Write, direct, coordinate and perform a play of your own, acting as a team. This is the request of the course “Management Acts: A theatrical integration”. The initial reaction was enthusiastic; it was during the actual classes that we realized that, apart from the fun part, we all had to do a lot of work, focusing on three major elements equally vital for both theatre and management; Expressing emotions, messaging communication and teamwork.
Feelings & Messaging Communication: Say and Show them!
“Is it that important for a manager to know how to control body movement, feelings’ expressions through facial gestures and voice tone wavering to express feelings?” Kind of a rhetoric question. The answer “yes, it is important”, is not sufficient. The accurate response is that these are the necessary prerequisites for a good manager and ALBA Graduate Business School was fully aware of that when they decided to include the specific course in the MBA studies.
What environment better to cultivate these prerequisites than the theatre? Theatre gives a great opportunity to cultivate “proxemics”, the study of space and how we use it, how it makes us feel more or less comfortable and how we arrange objects and ourselves in relation to space. A person’s body’s movement and gestures, standing position, facial expressions while speaking to a group of people, voice tone and the way it may alternate to express feelings, are extremely useful tools for a manager. The sequence in which we choose to express a movement, which can be both a) functional and expressive and b) realistic and poetic on stage, affects the way the message is perceived by the audience in theatre, exactly the same way it does in business environments. Tools that may lead the protagonist of the play to either capture the audience or to lose it; tools that may contribute to a manager’s success -or demise- in real life.
The Team: the Secret to Success
Apart from the personal characteristics that everyone had to work on individually, we all had to practice on teamwork, overcome challenges and expected difficulties. The teamwork and the expression of each one’s leadership tactics boosted team building and cooperation skills. During the rehearsals, we were encouraged to exercise and develop our creativity and apply critical thinking, problem-solving and collaborative skills, insights directly related to management. We also had to demonstrate professional standards and personal qualities such as punctuality, consistency, appreciation for diversity and adaptability.
It was exciting to spot the variety of personalities inside the team and the way that each one was expressed, just like it happens in real life scenarios. Each member of the team had to put his/her own piece of magic to contribute to the perfection of the final performance. It may sound cliché, but it is true: there is no I in the word team. The whole dynamic evolved between the team members during the courses and the rehearsals was very encouraging for each one to express him/herself, “color” the personality of the character and adopt gestures and mimics unique for his/her character.
The majority of us may never have the chance to live anything similar again. All members in our team admit that it was an irreplaceable life experience we would never forget. After all, it is not about the applause; it is about living the experience and learning from it.
Enjoy all 3 performances' videos here!