We started the class with some warm-ups (1 2 3 4, Do you like your neighbour?, What are you doing?). For the first status exercise I gave everyone a number between 1 and 10. The number represented each player’s status, 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest. I set the location on a pirate ship and told them to play their character according to their status in gibberish. Quickly it was very clear who was where in the hierarchy of the ship – Luci (1) was walking the plank, while Monica (10) and Cornelia (10) were fighting about who the captain was. For the next exercise I stuck a number on each person’s forehead representing their status and told them to play a gibberish scene in a palace. According to how others reacted towards them they had to figure out their own status and play their character accordingly. It was interesting to note how characters with low status tend to help each other, while high status characters often end up in a quarrel. High status characters place themselves higher in the physical space, while low status characters place themselves low, sometimes even crawling on the floor. For the last part of the class we played 2 person scenes in gibberish, silent or in 1 word sentences using different statuses. The silent, gibberish and one word scenes forces players to show and not tell. It also helps players to pay more attention to what the other player is doing and react more truthfully.
More thoughts on status:
In all human interaction there is some form of status interaction taking place. In everything you are saying or doing you are either higher or lowering your status, how subtle it might be. People usually have a natural preferred status that they play. Whether it is high or low it is usually a form of defence mechanism. People who prefer high status wants to keep others at a distance while those who play low status are people pleasers. High or low status isn’t inherently good or bad, but understanding how to use status in your interactions with people is a very useful social skill.
Please share some of your thoughts on status.