Trusting and Committing – a 2 person scene video example

Boldly  choose.  Boldly commit.  Accept everything your scene partner says and does. Accepting doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you have to allow it to happen – and to repeat.

Commit. Push forward. And you’ll find yourself on the other end.

Stopping forward momentum to discuss, argue or otherwise conflict will kill you as all your scene’s (and the audience’s) focus is on “what do we not understand.” 

Commit. Believe and see. And you’ll kill it (rather than the other way around).


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Pattern Save Example #1 – Lap Organic Game

There are no mistakes in patterns. If a progression builds A, B, C and Z, “Z” is not a mistake, it’s just something to be acknowledged and made part of the pattern. If A, B, C, and Z, then D, E, F and Y.

There are no mistakes in patterns. The clearer and cleaner a pattern builds, the faster it will heighten and the harder it’ll hit for the purpose of editing.

There are no mistakes in patterns.  Whatever happens, don’t give up on the pattern.  Follow whatever happens.

Watch the Organic Game from the Johnsons below. See how the pattern doesn’t build cleanly in a progression to a crescendo within the addition of the first four players on stage. Watch as Player Five enters stage with the proceeding pattern in mind and, rather than abandoning what’s happened, follows his predecessors with a move that secures a solid edit with the audience.

I Am Superman self channeling exercise

I AM SUPERMAN – Everyone stands in a circle. One at a time, each player will enter the circle, say “I am [NAME] and for the next 30 seconds, I am Superman” at which point the teacher will start a timer and the player does whatever they want until the time is up at which point everyone claps and the next player takes the circle. Players around the circle are NOT to interact with the player in the center. The player in the center should be encouraged to do something they’ve been told they need to do more of on stage. Do mime. Be emotional. Stand still. Doesn’t matter.
Lessons:
• Surrender to your group – let go of ego, let your team know that you’re ready and willing to commit to being awkward in front of them.
• It sucks to be alone – don’t let your fellow players suffer on stage alone. Get out there and support each other.

Group Mind exercises

Group Mind: Having Group Mind is about immediate, enthusiastic acceptance. You need to show your fellow players that you respect and love their ideas, and trust that you can make a bold move and have your group respect and love it. “I trust you – I’m going to follow your ideas whatever they are, wherever they go, and I’m going to launch into my ideas and trust that you’ll follow me.” It is, however, not up to the group to earn this trust. You must surrender to the group. Give it your trust. Only then will the group get anywhere.

Suggested Exercises:

I AM SUPERMAN – Everyone stands in a circle. One at a time, each player will enter the circle, say “I am [NAME] and for the next 30 seconds, I am Superman” at which point the teacher will start a timer and the player does whatever they want until the time is up at which point everyone claps and the next player takes the circle. Players around the circle are NOT to interact with the player in the center. The player in the center should be encouraged to do something they’ve been told they need to do more of on stage. Do mime. Be emotional. Stand still. Doesn’t matter.
Lessons:
• Surrender to your group – let go of ego, let your team know that you’re ready and willing to commit to being awkward in front of them.
You don’t need anyone – you can be on stage alone for 30 seconds or for five minutes. Commit to yourself. Don’t rely on meeting your scene partner center stage before the scene starts. You can be alone.
It sucks to be alone – don’t let your fellow players suffer on stage alone. Get out there and support each other.

MIRRORING INTO BUZBY BURKLEY – everyone must commit to following and looking idiotic together. Get them to let go, trust each other and the teacher. Start everyone in paired lines, facing off as if looking into a mirror at one another. Have them start mirroring each other – head to toe, leading by following, heightening subconscious contributions, etc. – and have them keep going as you give more instructions.
Progression:
• Start with mirrored pairs
• Allow people to move closer and farther apart
• Allow people to move left and right, overlapping other mirrored pairs
• Allow people to switch the player they’re mirroring, making and breaking different groups
• Build to everyone moving around the room, switching mirroring, coming together, breaking apart – committing to following the crazy
Lessons:
• If everyone is “doing it” then no one looks dumb “doing it” – but the moment it becomes apparent that someone in the group is not committed then the audience doubts the entire endeavor.
When you are “playing” others want to play with you – if you’re having fun and committing the audience will follow you no matter how silly you look
That is the weirdest thing I’ll ever have you do – thank them for just doing what you asked them to without judgment; encourage them to remain that trusting throughout class

Kick The Duck, Red Rover exercise

Simplifying and Clarifying: The sooner everyone is on the same page, the sooner we can heighten and evolve collaboratively.

Our main tool of simplification is Agreement – the more players that mirror/agree, the less different stuff there is on stage to negotiate.

The more people you’re playing with the clearer you have to be. Our main tool of clarification is Repetition. The first time something happens, it’s random; the second time is purposeful; the third time is expected.

A group of people can take the stage and confidently navigate chaos by focusing outward, seeking symmetries, making differences matter and clarifying sequences of cause and effect through repetition.

Through “Kick The Duck, Red Rover,” players learn to focus outward and make the random purposeful by mirroring, heightening and supporting one another.

