Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

For the Love of Learning

I sat in my class this morning as two different groups did presentations for the assignment I called "Performance Traditions Presentations." This was the assignment I created so that my class could learn about various types of theatre and performance without me actually having to lecture about them (have I ever mentioned how much I hate lecturing?). The assignment was to research their assigned topics (which included: Indian Sanskrit Theatre, Mime and Commedia dell'Arte, Japanese Traditions, Chinese Opera, Carnival Traditions, and Puppet Traditions around the Globe) and then find a creative and interesting way to present the information to the class.

Most of them did PowerPoint presentations. Sigh.

The two presentations today (Puppets and Carnival) however were the best of the groups. The puppet group actually presented with puppets, and didn't have a PowerPoint. What a relief. The Carnival group relied on PowerPoint but didn't just read off the slides, included lots of videos and images, and actually wore masks while they talked.

But this post isn't about the presentations or my successes and failures as an instructor. It's about the epiphany I had while watching the presentations.

[caption id="attachment_7363" align="aligncenter" width="900"]The feeling of epiphany . . . The feeling of epiphany . . .[/caption]

As I sat there and actually learned a few new things (granted not many but a few) and saw images I had never seen before, I realized why I've stayed so long in academia, as well as why I love both writing and theatre, and why I keep trying to find ways to travel . . . I love learning and I never want to stop.

Flying Puppet 2

You see, in the ideal world of academia you are always learning new things. In the ideal world of academia you are with a group of people who like to ask question, challenge assumptions, welcome discussion, explore the unknown, and so on.

Note that I said the IDEAL world of academia. It no longer feels that way to me.

Yet I still love learning.

The challenge for me is to find a way to meld my love of learning about other cultures and people with my passion for the arts and my desire to keep my sanity. I suppose I could become a student again, but that is not the answer.

So what is?