We started the class with stretches, followed by a name game called George. What I love about this game is how the clapping is like the principles of improv. At first it is really difficult to get the clap sequence right, but after some practice you don’t even think about it anymore. It becomes a structure around which you can just improvise. After George we played “What are you doing?”. This game really stretches your mind and shows how much you actually think with your body.
For the first status exercise I stuck a number on each person’s forehead representing their status, 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest and told them to play a scene in a hospital. The aim of the game is to discover your own status by the way others react towards you. It was interesting to see how those with low status were pushed into the corners of the room, a lot like we do with people with low status in society.
In the next exercise I gave everyone a number that only they could see and told them to play a gibberish scene in a prison. They had to show their own status and try to figure out the status of the other players. It was interesting to note that how much you speak has no influence on your status. Someone who speaks a lot can be a blabbering fool or a one who orders everyone else. Someone who is silent can feel they don’t have anything worth saying or command the attention of others. It all depends on how you talk or stay silent.
Juan made a very valuable comment about positional status and influential status. In the prison the Chief Warden had the most positional status, but the gang leader definitely had the most influential status. Juan also said that he decided to play the chief warden rather than the gang leader because it was easier to take the positional status than the influential status. He commented that in life it is also easier just to ride on your positional status than to have influential status.
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. For the last round of scenes, one character started with high and the other with low status and during the scene they had to gradually switch their status. This made really interesting scenes.
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.
One word proverb: Wysheid is die beste opsie na dronkverdriet. (ek het dit wragtag weer nie neer geskryf nie en is nie nou seker of dit reg is nie)