Does your team have good peripheral vision?

Early on in a Buffoonery Workshop, whether it be the 2 day acting intensive or a 3 hour onsite team-building session, the group will experience a mirroring exercise that illustrates leadership, being aware of your co-workers (or fellow actors/crew), and the importance of having a wider vision. This simple, fun activity is profound in alerting  you to how you play, lead, or try to hold onto power (and what is most effective).

This fun video is put on by a bus company, LiJN, on the benefits of travelling in a group. A great effective team, those crabs!

Radio-Canada interview

Today I was interviewed on Radio-Canada Colombie-Britannique-Yukon, “Boulevard du Pacifique” on Buffoonery. It’s always fun to speak in my second language, especially when the Bouffon comes from the French. We chatted about the origin of the Le Bouffon and how I came to it, and how people react when they do my workshop. As you can see by my photos, most reactions are pretty positive!

Thank you to Stéphane Gasc, and animatrice, Marie Villeneuve for this opportunity.

Si vous parlez le Francais, ECOUTEZ ICI. And, if you just want to hear what I sound like in French, go to the same link!

Vive le bouffon!

Gabriola Island 1 Day Buffoonery Workshop

Creativity in the workplace!

Some times you need to shake things up so you come up with better ideas, get energized, and inspired.

I’ve seen people come into my buffoonery class not on top of the world. I’ve heard, “I’m not feeling well”, “My back is sore”, “I’m really tired” and so on. I nod my head and encourage them to just play in their state, and that there are no expectations. I ask that they remain open to what might happen if they just show up.

Letting go and shaking it up!

And, they do. And, I’ve seen people completely turn their state around to a much more positive place.

Imagine if you could do that in the work place? Or, maybe you do!

The following article offers a few tips to help you reignite your employees.

Want to Nurture Creativity Among Employees? Assign Crazy.

Unless you’re a solo entrepreneur, you probably didn’t build your business on your own. Nope, I’m not referring to President Barack Obama’s incendiary remarks that recently ruffled some feathers in the small-business community. I’m talking about employees.

If you dream of building another Google or Patagonia one day, you’d do well to not only accept input from employees but actively seek it. Creativity doesn’t just happen. If you’re ready to really embrace the kind of culture where creativity and innovation may thrive, here’s how to get started.

Read more by Mathew Torin to get some good tips!

To Be or Not To Be…. Happy?

Seems like we are constantly on a Happy Quest in our society these days. Is it just us, our time, or an ancient quest that has been passed down the ages? Do we have more time than the “old days” to consider our feelings and whether they feel good, or bad? Or, is life getting so complicated by the information age that we feel a dissatisfaction by all the things we are NOT doing, or that we should do? Or, is there too much woowoo stuff out there making some of us feel inadequate if we are not meditating and running a full time business, and exercising, and, and, and…. Read more

Too Quiet and Too Cold?

Sometimes when I work at home my productivity can be strained if I don’t have the radio on, or some sound in the background. And, sometimes when I find myself in a cafe doing some work, I’m surprised to see how much I accomplish. My focus seems stronger.

But when a cafe is cold, or my home office is chilly, I’ll suddenly discover my body tense and not relaxed. Hmm… probably not good for productivity either!

Turns out there are some reasons for the above occurrences.

Have a look at a recent “Vancouver Sun”. It might explain some things for you, and also help you to increase your comfort and focus in your working environment!

Ever wonder why it can be more pleasant to think or study around other people?

At a coffee shop, for instance?

It turns out that a moderate level of background noise enhances creativity better than a quiet room, says Juliet Zhu, an associate professor at the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business.

Zhu is co-chair of the 43rd annual Association for Consumer Research conference, billed as the largest consumer behaviour conference in the world.

More than 1,000 university professors and market researchers from around the world are converging on Vancouver today to attend this year’s event, which features more than 500 presentations at 15 concurrent sessions over four days and is open to the public at the Sheraton Wall Centre.

Background noise such as that found at a coffee shop (70 decibels) distracts people from “focusing too much on focal issues,” Zhu said. This enhances the ability to think creativity, she said, whereas if it’s quiet, it’s harder to think outside the box.

Does your company need team-building?

Team-building seems to be an overused buzz word, yet it is the closest term that best describes increasing effectiveness within a company or organization.

These days with all the online communication, we more than ever need to find ways to sustain the “good ole fashioned” face to face communication so that everyone can do their job well, and be happy about it!

