Guest Blog Post: “What Have I Seen You In?”

When you tell someone that you are an actor, their immediate question is: “What have I seen you in?”. There is my usual response to the various commercials, tv, and film roles I’ve done; but what they don’t know is the impact my job as an actor has had in real life with real people. People like the participants doing mediation training with Hilary at Riverdale Mediation. This always leaves them a little puzzled and perhaps puzzled is where they should be, because unless you get to experience this kind of performance, you will never truly understand.  

Marco Timpano

I have had the great fortune to use my acting skills in classrooms, hotel conference rooms and now zoom rooms, providing interactive role-play simulations, and key coaching for participants across the globe. Riverdale Mediation is a progressive client of Supporting Roles, and Hilary has been using actors in her programs to provide interactions that are as close as being in the field as possible while being able to stop, receive feedback and even apply the feedback and try again.

By including highly skilled actor-coaches, the participants in Riverdale Mediation programs are allowed to stretch new muscles as the experience unfolds.

As you can imagine this allows participants to practice newly acquired skills and theories immediately, do some real-time practice, get real-time feedback, and build their skills. By including highly skilled actor / coaches the participants in Riverdale Mediation programs are allowed to stretch new muscles as the experience unfolds. When they need to do the same in the field after the training is over, it won’t feel like their first time, because it isn’t. This is such an incredible opportunity that Hilary provides the participants, and I witness it on each program.  I see the development taking place from where we begin to where we arrive, it’s personalized and is highly rated and appreciated by the participants.   

Without a doubt for me it’s some of the most rewarding work I have been able to participate in.  I’ve applied these skills and brought to life a variety of characters in Hilary’s carefully constructed learning environment. The characters we play are robust and authentic personalities in difficult times in their lives and we as actors are expected to respond as we feel they would while supporting the learning objectives. These roles require the skills learned in Hillary’s programs to uncover and unpack each scenario. 

Giving meaningful, visceral, and real-time feedback is an important part of this work. It is valuable not only for the participants about their own performance but helps to reveal the inner journey the characters have gone through. This allows participants the ability to understand what’s occurring for clients and how that shows up as they interact with them so in the future they can adjust accordingly. 

I have seen the participants we work with make true, real-time connections and not only grasp the materials they have been taught but integrate them and live them while still in the course. That kind of learning doesn’t happen everywhere.  In tough times this resource could easily be removed, but I do want to take a moment to applaud Hilary and Riverdale Mediation for their commitment to the quality of their participants’ experiences. She listens to the feedback and continues to invest in providing this kind of impactful learning environment.  

As for me, the actor, it has been over a decade now that I have been working with Hilary (Riverdale Mediation) and her participants who come to the programs at all levels, often very accomplished already in their field; and each time I step into a role, the challenge and authenticity that I am invited to bring to that role makes me a better performer. I have learned as an actor and someone continually learning about the human condition that sometimes an authentic, one on one interaction in a virtual zoom room far away from the lights and cameras on set, can be the richest experience of all and can, in fact, have the greatest global impact. What you’ll see me in is the impact the participants of these programs make on the world.  Our work is always about them and who they serve.

Marco Timpano is a professional Actor, an award-winning podcaster and author. He is a corporate actor and real-time business coach for Supporting Roles Interactive Training Inc. For over two decades he’s worked with SR’s clients as part of their learning and development programs and for ten years he has been the lead Senior Associate with Riverdale Mediation’s course delivery.