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Make graceful and lasting change


Cindy Tonkin - August 7, 2008

This is a photo of the Red Line el line station after a game at Wrigley Field. You may remember the photo I posted a few weeks ago with only 3 people, which was taken from the same angle. What you have to imagine is that not only is this part of the platform crowded, it’s as crowded all the way along, and the stairs have people waiting to get in, and at road level there is a crowd trying to get into the station, and appointed crowd controllers. It’s a tad busy post-game!
This morning we warmed up to improvise with a process Jet called “The Everything”.
It begins with an organic version of bibbedy bobbedy bop (the element where 3 people build a plane or an elephant). One person points to another in the circle and that person and their neighbours build whatever is named (and it can be abstract, like “happiness” as well as concrete like “gorilla”).
Then 5 people sculpt the word. Then we evaporate the circle, which means most people are involved. Then drop the words, just morphing from one group “picture” to another through sound or action.
We must have done it for a good 45 minutes. We were all dripping with sweat by the end.
After that exhilarating and full of uncertainty segment we did scenes, repeating each with a supplied sub text (you secretly killed their dog last night, you want to rip each other’s clothes off).
Then we experienced, in our places throughout the room, emotional levels. We did sadness from 1 through 10, (and also fear, love, anger, joy).
Next to practice using the emotions on stage, we did Shakespearean scenes – starting with a neutral line in Shakespearean style, the other person had to choose any one of the 5 emotions and take it to 10. Exhausting, but marvellous to watch. The scene initiator played it straight (Jet said they were the audience representative – we can deal with the crazy because they were dealing with it)

Jet’s stuff from this morning:
– at an emotional 10 no one says full words, and no one stays vertical (often say 1 word over and over)
– access your body intelligence by reducing your verbal load
– to get better at accessing your emotions on stage, do it more often (on and off stage)
– after an emotional outburst, a non sequitur breaks the tension; a call back to the original trigger resets to start again (for more emotion); a real emotional response (are you OK) could take you anywhere
– if you have burst, and don’t know where to go next, try pulling yourself together and failing. People love to watch people fail (the Great Fall)

By the way, they have a few vocabulary differences here. Here are some:
– blocking they call “denial”
– starting a scene is “initiating”
– corpsing/laughing in a scene is “breaking”
There are probably a hundred more, but that will do for now.

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