You will begin to incorporate different skills into one exercise testing your understanding of the skills and your ability to integrate the skills. Resist the urge to move forward before you are ready. Remember, this is not a race, it is a process.
Exercise 1.7 introduces the practice of recalling a memory using your five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. Vivid, sensory recollections can have an indelible imprint on our brains. If 1.7 is a challenge for you, commit to paying closer attention to the whole experience, not only the activity that occurs but the sights, smells, sounds and feel of the whole experience.
1.6 Warm up
Ball Toss (lesson one) The objective remains the same: keep the ball in play. Add the intentional use of the voice and breath as described in lesson two.
Discussion/Journal response: How did the physical action of tossing and catching the ball alter my breathing? At what point was I successful at catching and tossing the ball AND breathing from my diaphragm?
Additional modifications/challenges: The group should decide on a memorized passage (Pledge of Allegiance, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc.) Decide if the passage will be divided by word or phrase. Decide who will begin the exercise.
Begin tossing the ball with the addition of speaking the next word or phrase as the ball is tossed.
Then try saying the word or phrase when the ball is caught and compare the differences.
Discussion/Journal Response: It is possible that the use of the voice with proper breath support is easier when tossing the ball and that maintaining a neutral position is easier when catching the ball before you speak? How do additional modifications/challenges compliment or detract from the primary objective: keeping the ball in play? How can you integrate the two?
1.7 Sense Memory/Recall
Sense memory (or sense recall) has been utilized as an acting method for many years. Thanks to functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), when brain mapping is employed we can determine which areas of the brain become engaged and energized. The same areas of the brain that are activated by actual engagement show activity when a memory of the engagement occurs and the correlating brain synapses (connections) are activated. There are many kinds of sense memory exercises, but these are a few I have found beneficial. If recalling sensory details is difficult, resolve to develop the habit. Raising your awareness will not only improve your sensory perception in the present, it may ignite neuro-synapses established long ago.
Dr. Richard Restak, author and Clinical Professor of Neurology at The George Washington School of Medicine and Health Science cites the use of a common acting exercise in which novice actors are taught to use their sense memory. Dr. Restak lists this concept under Plasticity-Enhancing exercises.
Let me stress that the success of sense memory relies on the details recalled. A general recollection of what a medium-well filet mignon tastes like is not enough. Take the time to recall all of the different senses involved and write or mentally talk yourself through each one.
1. The objective of this exercise is to recall, in as much detail as possible, past experiences. In pairs, take turns describing for one another, in detail, a savory dish or food.
Discussion/Journal Response: Did your mouth begin to water? Stomach rumble? Did the other person have any sensory experiences relating to the description?
2. Individually, in your journal, recall an emotionally charged exchange between you and someone else. In as much detail as possible, write about this moment.
Discussion/Journal responses: where you were, what the place looked like, colors, textures, sounds, temperature, what you were wearing, what the other person was wearing, the sound of your voice, the sound of the other persons voice, etc. As you write about this experience become aware of any changes in your pulse, breathing, grip on the pen, speed of writing, pressure on the page. Was your jaw clenched? Your toes? The small of your back? Your neck? Was there a knot in your throat? Was your mouth dry? Note any other significant changes
Pair off again, determine who will begin.
Construct a basic scene:
3. Waiting for a bus
a. Each person decides on detail-what, where, when and why (weather, location, time of day, etc.) without sharing the details with the partner.
b. Each person performs the scene for the other. Avoid “showing” the details rather, focus your attention on the activity you are recalling in that particular environment. Commit to the memory and trust that your commitment will be sufficient to re-create the specifics of the 4 w’s.
Respond to the scene that you observe.
Discussion/Journal Response: Based on what you saw, do you know the 4 w’s where, what, when and why?