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Spice your relationships with intimacy, touch and emotional connection on stage
This page is based on Jeremie Daygliders' exceptional workshop "Intimacy and Relationship" and Noah Levin's "Get in touch". Jeremie is a teacher which supports students in finding out what thoughts or feelings limited their skills. She is not only passionate about teaching improv theater inside the classroom but also outside it and I still remember her giving me advise on how to train character development after a long night show. While Noah give you extremely constructive feedback about your scenes.
Length: 3 hours
Punctuality: Due to the nature of the topic, every participant must do the accepting and facial mirroring exercises, I recommend to close the door after 20 minutes.
"How often are we talking at one another rather than having an experience together on stage, shying away from moments of true connection in fear that the moment may stray into uncomfortable territory? Intimacy can be found in the touch of a hand, the familiarity of two shoulders touching, or the rhythm of a slow exhale.". Though this workshop we invite you to learn to see those subtle signals that our partner send us, take the time to enjoy them, relax knowing that the audience witnessed them and react building emotional connection and intimacy. You will also discover your own physical boundaries and accept those from other players
The key skills to learn are:
- Read those subtle signals hidden in about facial expressions and body language
- Take away our fear of having eye contact with our partners
- Expand your awareness of touch and physical proximity
- Allow physical touch to resonate in your own body. Let touch affect you and your character
- Relax emphasizing the silence wow-moments surrounding intimacy moments
- Recognize your own physical boundaries
At the end your stage relationships will show trustfulness and sincerity and you will spend less effort building them.
- Ask the students to explain their expectations before starting the workshop. This helps you understand what they are looking for
- Allow anyone to step out of any activity at any time if they feel uncomfortable
- Ask for feedback after each games to see if the students grasp the goals of them
- A short break of 5 minutes after 90 minutes gives smokers the opportunity to go outside and reloads the energy of the group
Punctuality Gift (Group ritual, not part of the workshop's topic)
Warm-up Suggestion (Not part of the workshop's topic)
Being in the moment
This goal of this game is that students get into the mood of thinking more about others than themselves
- Circle saying yes / Accepting circle: All players stand in a circle. One player calls other one by name (or eye contact if he don't know the name). The called player says “Yes” when he hears his name. Then the first player start walking towards him and takes his place. The second player they calls a third one and waits for the yes to start walking. After a while the game is speed up. The main point here is that everyone waits for the yes before walking.
- Walk the space: All players walk around the room, then they stop and close their eyes and the moderator gives a command “point to the nearest window”, “point to the girl with the longest hair”, “recall the tallest man”
Setting the boundaries for the group
- Jill Bernard's boundaries Check: All players are in a circle with closed eyes. The moderator names parts of the body like arm, leg under the knee, finger, etc. and the player who don't want to be touch there raise their hands. At the end the moderator decides what are the boundaries for the group that day.
- If a player wants to stop participating in an exercise at any time, they can walk away from the exercise without a word, and sit down or leave the room if needed. Alternative they can ring an imaginary phone or hear a knock at the door and leave the stage to answer it (Jaklene Vukasinovic). The rest of the group gives the scene a round of applause and the scene ends immediately.
- Everyone can choose not to participate in a particular exercise. They just watch.
Learning to see subtle signals
The following games are done in pairs. Changing pairs after every round, so students start loosing their fear of doing eye-contact with others
- Do eye-contact for around 3 minutes
- Mirror face expressions for 5 minutes. Every pair decides on the moment who leads and the leader is changed during the game
- Mirrow face and body expressions for 5 minutes. Every pair decides on the moment who leads and the leader is changed during the game.
- Mirrow face and body expressions and movements around the classroom for 5 minutes. Every pair decides on the moment who leads and the leader is changed during the game. The movements must be slow
- Mirrowing in the whole room: People start mirroing in pair, after a while they can mirror any person how is passing by. It can be done with music
- Eye contact around the room: There is music and the participants move around the space making eye contact. First 5 seconds, then 10, 30 and finally 60 seconds
- Mirroring with music: In pairs two players touch on their fingertips and they mirror each movement. There a moments when one is leading while the other follows. After a while they exchange roles
Warm-up after the break
To recharge positive energy after relaxing in the break you can play one of the following games
- Tagging using our bottom: One player is “It” and the has to tag our people using his bottom. When he tags someone, this player becomes “It” and starts tagging other people
Recognizing your physical boundaries
When we learn that we have boundaries relating to physical touching, we must accept boundaries from other people
- Energy cords (Thai Chi): First, we rub our hands while remaining in a circle. Then we feel the energy field between them. Then we go into pairs. We then feel the energy of one another, then we add eye contact. We breathe simultaneously and connect the energy from our hands. Then we move around the room, eyes closed, while maintaining the energy and the focus on the other person. We then close eyes and start spinning while trying to find the other person in the room.
- Recognizing physical boundaries: All the players stand in a circle. One player walks to another one and ask him if he/she can touche his/her forearm, hair, knie, eyebrows or any body part. The second player can always say No and he can interrupt the touching saying “That's fine”. The the second players asks a third one. After a while all the players understand the games and they repeat it but in pairs
- If you have stundents whose mother tongue isn't English, you can use the following picture:
- Contact improaction dance: It is played in pairs. A stars moving slowly like dancing. Then B touches him slowly and A reacts to the touch moving his arms and legs in the opposite direction. Afterwards roles are exchanged. At the end both players dance at the same time.
Playing relationships with intimacy on stage
Now the students will put all what they learned and experience together on stage:
- Couples are interviewed: Two players come into the stage and the audience gives them how many years they have been together (3 nights, 1 month, 7 months, 2 years dating and just decided to get married, just married after 2 years dating, 7 years of marriage, 20 years of marriage). It is important that the shoulders of the players touch each other and that they do often eye-contact. The moderator asks simple questions like:
- Where they met?
- When and where they spend time together?
- How is their everyday life?
- What they like of each other?
- How they keep the reationship alive?
- What they would recommend other couples to have a healthy relationship?
Other relationships games on stage
- Diamond with couples: Four players stand in a diamond, we two on the front and two on the back. For each pair, they ask the audience how long they have been together and an activity to do together. Then the two players on the front start a scene. The moderator will change the couples on the front by shooting “Left” or ““Right”
- Dubbing an everyday scene of a couple: Two players are on stage and they ask the audience how long they have been together and an everyday activity. They play a scene without words but we eye contact, emotional relationship and intimacy. Afterwards they add words to it.
Other relationships games on stage (to try)
- Hesitation with couples: Two players are on stage and they ask the audience how long they have been together. Then the scene starts, in which at any time, any player may ’hesitate’, and ask the audience for help
- La Ronde where each character slept with the last character but also with the next one. This gives the opportunity to create intimacy and moments of non-verbal understanding
- Free form with couples: Two players are on stage and they ask the audience how long they have been together and an everyday activity. They play a scene. After a while, one player outside the stage claps, tag one of the players to remove him/her and continues a scene with another relationship (always allowing emotional connection and intimacy) using one element (word, place, object or character) of the last scene
- Memory circle
The group enjoyed these games