crasch (crasch) wrote,

Say What's True

When I was in acting school back in college, we had an entire class for two whole semesters that was based on one exercise -- Repetition, created by Sanford Meisner.  I suppose I don't have to stress how useful our teachers thought this exercise was since they made us take two semesters' worth of classes on it.  The exercise itself was fairly simple: You would sit across from your partner, look them in the eyes, and say something that was true about them.  They would then say something to you that was true about you (or, if they couldn't think of something to say in time to keep with the rhythm of the exercise, they could repeat back what you had said about them and you could go back and forth until someone noticed something else true about the other person).  And you would both continue on in this manner.

So it sounded something a little like this:

A.  You're wearing a blue shirt.
B.  I'm wearing a blue shirt.
A.  You dress well.
B.  I dress well.
A.  You dress well.
B.  You're being nice.
A.  You're smiling.
B.  I'm smiling.
A.  You're happy that I'm being nice.
B.  I'm happy that you're being nice.
A.  You're happy that I'm being nice.
B.  You're laughing.
A.  I'm laughing.
B.  You think something's funny.

Someday I will hold a Repetition class for people who want to study seduction.  I'm pretty sure no other exercise could be as useful as this is.  Yeah, it sounds dumb when you're reading it, but bear with me.

What's great about what happens in Repetition is that since you have to keep observing the other person, not only do you notice how quickly their state changes as each moment passes, but you also learn how to evaluate the meanings behind those states.  As an example, in the above exchange, "You're smiling" quickly means "You're happy."  "You're laughing" quickly means "You think something's funny."  Now these are very obvious conclusions, but as you keep repeating with the same partner for sometimes hours at a time, those conclusions begin to run deeper.  You will notice the slightest twinge in the eyebrows and you will state it out loud and then realize the truth behind it. "You're furrowing your brow.  You're deciding whether you're slightly annoyed.  You didn't like what I said."  Of course the moment you notice it, the moment has already passed and there's a new truth: "You're smiling now.  You don't want to come off like you were annoyed.  You want me to see you as friendly."  Or whatever.


Posted via web from crasch's posterous


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