Working with the Soldier’s Arts Academy, touring the play Soldier On, I get to see my friend and fellow trainer Jonny Lewis in his theatrical shoes directing us.
Giving notes to actors is notoriously difficult. Typically, they have crafted their performance through the rehearsal period, have developed their favourite bits and – lacking objectivity – have often over-egged what would be better kept more ambiguous for the audience.
View from the top
The director is the objective umpire who has the big picture view of the whole game. Jonny has to reconcile what the actor wants for his or her character with the play as a whole. All this is done very publicly, with the whole cast in the room for notes.
Listening to Jonny after our first performance at the Sheffield Invictus Games Trials, I was thrilled to see that everything we teach in the corporate world around feedback plays out well in the theatre. Jonny was careful with each note to explain intention behind it, describing specifically what he had seen and the impact that would have on an audience before positioning the new way forward and getting a nod from the actor.
Feedback is a simple process that is rarely easy to implement effectively. But getting the right feedback avoids a whole lot of unnecessary conflict, and drives development of individuals and teams.
All the world’s a stage, and every actor on it needs a bit of feedback!
(adapted from William Shakespeare)
If you think your team could benefit from some carefully tailored stage direction, get in touch!
Managing Director, Sun and Moon Training
Picture © David Solomon