Frank Renold is an actor, improvisation coach and presenter. He is co-founder of Theatre Anundpfirsich. In his training for companies (he is teacher at Kaos Pilot Switzerland) he combines the techniques and principles of improvisation with his many years of experience in the private sector, helping teams and individuals to improve their communication and collaboration.
In this interview we talk about a specific session he had with the students from Kaos Pilots about the importance of body as a communication channel, the interaction between teachers and parents in the school environment and the application of improvisation techniques with kids and young people.
You can see the full transcription of the interview below:
Learning to be aware of people and myself to improve communication
«We have been working today with the Kaos Pilots students about being more aware of people you are interacting with and also be aware of what you do in the interaction, working a lot in body language so how people talk through their body, how they feel and what we can do to make them feel better or make the interaction better.
The body is maybe our strongest channel to interact to each other, I mean we are talking face to face, faces are a very strong channel what I can see in your eyes right now, what you do with your hands, how you sit here, listening to your voice, I hear a lot of emotions. So reading that on one hand and on the other hand also knowing what I do consciously and also starting to play with that.
I think it’s a huge tool to find out how communication works. I have tried it a lot in my own life and it works. It’s really interesting to see how people body wise interact with each other and how you can also play in that field, what your impact is… If you change your partner is going to change too.
I am usually here (at the Kaos Pilots) once a year for two or three days and work with the current teams.»
«We have to take advantage of the fact that both the teacher and the parents want the best for the kid to improve their interaction»
I can tell you why we use exactly that activity or that situation, I mean having a parent and a teacher talking about their kid.
We are working with status that means more or less self-confidence, so it is how self-confident you are in the interaction of talking. And what we realized is that this is actually a good situation because both of them usually the teacher and the parent want something good for the kid.
They may not have the same opinion, how to achieve that or the other, but they want something good for the same thing. So they have kind of like the same goal but they may have different opinions.
If you use other situations usually you can get into a conflict because you maybe just have different goals as well but then you are in the conflict mode. We use this situation because these people (the parents and the teacher) have the same goal and the idea is how to make that interaction even better to achieve that goal even if you see different ways on how to achieve it.
It’s not so much of manipulating the others, it’s more of having a conscious feeling of what we are constantly doing and starting to see it as a game. Laying in that and taking risks and sometimes failing or reading you in the wrong way but still being in that game and being in contact with people.
«Kids are specialist in improvising»
We do it from time to time, work with kids and schools in between let’s say 8 and 16 years old. The smaller kids are specialist in improvising, we also do kid shows and it’s very different because improvising for kids is just what they do all day, so they are not impressed by us improvising but they like it a lot that adult people play like they do so they love it. With an adult audience usually people are really impressed that you are so creative, so fast, so spontaneous and that is a big difference in the audience.
Especially in the anglo-american part of the world there are lots of schools where they have improv theatre classes in their curriculum so really they do improv Theatre like every week. But I haven’t heard of an example of combining it with knowledge like history or math or…but that would be an interesting experiment!