Dramatic Reading to Unleash
Episode #8 of the course Creative mindfulness: Ten ways to chill out and enjoy creativity by K.C. Finn
We all have those days where everything gets on top of us, and the more calming exercises that we might try to employ simply don’t work. So, what happens when you have too much emotion bubbling up inside you? Here’s a way that you can unleash it all but still channel it creatively.
When a person or circumstance upsets us, we tend to turn to blame. Blame can be a dangerous thing, whether we apportion it on ourselves for some perceived failure or on others who may or may not deserve it. Today’s exercise is focused specifically on those times when our anger is at such a high level that we have no choice but to let it out. It encourages us to take a moment and consider how we might channel such feelings so as not to damage ourselves or other people in the process.
Drama can be constructive in many ways because it allows us to channel our emotions into fictional people as part of a script. We can live their lives and create emotion for them, even when it’s not how we’re feeling in that moment. But having the perfect script that expresses just what you want to unleash isn’t likely, so there are other techniques that we can borrow from drama education, like speech, rhythm, breathing, and emotion, which can turn even the most mundane of texts into a fierce outlet for our most overwhelming fears and rages. You may not believe it at first, but give it a try the next time you feel like pointing the blame finger.
All you need to hand for this exercise to work is a boring collection of words. These can be from a dictionary or an old phone book if you’re at home or perhaps from a list of data, shopping list, or even a set of numbers if you’re in an office setting. In any case, the words should not mean anything to you, because they are only there to be used to help you unleash negativity. We’re going to do this exercise as a purely emotive act, rather than putting any narrative, blame, or reasoning into it.
Pick up the words, and try not to read them to yourself before you begin. Take the foremost emotion in your mind, whether it’s outrage, embarrassment, or sadness, and read the boring words in that emotion. Use your other dramatic exercises with monologues and music to help you, and channel your emotion into those words. Even if it’s just a list of phone numbers, make it sound as sad or angry as you can, pushing those emotions out of yourself and into those words. The next time you read them, shift your mood a little along the spectrum that you’re feeling (so from sad toward happy or from angry toward chilled out). With each reading, control your voice and emotions so you make a complete shift to the opposite of how you were feeling when you started.
Mindfulness and emotion management often go hand in hand because it’s that sensation of controlling our thoughts and feelings that gives us a truer sense of peace and balance in life in general. By focusing solely on the emotion in this speaking task, the exercise helps you remove some of what you’re feeling, rebalance, and then go back to analyzing the problem without as much emotion in the way of your rational thoughts. You are not expected to feel totally opposite in your emotions by the time you finish the reading exercise, but you should feel that some of the powerful energy from the original emotion has been spent out during the task.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at another form of stress relief that is also designed to unleash unwanted thoughts, but this time, in a quiet form that you can do at any time and place.
See you for Lesson 9!
To unleash the optimum amount of power from your voice and get rid of all that unwanted energy, take a look at the art of voice projection. Vocal Technique gives great tips on how to stand and how to activate your breathing for a powerful method of speech.
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