KICK THE DUCK, REDROVER – “On the count of three, everyone will be playing a game without words. You will collaborate to establish focus and define the rules of your game. One, two, three, go!” This game starts with impossible chaos but becomes manageable and then successful as the teacher lays on instructions with each iteration and the group feels how to build collaboratively.
Progression/Lessons:
• Someone will use gibberish to direct other players’ actions – Stop them and remind them to lead by following
• Ask “How did the game start?” They will tell you about the first move that was made. Remind them that the game started when you said “go.” Have them return to their positions and postures when you said “go.” Ask them to focus outwardly on what is already there at that moment.
Seek Symmetries – Are you standing near someone? Posed like someone? If you seem like you could be aligned with someone, align yourself with them; do what they do. This agreement fosters focus.
Empower Asymmetries – How do the different groupings relate? Make the asymmetries that exist matter. How does one group react to the other? What does one group do to another?
• Have the group shake it off, walk around the room and then, when teacher says “go,” start a new game focused on Seeking Symmetries and Empowering Asymmetries.
• Stop and ask them to walk you through what happened, with players explaining what they saw and what they did in response. Tease out “When X happened, Y happened.”
• “What rules were you playing by?” We want players to observe cause-and-effect and seek to clarify the “rule” with repetition. Make another X happen to make another Y happen. If you see X happen again, make Y happen again. Work to notice not only what is happening, but how what happens relates to what happened before. And pay attention to what happens after. Even if there is no inherent connection between the first set of moves, by working to repeat that sequence we begin to establish rules and clarify group direction.
Everyone is necessarily “playing by their own rules” – but if each individual is committed to simplifying and clarifying then a group direction will emerge.
• If something is not clear, don’t ignore it or play it half-assed, make it clearer – by heightening it or otherwise clarifying the move. If you’re lost, chances are the rest of the group is too. Don’t wait for someone else to clarify what’s going on; take responsibility yourself. The rest of the group will thank you.
• “Can you go back and start this game over?” When they’ve learned to seek symmetries, empower asymmetries, establish and repeat rules of cause and effect, it’s time to get them to Reset the Game Sequence. Have them go back to their initial starting positions and try to do the same game again exactly. It won’t be exact; it will evolve, but it will evolve organically because they are attempting to do it exactly.
If you’re ever lost, return to what was done before – engage a rule again. Restart the sequence. Going through a game again will build clarity and simplifies the amount of stuff in play.
• After they have a great game, they are likely to have a game become super sloppy because they got too excited and stopped leading by following.
Trust the pattern – don’t overcomplicate. The sooner everyone is on the same page, the sooner we can heighten and evolve collaboratively.  My favorite aspect of the video above is how the group clearly starts to have fun with a very simple progression simply because they know how to play and can just play.  We tend to overcomplicate unnecessarily.  And then we end up in our heads trying to figure out how to navigate all our complications.  Keep it simple and have fun with it.

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Here’s a video of me teaching the group the Kick The Duck, Red Rover exercise that culminates in the clip above.  It’s long, containing many iterations of the exercise by the group with lots of rambling by me in between those iterations.  But talk about a progression!  Watch them grow:

I Am Superman exercise

Having Group Mind is about immediate, enthusiastic acceptance. You need to show your fellow players that you respect and love their ideas, and trust that you can make a bold move and have your group respect and love it. “I trust you – I’m going to follow your ideas whatever they are, wherever they go, and I’m going to launch into my ideas and trust that you’ll follow me.” It is, however, not up to the group to earn this trust. You must surrender to the group. Give it your trust. Only then will the group get anywhere.

I AM SUPERMAN – Everyone stands in a circle. One at a time, each player will enter the circle, say “I am [NAME] and for the next 30 seconds, I am Superman” at which point the teacher will start a timer and the player does whatever they want until the time is up at which point everyone claps and the next player takes the circle. Players around the circle are NOT to interact with the player in the center. The player in the center should be encouraged to do something they’ve been told they need to do more of on stage. Do mime. Be emotional. Stand still. Doesn’t matter.
Lessons:
• Surrender to your group – let go of ego, let your team know that you’re ready and willing to commit to being awkward in front of them.
You don’t need anyone – you can be on stage alone for 30 seconds or for five minutes. Commit to yourself. Don’t rely on meeting your scene partner center stage before the scene starts. You can be alone.
It sucks to be alone – don’t let your fellow players suffer on stage alone. Get out there and support each other.

Buzby Burkley exercise

Having Group Mind is about immediate, enthusiastic acceptance. You need to show your fellow players that you respect and love their ideas, and trust that you can make a bold move and have your group respect and love it. “I trust you – I’m going to follow your ideas whatever they are, wherever they go, and I’m going to launch into my ideas and trust that you’ll follow me.” It is, however, not up to the group to earn this trust. You must surrender to the group. Give it your trust. Only then will the group get anywhere.

MIRRORING INTO BUZBY BURKLEY – everyone must commit to following and looking idiotic together. Get them to let go, trust each other and the teacher. Start everyone in paired lines, facing off as if looking into a mirror at one another. Have them start mirroring each other – head to toe, leading by following, heightening subconscious contributions, etc. – and have them keep going as you give more instructions.
Progression:
• Start with mirrored pairs
• Allow people to move closer and farther apart
• Allow people to move left and right, overlapping other mirrored pairs
• Allow people to switch the player they’re mirroring, making and breaking different groups
• Build to everyone moving around the room, switching mirroring, coming together, breaking apart – committing to following the crazy
Lessons:
• If everyone is “doing it” then no one looks dumb “doing it” – but the moment it becomes apparent that someone in the group is not committed then the audience doubts the entire endeavor.
When you are “playing” others want to play with you – if you’re having fun and committing the audience will follow you no matter how silly you look
That is the weirdest thing I’ll ever have you do – thank them for just doing what you asked them to without judgment; encourage them to remain that trusting throughout class