In my former role as a Gallery Assistant, I had watched Agnes work with the Staging actors on several occasions as they performed these exercises in their weekly workshops. (Maybe more than others on staff, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect with Agnes leading this team building session.) Over the five month transformation with Staging, I watched these individuals grow as actors through these exercises week after week. They reacted in the same way we did in the beginning, sometimes feeling awkward or uncomfortable, but they continued to hone their skills. Those who spoke softly learned to command the room with their voice. Those who had appeared shy learned to recite their lines with confidence. All of this hard work was evident in their final scenes in the galleries as they performed their lines with conviction.
There is something valuable to us as humans in the experience of stepping outside of our comfort zone to doing something beyond our typical personality. Depending on the person, it can be a completely intimidating, or completely exciting experience, but for all of us, the end result is rewarding. With colleagues, we grow accustomed to existing relationships, behaviors, and a certain understanding of skills and authority. By breaking out of these roles in a way that pushes beyond our expectations, we have a new sense of ourselves and others. Sometimes we can surprise ourselves with what we are capable of doing.
Katie Hasler, Curatorial and Programs Coordinator
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts