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    Just Joking: Improv and Improve

    Just Joking: Improv and Improve

    Photo By Cpl. AaRron Smith | Pure Praxis actors listen intently as the audience openly discusses the performance...... read more read more



    Story by Frances Seybold 

    Marine Corps Base Quantico

    Jokes around the water cooler at work are great outlets to blow off steam and build unit cohesion in the workplace but inappropriate jokes in the same environment can negatively hinder workplace comfort and morale of those involved.
    Across the Department of the Navy, annual and quarterly training are conducted to educate service members about workplace harassment and other sensitive topics. In an effort to enhance the lessons, leadership aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) looked for something different. They turned to Pure Praxis, a theater group that comprises of a few individuals whom use performance education workshops to teach service members about specific topics.
    The Pure Praxis Team, commuted to MCBQ and for two days in May performed a harassment prevention workshop, ‘Just Joking,’ at Little Hall.
    “Pure Praxis did a wonderful job of augmenting the annual training Marines receive for sexual assault prevention,” said Cherr Hester, the installations’ sexual assault prevention response (SAPR) coordinator. She also explained how the base commanding officer, Col. William Bentley, wanted to present a new way of learning regarding inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
    Kelly Pfleider, the CEO and content creator of Pure Praxis, started the organization in 2005 and grew her company into a 40-member team of actors that tackle different scenarios such as sexual assault prevention, retaliation, workplace harassment, effective communication, domestic violence and many others.
    With her interest in theater and therapy, Pfleider incorporates her passions into the content, which is performed across various installations.
    “Our actors play out scenarios representing the problem and our audience is in charge of directing what they see,” Pfleider said. “Not only can we pinpoint the problem, but we can discover solutions on how to change them.”
    During the featured performance, six audience members answered questions and were called on stage with the actors to participate in correcting the previously scripted scenarios through improvisation.
    “This was far better than I expected. I thought this was going to be another death by Power Point but this was actually engaging and fun and definitely got the point across,” said Sgt. Darico Baker, the substance abuse counseling officer for Headquarters and Service Battalion. “I also learned that improvisation is a lot harder than people think,” he admitted laughing.
    The improvisation refreshes and helps the actors due to the intensity of their topics, Pfleider said about herself and the actors.
    “Rotating into these different roles gives us a break in their thought process—helps them see the story through a different lens.”
    Throughout the two days of performance, service members left with an experience outside of the usual and possibly took more than what ‘death by PowerPoint’ can offer. When asked if this was successful, Baker couldn’t have been happier, “It was amazing and I hope they keep doing what they’re doing!”

    Story and Photos by Lance Cpl. AaRron Smith



    Date Taken: 05.16.2019
    Date Posted: 05.21.2019 14:27
    Story ID: 323237
    Location: QUANTICO , VA, US 

    Web Views: 40
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    Just Joking: Improv and Improve