Fred Brown

Complementary Action

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Player 1 initiates with object work.  Player 2 joins the scene by doing object work that someone might also be doing in that environment.  



Strengthen ability to "yes and" non-verbally through action

encourage players to start scenes with action

disarm impulse to create conflict or undo what someone else is doing


This can be done with two people up and the rest of the group watching.  The first player steps into the playing space and initiates with some object work (e.g. chopping onions, swinging on a swing).  Without any speaking, the second player, when they've understood what they first person may be doing, goes in and does an action that complements that action.  In other words, they choose an action that someone might be doing in the same space for a prolonged amount of time.  If player 1 is chopping an onion, player 2 could come out and be cooking something on a stove.  If player 1 is swinging on a swing, player 2 could come out and be jumping rope.   If player 1 is sweeping the floor, player 2 could come out and wash windows.  After some time, you can ask the audience what they observe – whether any possible relationship or dynamic has emerged, or even if it's clear where the players are.  

Coaching Notes:

1) Establishing environment is helpful because it helps to narrow the possibilities of what can happen or who people might to one another. 

2) Players will be tempted to interact with one another.  Tell them that for the purposes of this exercise, they should not.  This is because each person should first have their own investment in and engagement with the world and the situation.  It's too easy for someone to walk in on someone else chopping an onion and decide that that person shouldn't be chopping an onion or that they're doing it wrong, etc.  Instead, if the second person is also engaged in an action that makes sense in that environment with that other person, it's more likely that when it comes to speaking the players will know each other and neither will reject the situation or relationship.

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