Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Tribute - Paul Mathew's 'Corporate Theatre'

It is one of those experiences that you can’t really put in words. You feel like an attempt to use language to describe what you feel at the end of the day is just going to dilute the experience.

It is similar to what I felt after I heard the Kadtal in the Rajasthani Folk troupe perform during a Spicmacay concert. At the end of such a concert - you can not exclaim that it was awesome and breathtaking. The music went beyond these words. I remember, then, we invented a new level called KT level – Kadtal Level, that transcends these 'trivial' words.

I need a similar new label here to describe the Corporate Theatre. I will call it the Paul Mathew experience.


Paul Mathew
Director, Academy for Transformational Learning ("Corporate Theatre")
Madras, India


Ex-Army Officer (Regiment of Artillery)

Worked in corporates for 22 years - in Avery India, and Godrej & Boyce.
Have more than 40 years of theatre experience as an Actor, Actor trainer, and Playwright.

Conceived and developed the "Corporate Theatre" Methodology while in Godrej. He resigned as Regional Manager, Prima Division (South India) in June 2002 to start the Academy for Transformational Learning in collaboration with ATBM Holdings. The Academy uses "Theatre" tools for Management Training using a very interactive, totally experiential, provenly transformational, and thoroughly enjoyable process. Over 28,000 participants from across the world have experienced this original Methodology since June 2002 and till Aug 08. Participants have ranged from Presidents to Plant workers, CEOs, Directors, Consultants, Facilitators and Faculty from a wide range of Industry.

About the workshop:

I initially thought of posting all the exercises we had, as a part of the workshop [in Taj Recidency] here, but then decided against it, as someone has already posted a decent enough entry about Corporate Theatre.

[See here] for a detailed write up of a very similar workshop. The few areas where it differs are in the number of people in the group [we were closer to 40]. Also, the tableau that we were supposed to depict was different than flying geese. We also didn’t sing on the bus the way back. And the authors feelings about the workshop, though certainly true, don’t do it complete justice. Other than these things, I have no real complaints about the post.

But anyway, for the benefit of the people who attended the workshop [including me], to one day reminisce fondly, a few reminders are posted here:

Pre-lunch session:

Games: From silly, sillier to absolutely silliest

1. Point and act: I want to talk to you [ x-( ] [:-D] [ :`- ( ]

2. The three man boat: Pachak, Pachaak, Pachaak, Pacchak, Splash, Splaassh.

3. The three man elephant: Flap, Flaap, Flaaap, Flap, Flap, Umbrrraagh, Umbraagh

4. Bang, Bang You Are Dead. ‘Aaaaaa….h!’ ‘Bhawawh Bhawaha Sob Sob Sniff!!’

The 30- minute preparation time freeze – shot :

1. An accident at a circus – complete with two tigers, the patient, a doctor, paramedics, manager, an orchestra, audience, clowns, hunter, ring master, and a pick-pocketer.

2. A fight at a cabinet meeting – complete with a speaker, two gaurds, the stenographers, Lallo Prasad Yaday, Sonia Gandhi, ManMohan Singh, Vajpayee, other cabinet members and journalists.

The Post Lunch Session:

The Trails, Three Level Ones, One Level Two, One Level Three Acts.

A few enactments:

Airhostess, Model, Butcher, Executioner, Potter, Night Club Security, Barber, Lab Technician, Fisherman, Golfer, Air pump mechanic, Chef, Sadhu, Masseuse, ATM user, A pillion rider, Mason…

[The list is just too long …]

Lessons Learnt:

Aspects touched upon in such a way never before:

Self introspection, Team work, Team behavior, Dropping Personalities, Embracing the child within, Commitment, Losing Inhibitions, Battling Stage Fright, Theatre, Acting as opposed to Dumb Charades, Leadership, Time Management, Motivation, Goal orientation, Energy flows, Clear quick thinking, Creativity, Imagination into realty... damn, the list is endless.

This one day course, as someone pointed out , was so much more better than a whole year's Management course.

Most importantly, the workshop was fun. It was hilarious, actually. I do not remember laughing that long and hard for a long time.

As I began... the value of the entire experience can’t be put into words. What a person learns in these out of the box workshops can not be itemized and labeled and described. The entire post lunch session was non-verbal acting. Words to describe it will only lessen the experience. The only way to really know what it is all about is to be there, and experience it first hand.

One day to feel alive.

A Paul Mathew Experience.


Anonymous said...

Unforgettable session.... Fabulously recollected... great work

vk said...

Oh how I wish I could have attended it too.. It reminds me of a similar workshop we had on NITK beach during the IEEE Student Leader Congress... It was a much touted workshop and was nothing more than a disappointment... And that fact there there were only some unfamiliar third and second yrs only added to(/our) misery... Yuck! Again.. how I wish I could have attended this one.. Atleast it do so much as restore my faith in these 'character building' activities.

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