Ment-Well #8: Failing. Falling. Learning.
Updated: Oct 12
Film by Ant Lightfoot
Text by Ant Lightfoot & Lou Platt
This session was the penultimate session. Ant Lightfoot has made a 2 min film that expresses something of it. Take a watch. After which there are a few words. Take a read.
Electricity is in the air. Anxieties are shared; tightness in the chest. They are frank and blunt about how they’re feeling. It’s grey and wet outside; the sun has crept away for another year and they’re feeling it. But they don’t mince their words. They’re feeling shit and they’re being loud about it. And they gently give each other the permission to be honest, no matter how they’re feeling. Tears. Frustrations. No judgements and cosey blankets.
There is a discussion about when they sometimes feel "super stupid" in certain spaces, with certain company. There is a noticing of the phrase "super stupid' and how this can work for us and not against us. A super-power in stupidity, in not knowing, in asking questions. They sit in the potential feelings of liberation, if only they could hold not knowing and the position of naivety, with the same awe that is often reserved for super-heros.
Like children who keep falling over. There's a curiosty about the falls and what the experience was like down there in the dirt (alongside a concern to check that all is okay). Some falls can be cherished and seen as potential opportunities for new beginnings and discoveries.
A cat distracts them from their thoughts as it insists on being in shot. There is a "polite" tussle between cat and owner, in a hope perhaps that this intruder isn't notice. The cat is named and given permission to roam as it pleases. There is no shame in allowing our impulses into our processes, perhaps our more animal instincts can be present and have worth.
They explore the inner Perfectionist and how this can be a secrete death instinct. Once you've hit perfection, there's NO WHERE to go, so in that way, whatever you are pursuing, is now dead.
Strive for excellence, not perfection. And be curious about what vulnerabilities and fears of shame lurk behind the perfect wall. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow; there is richness and opportunity and excitement that comes with being present, listening and responding in the now, allowing plans and perfectionisms to softly dissipate.
What are 'Ment-Well' articles?
Between July and October 2020, eight early-career theatre makers will come together to explore different aspects of their making process. They will be guided by writer, theatre maker and performer Caroline Horton who will facilitate five Mentoring sessions. In between the mentoring sessions, Artist Wellbeing Practitioner Lou Platt will facilitate Wellbeing sessions. In a hope to share discoveries and learnings with the wider community, each participant will create a 'Ment-Well' article that will capture something of one of the nine sessions. These articles are for collective self-reflection and a transfer of knowledge. They are to be approached by the author and audience with a sense of lightness, spontaneity and curiosity, and may be a seed or starting point for further thought and exploration - nothing more, nothing less.