Separating Speech And Action exercises

You Are Not What You Do: Let your miming inspire a scene but do not let it dictate the scene. When you and a friend engage an activity, how much dialogue goes to discussing that activity? Do you talk about doing the dishes while doing the dishes? Mime gives us something to do so we’re more than talking heads, but it shouldn’t confine us.

Suggested Exercises:

WHAT ARE YOU DOING – Players form two “lay-up” lines. One player mimes an action. The other player asks, “What are you doing?” The asked player says something unrelated to what they are actually doing. The asking player engages in this new activity. Then the first player now asks the second player, “What are you doing?”
Lessons:
Separate mind and body – we need to be able to engage our bodies in an activity/environment without confining our mind to dealing with that activity/environment

 

MIMED SEQUENCE / DIALOGUE SEQUENCE – Two players on stage are given a suggestion of location. Each player, in mime – without interacting or trying to tell a story – must define five objects in the space. Then have players go back to their starting positions. Tell them to go through their sequence of mimed interactions now with dialogue and reacting to one another, BUT without talking about what they are doing.
Progression:
• Players will struggle not to talk about what they’re doing; stage coach quickly to get them re-centered if they go too far down that rabbit hole.
• Players will stop engaging environment and devolve to talking heads once they reach the end of their sequences; encourage them to keep engaged, developing new environmental elements while building on dialogue
Lessons:
Activities gain weight in conjunction with the dialogue – don’t undermine subtext by making it explicit; let the audience make connections between what’s being done and what’s being said.
A stage picture makes scenes more interesting – simply moving around the space and engaging in the environment – even if nothing is explicitly addresses or explicitly drives the scene – will make players engaged in dialogue more interesting to watch.
Engage environment, rest your tongue – if we have something to do, we don’t have to rely so hard on our words

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