Heart

by Leemen Lee

Degui Academy (Taipei), May 8, 2009 The Playback Theatre (Xinchu Group) performed to the heart and surprised the audience by a remarkable performance full of empathic dynamics. The theme for the performance was “Mother,” for the Mother’s Day is approaching.

The performance group for this great evening consisted of a facilitator, six performers, a musician, and a photographer. They cooperated seamlessly as they simultaneously performed the stories told by the audience. They performed different kinds of formats such as fluent statue, four elements, paring, V-shape narratives, and free style. The facilitator invited the audience to voluntarily tell a story related to the theme of “Mother” or “Mother’s Day.” Listening with full attention and understanding, the performers then performed what they heard. And the performance turn into a gift to the story-teller. After the performance, the Playback Theatre members shared with the audience what they feel about this kind of performance and the “secrets” - hard efforts, frequent practices, and a joyful will to perform - behind the theme. They view the Playback Theatre style as “imperfect”because there is no written scriptor Cut-and-Repeat. Nevertheless, this imperfection implies three good lessons about the life and living – (1) the life itself is imperfect and should not be perfect, (2) the need to focus on the moment and accept gratefully what has already been performed, and (3) the willingness to be open to new opportunities and to continue to practice for advancement.

This event was hosted by the School of Life and Living of Dharma Drum University as the monthly Life Café series of the month. Approximately forty participants joined this event, and without doubt that after this evening they all got better ideas what they will do to celebrate the coming Mother’s Day.