How about your organization? Do you think it is flowing well? Are your employees working at optimum? Is there a good energy supporting productivity?

Have a look at Dr. Woody’s take on simple communication. Read more

Acting Is an Art, Actors Are a Business

I’m pleased to introduce a beginning of guest posts on Buffoonery Workshops with a very apt article by the New York Film Academy.

As you know, or if this is the first time coming to my site, I am an actor, writer, and overall creative person. My visual artistic family taught me how to embrace my right brain, but also introduced me to the business side when they opened their own shop. Unfortunately, many actors learn their craft but miss out on that ever so crucial element of the business side.

Enjoy reading what Glenn Kalison has to say with regards to being an actor and a business person. Read more

Buffooning as play….

This photo comes from a two day buffoonery intensive for actors/improvisors/performers. Buffoonery Workshops is available to do a 3 hour workshop for Team-building, or staff development days (no costumes).




“Loon” and “The Ballad of Herbie Cox”

La Lune. L’amour de la lune. “Loon”… I am presuming, fairly safely I think, comes from “lune”. Quelle image. What a beautiful image.

Loon is simple. Stunning. Moving. Heart-breaking. Humorous. Loon is also complex. The first 30 seconds of the show brought tears to my eyes. An hour later, I didn’t notice it was an hour later. The man AND the moon. Love in the most unusual, believable way.

I will carry “Loon” with me for a long, long time. Thank you WonderHeads from Portland, USA.

And, in the spirit of their simplicity, that’s all I will say. See it.

I floated to my next show. Read more

Some musical Fringe: “Hard Times” and “The Water Is Wide”

Best laid plans… I didn’t make it to “Lost In Twine” on Monday evening. I was too lackadaisical, thinking there would be tickets available on the spot. Boy, was I wrong. I am now scrambling to make sure I see this selling out show! Good for them! Have you seen it?

In the true Fringe spirit, I promptly perused my schedule and bolted to the nearest show, which happened to be “The Water is Wide” by singer/song-writer/performer Randy Rutherford. I had no idea what to expect. A small but eager audience was present at the WaterFront Theatre. When Randy came on stage, and began talking, I was a little worried. My last image in my mind’s eye on this stage was “My Bike Trip”, a frenetic, hilarious LSD themed trip. This alternate energy seemed more like a greener, organic high. I slowed down my breathing (in all fairness, I was a bit wired from running) and settled in.

It was a love story. A gentle, touching tale that had us chuckling, and relating. Rutherford sang, played his guitar, became several characters, and tenderly (mostly) gave us his true story. Rutherford has progressive hearing loss, revealed in the storyline, but it becomes the last characteristic I think about as he recounts playfully without much sign of his auditory obstacle.

My next planned piece, “Hard Times” still had tickets. Whew! This time, I knew of the subject matter, the closing of a vaudeville theatre. A friend of mine is doing some extensive research into Vancouver’s vaudeville past so I was curious to see this show. Actor/singer Bremner Duthie, created “Hard Times” with Lisa Pasold, is also performing another original musical piece at the Fringe, “Ne Me Quitte Pas: Piaf and Brel, The Impossible Concert”, which I have yet to see.

In “Hard Times” Duthie plays a passionate host to the last night in his cherished theatre. It’s a sad tale as he digs in his heels and refuses to leave until he has made a night to remember. “I’ll die if I go out there.” He’s terrified of “being alive but not really living”. His place is in the theatre. Through songs of the 30’s, stories of his past stage partner, prop puppetry, brief moments of hope with his stage manager, and a dance with death, Duthie defends his place in this dramatic world. It’s a sweaty high energy piece.

A welcomed breath came during an intimate moment with a gramophone and his old stage partner’s music. He quotes her song, “As long as you live, you’ll be dead if you die.” Duthie’s voice is strong and his commitment, intense.

A few years ago, The Pantages Theatre on Hastings Street had an injection of hope to be resurrected. Sadly, as hard as the community fought to reverse the decision, the theatre was torn down. As I watched this show, flashes of The Pantages’ interior kept pushing its way forward in my mind. I wondered where all those performing ghosts went.

Once again, being at the Fringe, watching live theatre and original productions gets you thinking, dreaming. And, even if there are elements of a show I might not like, I always find something with which to walk away.

Only a few more days left, 3 actually, at The Vancouver International Fringe Festival. Off you go!

Vive le theatre!

By Trilby Jeeves for Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance