Objective: How we feel about our scene partners determines a lot of our scene. Emotional agreement is strong default. But our characters needn’t always align.
We love tension. We can do conflict. But we should be wary of argument, negotiation and head-butting.
Active scene elements, relationship stakes and a willingness to lose ensure our scenes move forward as they heighten. Continue reading
Losing: The best tool in avoiding conflict? Losing. Losing is such a powerful skill. One, it allows players to disengage from talking-head arguments. Two, the losing player wins in the audience’s eyes – don’t ever underestimate the endearing quality of a player who is willing to be affected
Bite your tongue. Swallow your pride. Engage in an unrelated shiny active element on stage. Be the dynamic character and the scene’s about you. Your scene partner will hurry to be affected also because the audience reacted so favorably to you. Or, your scene partner will support your dynamism by feeding you fuel to heighten your dueling emotions.
TURN THE OTHER CHEEK – Prepare contrasting pairs of scenic desires (“Love me”/ “Leave me”; “We have to stop rocking”/ “Never stop a’rockin’”; “I need you to understand my truth”/ “I’ll never believe your lies”). Instruct players to initiate fully believing in their given desire. Build tension, sure. But the first player to acquiesce wins. And the exercise’s focus is understanding how “losing” affects the scene.
• Giving in ≠ Giving up – If you acquiesce, that doesn’t mean you’ve given up on your desire. You can return to it. And you can acquiesce again. The dueling emotional reactions is what makes you a dynamic character.
• More than one character can be dynamic – “Love me”/ “Leave me”/ “Okay, I’m leaving”/ “Stay.” That’s fun.
PDF of “contrasting pairs of scenic desires” to print and cut out for exercise.