Pass the phrase pt2

Continuing on from here.

Backstory: All week I’d been struggling through a workshop on ‘finding the game’ (it was a great workshop, I was just wasn’t really getting my head around it).  The main thrust of the theory was that the game of the scene should arise organically from the scene, from something unintended by either player.

Here are my observations from playing pass the phrase.

Things we found funny.

-When someone makes a mistake, and then the next person picks up on that and repeats the mistake as part of the routine. ie one person stumbles a little, so the next person tries to copy the stumble as best they can.   Not just mistakes really, but changes that happen because a little bit of ourselves always gets caught up in the mix.

Things we found not so funny.

-When someone changed something on purpose to try and get a laugh.

Things that made us frown a little bit.

-When someone missed a change.

-When someone dropped a change that had been incorporated into the routine.

Suddenly the whole week sprang into focus.  It is more fun if you look out for these unintentional twists in a scene.  And it is delightful to incorporate that mistake into a pattern that makes the whole thing seem perfectly natural.

A quote from psychologist Ellen Langer

“But the world is a social construct. Mistakes are not mistakes in all contexts. With writing and art, mistakes tend to make the product more interesting. The major difference between a machine-made rug and a handmade one is that the regularity of the machine-made rug makes it uninteresting. Errors give the viewer something to hold onto. When you make a mistake in a painting, if—instead of trying to correct the mistake—you incorporate it into what you are doing and go forward, you are working mindfully. And when we ask viewers to choose between this kind of art and ‘flawless’ works, people say they prefer the mindfully created pieces.

Read the full article here. (the Science of Happiness).


3 Responses to “Pass the phrase pt2”

  1. David Wahl Says:

    Good thoughts.

    Love that article. I might have to link to it as well. With credit of course.

  2. improbable Says:

    Cheers David.

    I’m really enjoying your blog.

  3. jill bernard Says:

    Also in Pass The Phrase we are pleased by the rhythms. Also we are relieved when things are codified. The first time someone makes a “mistake” we are uncomfortable, but when someone does it again we are happy. We like when it’s locked in. When the third person does it we’re even happier. The laugh comes from the release of tension.

    Susan Messing taught me that you cannot find the game. It isn’t a Monopoly board in the middle of the room that you’re too stupid to find. You make the game, the game is us.

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