I was recently interviewed by colleagues as part of a ‘light grilling’ for the Junction Theatre Website. I wrote my answers in 30 minutes at 7 am on the morning of rehearsals for a new play.
It is quite interesting what you write when you are under pressure, and you just have to… write:
I am cringing a bit now to read it back and would change some, but certainly not all of the content. The answers about what you like/don’t like become gut feelings – instinctive – and of course have some logic and thought, but with no time to overly consider, you get a quick and actually quite realistic and raw view.
I encourage this “light grilling” approach in workshops and project exercises to consider things quickly, to get a gut feeling and so generate a set of ‘foundation information’. It can take the form of a written answer to questions, of timed ‘idea capture’ in groups or even hot-seating individuals to get instant, instinctive information.
The results can be powerful and revealing, we often worry too much; write, think, edit re-write and re-edit. Sure, for the final analysis we want real depth, but in this first instance if I am looking at a rehearsal for a new play or at a project analysis, I want lots of information quickly and this first hit is a ‘stream of consciousness’ that really has ‘raw data’ value.
A “heavy grilling” for me came a couple of weeks ago when I did a TED talk in Cambridge.
Distilling a talk with the intention of having impact and substance into 18 minutes is a challenge, but again it is this ‘restriction’ that forces editing and clarity to tell the story clearly and simply in a limited time-frame.
I essentially distilled a three-hour workshop on Communication Skills into 18 minutes. What was missing of course was the interaction and testing of the ideas with my participants. But I found it very useful to distill and force my ideas, so as to to be as clear and connected as I could be in my storytelling.
I gave myself a light grilling, took the essential elements that emerged then pulled them into a story structure and then looked for the greater detail in a heavy self-grilling!
You can compare the light and heavy touch and see what you think, but restriction can be a good thing!