Psyche’s Cabaret with Maude Davis, Ph.D
The zeitgeist of European modernism and a turbulent socio-political environment influenced Jung as he developed active imagination, a method which translates the contents of the unconscious into images and narratives or personified as separate entities. At this same moment, cabaret emerged in cities across Europe as a dynamic new performance mode. Elegant and satirical, comic and transgressive, grotesque and transcendent this “theatre of small forms” incorporates poetry, song, dance, monologues, short skits, puppetry, and more. The magic of literary-artistic cabaret is revealed through the performer’s intimate relationship with the audience.
In this workshop, participants will be invited to experience a new therapeutic technique which integrates active imagination together with cabaret. Drawing on Jung’s idea that the ego is not the only complex in the psyche, the method begins with solo improvisational practice to illuminate the multiple perspectives of one’s inner dialogues; it employs the idea of poiesis, or bringing forth, as a paradigm for working with symbolic images, feelings, body sensations and memories. Participants will learn to aesthetically shape their psychic explorations through a variety of performance disciplines: storytelling, song and sketch writing, choreography, and puppetry using Playback Theatre techniques. These activities help to “hold” the psyche’s multiple states, creating the necessary tension to develop a new attitude.
Now, participants enter a liminal performative space in which carnivalesque expressions of psyche may come into being. The workshop culminates in Psyche’s Cabaret — participants take turns presenting vignettes in front of the group. Activated at the moment of performance, the audience’s role as witness is essential for the process of transformation. Lastly, we will discuss how to use Psyche’s Cabaret in clinical settings. Just as active imagination and cabaret were, in part, responses to a tumultuous era, Psyche’s Cabaret can be a powerful tool for individual and cultural renewal in our challenging times.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
2:15 – 6PM