Nudging the Player: A Very Serious Play Retreat with Anthea Moys and Roberto Pombo
November 22, 2019 @ 6:00 PM - November 24, 2019 @ 1:00 PM SAST
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.
– Carl Jung
After a 2-year hiatus, facilitators Roberto and Anthea have become even MORE serious about play than they were originally and they would love to share some of these learnings with you. Come dive in with us and treat yourself to a glorious weekend retreat dedicated to the art of PLAY!
Play is often considered a ‘waste of time’, a frivolous, useless activity reserved only for children. We are told to ‘Grow up! Get a job! And get serious about life.’ Increasingly, however, play is seen to be crucial, not just for children but for adults too – with special benefits for all parts of one’s life. You cannot force anyone to play. Most of us have forgotten what our relationship to play is. Evolutionary science shows that play is part of our DNA. It is how we learn and how we communicate with one another. It prepares us for the world ahead.
So, it is just about remembering; nudging the player that is dormant inside all of us. In this retreat we invite you to ‘exercise the play muscle’ inside you. Playing is about engaging ambiguous, uncertain and sometimes scary spaces or experiences with a sense of joy, curiosity, experimentation and ‘what if?’ as opposed to a ‘winning mentality’. By creating conditions for multiple options to emerge, not just right or wrong answer, win or lose, we take the expert out of the room, and invite in the fool. In this way we create safe spaces for creativity to flow.
In our experience, this approach is the most conducive, inspiring, life-affirming, character enhancing and FUN way to do things. We learn and connect more when we are having fun… ! This retreat aims to create a safe space for us to play where we can be a bit silly, find our playful self and learn how to incorporate play into our daily lives more readily.
“I can’t recommend this retreat enough. I arrived home full of hilarious stories and with a spring in my step. You will belly laugh, dance around, explore something new and fool around with art supplies. You won’t be bored for a second, but you will also have time to chill in a hammock and stare at the clouds.” – Mehita Iqani (Play Retreat 2017).
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- What is play for you? The weekend will be packed with a variety of activities exploring different types of PLAY. We have some ‘nudges’ that may involve make believe and pretend play, daydreaming, risky play, ritualIsed play, musical play, (non)competitive game-play plus a little bit of play theory.
- Have you forgotten how to play? The activities will be focused on non-competitive games that are designed to challenge you to think less, laugh, learn and play more, and in so doing, allow you to rediscover and connect to your playful spirit (wherever it may be hiding). We will explore games that: engage you in developing your quick responsive skills; stimulate joyful stupidity; promote child-like curiosity; require strict in-the-now awareness; and encourage you to purely laugh and have fun.
- Process-driven (not goal oriented) play: an invitation OR permission to… surrender! The focus here will be on quantity and not quality. Leave the ego and the judge at the door. Activities that will assist this process will include: playing with chance and the sub/unconscious, automatic drawing and writing and improvised theatrical play.
- Embodied and mindful practice: adventuring and wandering into the wilderness of the Groot Marico as an explorer, investigator, quiet and gentle observer and responding creatively and curiously to what is there.
- Dressing up, hide and go seek, treasure hunts, zombie games, ghost stories, musical chairs, broken telephone, squash sardines, cat ‘n mouse, singing games and a silent disco…
YOU WILL LEAVE WITH MAD SKILLS IN HOW TO USE PLAY TO:
- Facilitate the learning process: Playing is about trying different things out and seeing what happens. In this way we learn more because we adopt an open and positive perspective. We are not stuck on just ‘trying to find the right answer’.
- Assist with interpersonal relationships, communication and collaboration: Play assists with active listening and exchange – a lot of play is about saying yes. Improvisational play is about being generous and open to what the other person has to offer – and working with what is. Not what it should or could be, but what is.
- “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato.
- Assist with ‘sitting with ambiguity’: Often – we don’t know what the outcome will be, what the future holds. This makes us nervous, uncomfortable and sometimes it even paralyses us. Because play is about trusting the process, we learn to work with this feeling of ambiguity, uncertainty and unknowingness. No condition is permanent.
- Relieve stress and anxiety and be more productive: play boosts our energy, is full of surprises and gets you moving!
- Adopt divergent ways of thinking, as opposed to convergent ways of thinking: divergent thinking is an exploratory thinking process where many ideas are possible. Convergent thinking is about trying to get one right idea. This is how most of us were taught in school – that there is only a right and a wrong way to do things! Play inspires divergent thinking and minimises the fear of ‘getting it wrong’, so we are inspired to take more risks. In this way the creative process is much more organic, generative… and FUN!
- Access your inner child (#hippiealert we know we know) and never be bored again: For most of us our experience of the world is largely visual. Through our phones and computers, our lives are saturated with thousands of images every day. We are forgetting how to make our own images! When we play, we jump-start our imagination, wonder and curiosity at the world. Make-believe, pretend and daydreaming can all assist with this process.
- Live a happier life: Play makes you happy. Be it though dancing, singing, drawing or just daydreaming.
Pricing: Weekend accommodation and all (INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS) vegetarian meals included.
|Twin/double room with en suite bathroom (per person):||R2 880|
|Twin/double room with shared bathroom (per person):||R2 660|
|Single room with shared bathroom (only 3 available):||R3 060|
|Single use of twin/double room (if space available), shared bathroom:||R3 160|
|Single use of ensuite room (if space available):||R3 360|
|Camping (own tent)||R2 240|
TRC is committed to being accessible to all, so please enquire after bursary places, if you do not feel you can afford the full retreat cost. You can offer your skills and work in lieu of full payment.
A voluntary environmental levy of R60 is included in the price.
Please fill in the online booking form for each person wanting to attend.
A 50% deposit (non-refundable, but transferable to another TRC retreat) will secure your place.
Roberto Pombo is a very, very serious theatre-maker, educator and performer. He graduated with an Honours degree in Dramatic Arts from WITS University in 2008 and went on to complete a three year intensive training at the acclaimed Helikos International School of Theatre Creation. Some of his performance credits include Robin Orlin’s Dressed to Kill, Kill to Dress; Jerome Bel’s Shirtology; The History Boys directed Alan Swerdlow; Jemma Kahn’s We Didn’t Come To Hell For The Croissants; and The Play That Goes Wrong, directed by Alan Committie. He was most recently seen in the multi-award winning clown show Babbelagtig, directed by Jenine Collocott; and Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class, directed by Sylvaine Strike. Roberto’s passion for theatre is strongly rooted in the world of the clown and the bouffon. He recently completed his Masters dissertation in theatre through Wits University and went on to attend a three month pedagogic training at Helikos under the direction of world-renowned theatre master, Giovanni Fusetti. He currently teaches clown, improvisation and devised theatre work in Johannesburg.
Anthea is a very, very serious artist, teacher, play facilitator, lifelong learner and runner. She is interested in play, performance, trusting the process and seeing what happens. In 2008 she completed her Masters at Wits with a focus on play and performance in public space. In 2013 she won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for performance art (inaugural) where she created her “Vs” series which embraced failure and reimagined winning as the act of learning itself. She has travelled widely as an artist and play facilitator. In April 2017 Anthea was the keynote speaker for CounterPlay festival in Denmark, as well as for the Playful Arts festival in Eindhoven in 2018 in the Netherlands. More recently she was a resident artist, researcher and play facilitator at The Capital of Children as part of the LEGO Foundation in Denmark. Most recently Anthea has won a studentship at Northumbria University in Newcastle to complete a 3-year practice-led PhD with a specific focus on sport, play and contemporary performance. Anthea currently lives, learns, works and plays Newcastle, U.K. www.antheamoys.com
Responses from players at the last Play Retreat in 2017:
“The Play retreat with Anthea and Roberto was a huge amount of fun. They have created a brilliant programme full of interactive games and experiences which, as well as making sure that participants get silly, giggle and are encouraged to express themselves, also cleverly teaches about the role of improvisation, experimentation and joyfulness in a full and happy life…. Go play! You’ll remember parts of yourself that the responsible adult in charge of you might have neglected.”
“It was so refreshing to be in a beautiful space, to meet new people and play. At first very hard to let go but then with the non judgmental support of your new friends you slowly start to open up and enjoy playing. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I am so glad I did it. I did for myself and I’ll be back. Thank you.”
“The best thing since sliced bread.”
Jasmina (she doesn’t eat bread and was on a juice diet during the retreat).