Manohar Khushalani’s Team Building Exercises

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This Exercise I use often in my theatre classes, but in smaller groups. Working with a large group provides a very exciting possibility, for me. The idea is to sensitize participants to their own vocal potential. To experiment with variations and nuances in sound. Participants learn to listen not only to each other but also to sounds in the environment within and without the space they are in. Results vary,  it can create a catharsis in some cases, but a very powerful bonding in all cases.  We start the interactive exercise by asking people to lie on the carpeted floor together in alternate circles with heads together or feet together. Those who cannot lie can sit on chairs in circles facing each other or with their backs to each other .

While representative images have been chosen to illustrate this complex interactive game., you can watch the video of the entire exercise shot by my dear friend Stuti Samanvay during one of my workshops with my students. The relevant links on TheStageBuzz Youtube channel are cited at the bottom. You can also watch the student feedback videos on the same channel
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Circle with feet together
Circle with feet together

Everyone is asked softly by the conductor to relax.  In fact he gives them auto suggestion to relax each part of their body muscle by muscle and joint by joint, helping them to lose awareness of their bodies. When they are fully relaxed and kind of mesmerized,  they are asked to listen to sounds within the hall. Some special sounds are created by volunteers. Example:  tearing a piece of paper.  Flapping of cloth.  Shaking  a Keychain.  There will be many ambient sounds they will be expected to recall later

Participants sitting on chairs

In the next step they are asked to listen to sounds outside the room. Those can be ambient sounds or sounds created in the corridors outside. Participants will be able to listen exclusively to external sounds without listening to sounds inside the room.

A very subtle beat is created, very softly,  with recorded sound of some percussion instrument(s)

Now in any one circle one participant starts a vocal abstract sound. The participant next to him adds with his own sound. One by one everyone in the circle adds his own vocal bit. Until they all create their own vocal band. The same exercise is repeated in all circles.

Participants-creating collective sounds

There is a gradual build up in the hall as every circle resonates with each other’s sounds. They are asked to see to it that what they create should not be noise. They should listen to each other within the circle and without the circle. The percussion sound played on the speaker system provides a reference beat for all groups

Circle with heads together

In some circles, people who are feeling more active can all sit up in their respective positions maintaining their orchestral vocal compositions.

Sitting Posture
Sitting Posture

People who were sitting in chairs can get up move either in circle shoulder to shoulder or walk in circles.

Circle shoulder to shoulder
Circle shoulder to shoulder
Participants walking in circles
Participants walking in circles

Everything can end in an euphoric crescendo or in a soft sublime end. The climax will depend on the collective choice of mood. At the end if the participants feel upto it, they can share their experiences.  Which from my past experience can be very positive.

By now you must be very excited to see the actual workshop conducted by Prof. Manohar Khushalani. Please watch the film of the actual workshop and listen to participants feedback here:

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Yoginder Kumar Sharma says:

    Khushlani Ji is a multi faceted personality. An expert engineer, an articulate speaker, a versatile actor, a learned author and a gem of a human being. 👍

  2. Avatar Dr. Uday Roman says:

    I personally enjoyed workshop in Khadakwasla with sir . Experience was amazing 👏👏👏👏👏. Will be happy to join any time with sir.

  3. Avatar says:

    I personally enjoyed workshop in Khadakwasla with sir . Experience was amazing 👏👏👏👏👏. Will be happy to join any time with sir.

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