International Joke Day. And a very short story.

Once upon a time…

a woman sat on a train in Cape Town, next to a total stranger, going home from work. The stranger told the woman about something remarkable she’d experienced at work that day. It was a show by us, TakeAwayTheatre – and she’d remembered our name. Isn’t that great!

The woman duly googled us and phoned, and we went and worked in the factory she was part of – for several years. All because of that stranger on a train, and the story she shared. (This was about ten years ago, before strangers used their phones as shields, instead of saying hello.)

Much has been written about the attention economy, and the way information distracts us. In a nutshell, with so much information around, our limited attention is competed for by advertisers, spammers and the like (as well as pesky children). ‘Information designers’ try and create ‘attention traps.’

When we are privileged to perform for an audience, we understand that we’re competing with other information that loudly calls, at the back of the mind: What’s for supper? Why is my back sore? How am I going to explain that my work is unfinished? Will I get home in time to see my children before they go to sleep?

We would be fools to expect people to pay us attention just because their bosses told ell them to. So, to earn and sustain attention requires us to tell the audience’s truth – or better still, create a space for the audience to tell it in their own voices. Only then can something happen, which helps to shift people’s understanding of the challenges they’re faced with.

So, how do you get attention? The real currency here is REPUTATION. (Um, here’s a link to some dodgy¬† 80’s song on YouTube about that. (So what else you busy doing? Pretending to work?!) And while you’re at it, here’s the link to Michelle Obama’s carpool karaoke. Which is simply massively awesome. Life’s too short not to watch this stuff!)

What are we, besides the stories told about us – and the stories we tell? The myths we carry are much more than powerful predictors of behaviour, but steer towards our very understanding of the meaning of life, and why we are here…

OK that’s enough serious stuff. It was International Joke Day the other day (I mean month), but if you missed it, never fear.

What did the scarf say to the hat?
– You go on ahead, and I’ll hang around.

(I know, I’m sorry. I just can’t shake that one.)

It’s also International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day TODAY – the ninth day of the ninth month. Our show on the subject, Die Liefdeskind, celebrates a decade or performances. We’re working with our partners, the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR) in the Renosterburg part of the Northern Cape next week. Break a leg!

And thanks for reading! See below for what we’re up to right now…

Hasta la Pasta!

Sean

ij-logoThe cool people (they have big fridges) at I&J have entrusted us to work on a deep level with staff, delving into personal histories and sharing stories in a series of workshops…which has been amazing. Factory workers lead each other in dance, and leave the room with profound respect for each other. More about this next time…

wcgThe cool people at the W. Cape Dept. of the Premier (yup, they’re pretty on the ball) have entrusted us to work with them on embedding their corporate values in a dynamic short workout we’ve designed for 160 people (at once) at the Dept. of Agriculture next week. Viva!

ackermans-logoThe cool people at Ackermans (they have an enviable high-performance culture and a real sense of purpose) have entrusted us to help celebrate their upcoming centenary… deadlines loom, scripts zoom back and forth, rehearsals beckon. Exciting times!

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TakeAWAY Theatre
TakeAway Theatre and Training est 2001