The Ball Game is the heart of Self-With-Others.
Though one of the most common of training exercises – we stand in a circle and throw balls in random patterns – it is nonetheless the element of this training which yields the most extraordinary insights, frustrations, triumphs and laughter. When people return to Self-With-Others (and one of the characteristics of this work is that people come to workshops and residencies repeatedly) it is usually of The Ball Game that they first speak!
Deceptively simple, The Ball game is an extraordinarily powerful technology of personal and ensemble growth. The Ball Game is a structured improvisation, without content or conclusion. It is a pure exercise in the receiving and giving of impulse. Within that process of receiving and giving we encounter ourselves – we notice how we receive impulses and how we pass impulses to others. As we encounter ourselves, we can come to notice what blocks us, what stands between impulse and reaction, what fears, habits, assumptions we bring to our work. Through the process of noticing blockage, we can come to dissolve blockage.
Though The Ball Game was developed as a training for performers, its uses are wider than that. It has been used in training teachers, developing management processes, enhancing team-cohesion in a company-wide setting. It also has significant applications in therapeutic settings.
A full description and analysis of The Ball Game can be found at Ensemble Physical Theatre – John Britton