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A big difference with Role as I see it

“Role” is a word that Jacob Levi Moreno took from his theatre experience and his fascination with staging, producing and creative acts. He coached children in freedom to be themselves in Vienese parks while first a philosophy and then a medical student. He created impromptu theatre with teenagers and Vienese actors. He produced theatre early last century as a newspaper in action. He explored stage craft and stage design devising stages that embraced and wove their way through an audience. He was challenged by the encounter of catharsis as the audience is moved and changed by the dramatic warm up and the human truth that is soul opening as each actor enters, plays and creates the role they have in a dramatic slice of life.

Having migrated to the United States in 1928 Dr Moreno psychiatrist wanted word “role” to carry a wider meaning that fitted the reality of the “stage” of life where women,  men and their children are the players. Players not of parts prescribed, or with lines contrived, but acting authentically in the reality of what is.

There are real social pressures and restrictions on each of us. There are also creative realities that arise in each of us. Our creative realities are constructed by our wilful, mindful and self chosen paths built on our visions, our hopes, our dreams together with our spontaneity to to be ourselves and act freely for ourselves as ethical and inclusive beings.

Role for followers of Morneno’s experimental enquiry is a dynamic concept to discover who we humans are and how we operate within ourselves and in community. Moreno recognised the societal moulding and structuring of our various places and responsibilities within any community. He saw that social apsects of “role” are how we develop to be who we are. He saw our personal individual life learning to become who we can be involving taking up role positions enacting the requirements and adding in our way of being to gradually learn to be who we are becoming. The self he said arises from the roles we bring to life, rather than that the roles emerge from or are constructed by the self. The self - our individual personality – is not a pre-existent entity. We act and therefore we are. We produce roles as we interact and encounter the worlds realities day by day and minute by minute and we in that create ourselves. Others play there parts with us as co producers in their power over our path taking. We ourselves co produce the interactions within the power differentials of our shared cultures of the smal or wider systems in which we are set. Original family is majorly influential. However so too is our dreaming, our imaginations, our wishes, desires, our humour and our fearfullness and our indomitable spirit.

My next blog turns from the familiar social cultural aspects of role to an aspect Moreno recognised had not been recognised and deserved to be seen not only as an aspect but as the foundational reality of “role”.

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