Sunday, 7 September 2014

Brendan McPhillips and Playback Theatre

Dr Brendan McPhillips performing at the Camelot Lounge, Sept 2014

The man in the picture is a psychotherapist and a performer. This his story:

"My name is Brendan McPhillips and I am a member of the improvised playback theatre group Out of the Box. There are around 10 of us in the group, and we perform publicly 4 times a year, usually upstairs at the Roxbury Hotel in Glebe in Sydney's inner west.

Playback was started 30 years ago by Jonathan Fox in America. It grew out of Psychodrama, but, rather than being therapeutic, it was designed as performance - performance for communities that enabled them to reflect on themselves, and see the common human threads that run through all groups of people. 
At a playback performance a 'conductor' stands in front of the audience. Behind the conductor are 4 actors and a musician. The conductor asks audience members to tell stories from their lives. These are then enacted immediately and without rehearsal by the performers. Often something seemingly ordinary that would otherwise pass by without notice becomes startling and moving.

I became involved in playback theatre myself 20 years ago, when, on a whim, I did a course in improvised theatre. It has subsequently seamed my life with such a vein of gold that I still often stand on stage in wonder at how this extraordinary path opened to me"

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