Emotional Subtext exercises

Emotional Subtext:  Make assumptions to heighten emotions.  “Have you seen my wallet?” “I get it; I’m not fiscally responsible!”  Seeking to use emotions to drive scenes, we can make our partner’s contributions matter even if they don’t initially resonate.

Suggested Exercises:

EMOTIONAL ACCUSATION LAY-UPS – Player One comes off a lay-up line with a very innocuous line (“Oh, look, a mushroom”).  Player Two makes that line matter by making a strong assumption about what that line could mean (“I’m sorry I told you about me tripping on shrooms”).
Lessons:
Don’t feel pressure to explain the subtext/Commitment trumps sense – “What a beautiful sunset”/ “I’ll never cheat on you.”  All that matters is that Player Two thought up a “cheating” subtext from Player One’s “sunset” it doesn’t have to be justified.
Don’t defend; heighten – Player One needs to make assumptions, too.  “What a beautiful sunset”/ “I’ll never cheat on you”/ “I knew it. You’re cheating on me”/ “That you would think I could ever cheat on me is inexcusable.”

 

“YES, BECAUSE” SCENES – Player One makes a statement about they feel about herself or her scene partner.  Player Two heightens that feeling by making explicit the reason why Player One feels like she does (“I’m afraid of roller coasters” / “Because I dropped you as a baby”).
Lessons:
Feeling Comes First – Don’t wait on your motivation before feeling something.  Let feeling something, and the repetition of that feeling something, lead to an understanding of “why” (if needed at all).
Stay In-the-Moment – Commitment to reacting to the last thing said will keep us committed to the moment and focusing outward
Take a beat – the best thing about emotions is feeling them.  We don’t have to respond verbally right away.  Take a moment to be affected, to feel the impact of the line.  And do it without maybe before knowing “the impact of the line.”

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