Emotional Decision Making exercises

Emotional Decision Making: If you are to “choose one thing” entering a scene, emotion is always a strong choice.  It doesn’t matter what the choice was if you commit.  And choosing to decide without deference to “sense” can make for fun unique scenes.

Suggested Exercises:

EMOTIONAL CHOICE CIRCLE– Player One makes a decision of what emotion they will use to react to Player Two through.  Then Player Two says anything.  And Player One has the previously decided upon emotional reaction to the anything.  (“I have a dog” / “Fucking Christ!”)
A committed emotion will always trump sense – if you just feel you never have to explain how/why you feel what you do.
Any emotion works – if we try to “understand your motivation” before making a choice about how to feel, you’ll end up in a scene that’s been done a million times before. But, if you make a choice about how to feel before any context is established, then that scene has the potential to be different than any that’s been seen before (“I’m the first Johnson graduating college” / “Ooooh, my god.  I’m so scared”).


EMOTIONAL LAY UP LINES – Player One makes a decision of what emotion they will use to react to Player Two through.  Then Player Two enters the stage to engage Player One and Player Two responds through their chosen emotional perspective (“Hi” / “I love you”).  Give the scenes a few lines back and forth.
Repetition is the only justification you need – If emotional offers are not aligned (“It’s so beautiful”/ “I’m so depressed”), don’t waste your time negotiating which feelings are valid; just heighten the juxtaposed feelings (“The colors in this sunset – breath taking” / “So much pollution”; “The deep reds, bright purples…”/ “The black in our lungs”).


BLIND SCENES –  Player One starts engaged in the environment (with an action, object, atmosphere, etc.).  Player Two, starting with his back to the stage, has the first line of dialogue.
Commitment is the only justification you need – If players’ initiations don’t align, they don’t have to make sense of why they’re together.  They can just accept and heighten what’s happening.


EYE CONTACT SCENES – Players One and Two have to make statements back and forth without breaking eye contact.  For the sake of the exercise, these scenes can consist of two players standing center stage as talking-heads.
Harder to assert when pressured – We tend to want to ask questions or make weak statements when forced up against our scene partners.   We have to be (or at least “seem”) confident even in the face of demanding insecurity.

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