On Day 2, he deconstructed the participatory drama to reveal the theory that backs his practice of facilitating a participatory drama such as the Minotaur, which he grasped during his directing experience with English playwright, Edward Bond: the Centre and the Gap.
He explains that the Centre of The Minotaur was the “Exploration of what makes/constitutes a monster”. He wrote scenes, selected props, devised participatory tasks based on this Centre, as well as Central Concepts such as Fear-Fearlessness, Seen-Unseen, Truth-Lies, Freedom-Captivity.
Cooper explains that these central concepts are what ground the facilitator in any discussion or interactive activity that happens. It is the compass during which the discussion becomes unfocused that the facilitator can guide participants back to these central concepts. The facilitator can then ask questions to counter and/or deepen the participants’ thinking, leading them to complicate the question of what makes/constitutes a monster. He likened the Centre to a glass prism that refracts different beams of light, and the facilitator being the one that shines the source light at different angles to reveal a multi-colored unfolding of the Centre to her participants.
Not only does the facilitator question participants from different viewpoints, but Cooper argued that she uses the questioning to come to a single conclusion that explains the Centre either. Instead, a facilitative mindset should use questioning to maintain a large, unanswered Gap of understanding between the participant, the drama and the universe. The Centre and Central Concepts should not be immediately revealed to participants either – they are solely tools for the facilitator alone to construct the framework of the drama. Sometimes, facilitators are tempted to fill the space with explanation when they encounter silence in the room – however, Cooper insists that silence is not something to be afraid of or avoided, that it is something to be willfully embraced for students to actually think while in the classroom. He encourages the workshop participants to have more faith in their students who can make connections on their own, or to create new ones that are completely unexpected and inspire new ideas of how to reveal something new about the Centre.
On Day 3, he demonstrated how a facilitator can be flexible to change by integrating a suggestion from a participant from the first day, about how King Minos’s daughter, Ariadne, would answer if questioned by prophets about her relationship with her father and the future of her city. Completely unplanned prior to holding the workshop, he asked a participant to roleplay as Ariadne and asked other participants to dive fully into the roleplay of the prophets.