AN ADULT PLAYGROUND?
Updated: Feb 1
I WAS CURIOUS to know why people kept telling me that what I offered didn’t exist any where else. So, I searched the World Wide Web. I typed the name THE ADULT PLAYGROUND (which is what I called it at the time) into the search engines and ... found a plethora of pornographic sites. I wasn’t surprised. My
choice of name was intentional – a provocative jab precisely at the fact that ‘the adult playground’ is generally understood to refer to pornography; probably the biggest and most profitable industry in the world, alongside chemistry and war fare. These are not the games I play.
Other than that, I found one solitary company in America that provides Adult Playgrounds for obese people; activity parks, they call them, with swings and roundabouts and bouncy castles, designed to attract adults who don’t normally take much physical exercise. It is not my intention to provide fun weight-loss
I changed the name. I now call it simply the Playground and that is how I refer to it throughout the book. I continued my search.
In an artistic context, I found adult play groups all over Europe and America that explore imagination, improvisation and self-expression in more or less exclusive or overlapping cross-art-forms: experimental dance, contact improvisation, clowning, fool work, comedy stand-up, forum theatre, playback theatre, improvised street theatre, arts therapy and psychodrama. I include elements of all of these forms of play in the Playground, so why were people telling me that nothing like this exists elsewhere?
A very subtle, but major difference began to emerge. I found no other such like Playground that explores professional acting techniques with the primary aim of empowering individuals (both actors and non-actors) with essential LIFE and COMMUNICATION SKILLS.
Top stage and film acting techniques are usually taught in the context of making people ‘stage or film worthy’. Furthermore these techniques are usually only taught to a relative small minority i.e. those who are considered talented enough to gain entry into top drama schools. Funnily enough, the ones that are
selected are usually those who demonstrate in some way that they already know how to do it. Knowledge of this enlightening kind is guarded by ‘the professionals’, like magicians guard their tricks of illusion.
I began asking myself two things: ‘Why shouldn’t the common player be empowered by these top secrets, when the results are so clearly transformational?’ and ‘Why is there such a strong divide between theatre and life itself?’
The most obvious answer to the latter question is that life is ‘real’ and theatre isn’t. Theatre and film are simulations of life. We dream of doing things on stage and in film that we wouldn’t dream of doing in real life. Of course! But in my rather anarchic mind this observation inspires far deeper questions about the very real connection between life and imaginative play. I mean, how on earth do we create the world we live in? The whole of life could be seen as a form of theatre or film.
One question led to another and in my on-going research I came across like minds ... a whole zeitgeist phenomenon, if you like, that must have begun at least two centuries ago ... alternative thinkers, writers, spiritual teachers, psychologists, philosophers, actors, and theatre directors and yes, quantum
physicists and scientists too, who express opinions similar to mine. We are
In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum reality,
things are considered to exist only to the extent that
they are observed. Consciousness is the observer.
David Ash, Vortex of Energy, 2012:127
In short, we are in need of nothing short of a revolution in our common consciousness; a new general awareness of the potential of the human psyche, imagination, intuitive intelligence and the real nature of the human mind.
Sadly, in ‘reality’ we witness the opposite. The ‘success’ of industrial and capitalist (profit orientated) progress has turned us into full time blinkered, left brained, for the most part robotic and sedentary workaholics, living in our separate little microcosms. Stressed out of our minds, isolated from each other
(apart from on Facebook), with no time to truly sense or dream, we have to accept that we have been dumbed down to become willing and unwilling consumers, money addicted slaves, albeit with a longer life expectancy, but exhausted, dis-eased beings, who in their play time sit hypnotically captivated
by billion dollar films starring our favourite actors ... whom we attempt to emulate or copy... I guess it's an US and THEM thing? Why does this need to be? Life can be seen as a Game that we can all play. Therefore, I now give classes at three levels:
LEVEL 1 - just for the sheer fun of learning to play again, getting over debilitating fears, socialising with like-mind and taking the first steps towards SELF-actualisation through IMPRO, GAMES and CREATIVE CHALLENGES.
LEVEL 2 - an introduction to the artistic disciplines of more advanced play, objectivity, psychological analysis, self-direction and taking the first step towards a potential professional career in IMPRO & ACTING (stage + film), using top METHOD and CLASSICAL acting techniques and more advanced games and challenges.
LEVEL 3 - Master classes for experienced and professional players.
Lot's of information can be found about these classes on my website: josephinelarsen.com