Training group in Poland. Trainer: Igor Hanuszkiewicz

The leader proposes this exercise as the last link in the group work process - a form of a psychodramatic farewell, and at the same time, the summary of the whole cycle. The group's task is to make an unusual gift for each of the participants. The participants, one at a time, leave the room where the game takes place, and the task of the rest of the group is to decide what kind of gift should they give to the person who left. The gift is supposed to be in the form of a so-called 'vignette' - a tableu or a short motion scene, which symbolizes an important feature of the character of the person who has left the room - the person's role in the group or a thing, which the person may particularly need in that stage of life. First, the participants talk about the absent member of the group, they recall the situations and events that took place during the classes and are important for the person, but also his, or her, statements and the roles he or she played. Then they try to come up with a theatrical form of the gift idea they invented and test its various possible forms. The trainer hints that the 'mirror technique' might be used, using an understudy - a person who is a substitute, representing the main character in the created image. That kind of procedure will be then repeated in all the scenes. When the idea of the 'vignette' is ready and generally approved, then the absent person comes back into the room and watches the presentation.


The group agrees unanimously that the female participant, for whom the gift is being prepared, played a special role in the group - namely, she brought order and peace to various difficult situations. She also paid great attention to the aesthetic aspects of the activities and the reality that was created during those classes. One of the participants suggests a scene in which the understudy will re-paint the group, providing it with a new, orderly shape. That idea seems to be the most distinct and clear. After a short rehearsal of the planned activity, the main character (the previously mentioned female) - the protagonist, ceremoniously enters the room, where the participants sit and lay in sloppy poses, demonstrating dejection, boredom and ambivalence. The understudy is situated to one side, sitting, covered with a piece of cloth. The protagonist switches positions with the understudy and then watches the performance. In one hand, the understudy carries a paintbrush and approaches every participant and then sketches his new pose with a few paintbrush strokes. The picture of chaos and lack of harmony gives way to a picture of an active and coordinated group. Afterwards, the understudy gives the paintbrush back to the protagonist, and the scene ends with applause.

The carousel of scarves

When talking about their female friend, the participants all agree that there was a moment during the training in which there was a positive change in her - only then did she really open up and let the group truly get to know her. They decide to show that metamorphosis in a symbolic manner, using scarves. After considering various ideas, they form a close circle around the understudy, who crouches in the middle holding a bunch of scarves. After a while, the understudy comes to life and gives each person one scarf, and next he sets the circle in motion with a gesture. The participants unfurl the scarves on their outstretched arms, and they create a colourful 'carousel'. At the end, the understudy brings the activity to a close by giving the final scarf he has to the main character.

This exercise may by helpful in fulfilling various aims, as well as educational tasks, for instance as an attractive and uncommon form of repeating and entrenching the aim of the course, but also reaffirming the proper techniques, through application and creative usage in a new situation. It can also take the form of an exam, in which the person who receives the gift guesses the meaning or the hidden message of the presented scene and analyses its character and the structure. The action itself plays an important, integrative role, reinforces the group bond, and at the same time is focused on the individual needs of each of the participants. It can also appear in a simplified version, as suggested by a trainer in Portugal: The participants give things to one another (scarves) that symbolise, for instance, peace, love, dreams - all those things, which in their opinion, the chosen person needed the most - the things she might miss at the moment. The exercise may be connected with a particular occasion, such as Christmas, which is the time of the year when people already normally give presents to other people, or it may be conducted at the end of a larger session, as was described in this case. The activity requires quite some time, and it would be beneficiary if each of the participants received a gift (the classes described here lasted for several hours).


The Bielskie Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre
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