Finding the 'Hidden pleasures of the discomfort zone'

This phrase, a title in a recent Sydney Morning Herald article, sums up a lot of what we at Playback Theatre believe in – that discomfort can bring its own delights and rewards…


This article made me reflect on the experience of Playback Theatre both from a performers experience and from the audience side. Audience members have often told me that despite loving a show, they sometimes felt in the ‘discomfort zone’.


‘In an age of predictability, we need to rediscover our inner child to fully enjoy life’s riches, writes Suzy Freeman-Greene.’ Sydney Morning Herald 16/05/2009


I too have experienced this ‘discomfort zone’ – particularly when in training as a conductor. When we ask the audience to put up their hand and tell a story…… there is often a general pause and sometimes the pause reaches into the unknown. I am used to it now, but initially it felt discomforting.


I now think of it as ‘a pregnant pause’ and I feel excited in that moment. What I sense is that people in the audience are tussling within themselves battling with their inhibitions to speak in public sharing a personal story – should I, could I, dare I?!


Jodie Ahrens from Roundabout Theatre writes – ‘We are so soft with each other and protective of our personal spaces…and social norms’- she believes such inhibitions can prevent us from connecting honestly with each other.


So I say, feel the discomfort and do it anyhow. It’s good to challenge yourself. And in moving from the unknown to the known, you may move from being uncomfortable to being energized by a new way of seeing. Expanding your comfort zone – what’s better than that?!

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