Your scene partner initiates, telling you, “You’re terrible.” Does that make you sad? Does that make you angry?
What if your scene partner is just “some stupid kid”? Maybe he says, “You’re terrible” and you just laugh; “Yeah, okay, I’m terrible.”
Making a choice about a relationship and relative status can help inform reactions and enable active emotions that elevate scenes. Here’s an exercise to help.PREPARED EMOTIONS & RELATIONSHIPS – Player One takes a printed slip of paper out of the pre-prepared “Emotions” bag (“I’m hypnotized by your charm”). Player Two takes a printed slip out of the pre-prepared “Relationships” bag (Your scene partner is your baby sitter). Player One initiates (with the line of dialogue or an approximation). Player Two has an emotional reaction to Player One’s emotion through the filter of the given relationship (explicitly explaining the relationship or not).
- Relationship informs feeling – whose mouth a line came out of can determine whether we like the sound of it or not. But a relationship’s description is not enough; we have to decide how we feel about that relationship.
- Stick what you start – Just because your scene partner laughs in the face of your confident assertion that he’s “terrible,” doesn’t mean you have to start acting like “some stupid kid.” If you started confident, remain confident; be “some stupid kid” that confidently stands behind his decisions.
- Status – the regard to which we hold our scene partner’s emotional opinion can determine our reaction. Is her opinion inscrutable even if you disagree? Is he such peon that nothing he says could be right? Do you bite your tongue or speak your mind? Do you take advantage or show mercy?
- Allow emotions to coexist; don’t mute conflicting desires – a boy sits across from a girl, pining silently while coolly attempting to flirt: that’s a drama aided by a camera’s close-ups. A boy sitting across from a girl shouts, “I love you,” only to then remember that she’s cooler than he is so he self-consciously retracts his assertion: that’s a comedy that explodes on stage.
Here are some example “Emotional Initiations” and “Relationships / Statuses” you can use –
|Emotional Initiations||Relationships / Status|
|You disgust me.||Your scene partner is your boss|
|I’m hypnotized by your charms.||Your scene partner is your babysitter|
|You make me nervous.||Your scene partner is your spouse|
|You crack me up.||Your scene partner is God.|
|I don’t believe you.||Your scene partner is your child.|
|You scare me.||Your scene partner is your twin.|
|I’m incredibly attracted to you.||Your scene partner is your creation.|
|You’re my hero.||Your scene partner is some dumb kid.|
|I wish I never met you.||Your scene partner is your parent.|
|I want to be just like you.||Your scene partner is your jailer/warden.|
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