1. GENERAL HEADING: Exploring the Text
2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The 'Drop In' Text Exploration Exercise"
3. GOALS: To investigate the emotional, physical, and aural sensations created
by speaking individual words of a text.
4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Pairs (should have a certain trust or rapport before
5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Each partner needs a copy of the speech or script.
6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 30 - 90 minutes.
7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Partners will take turns examining sections
of their speeches one word at a time. One partner serves as a listener and
catalyst for the speaking partner, encouraging and prompting further exploration
The speaking partner looks at one word. Notice whether the word is "charged"
or "neutral." (Neutral words are often prepositions, conjunctions,
or auxilliary verbs that have little emotional content.) The speaking partner
now takes a breath, speaks the word, and releases the breath.
If the speaker has voiced a neutral word neutrally, go on to the next word.
If the listener feels it was not neutral, s/he may ask the speaker to repeat
it on a new breath. If the speaker has voiced a charged word, the listener
should reply with a brief question that prompts new associations. The speaker
now takes another breath, speaks the word again, and releases the breath.
The speaker does NOT answer the question, rather allows it to inform the
way s/he releases the word. The listener should ask several questions about
each word, so the speaker can explore it fully. The questions might prompt
responses in the senses, the emotions, memory, personal associations, imagination,
or vowel-consonant dynamics; they should not be psychoanalytical. This work
is very slow and takes a good deal of concentration. After a section, partners
switch so the listener becomes the speaker and vice versa.
At the end of a session, students should make notes about their discoveries.
8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION:
· Emotional qualities of vowels, consonants.
· Suspense leading up to each word.
· Complex network of emotional resonances of words.
· Significance of previously ignored words.
9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Adapted from Linklater (see #10) by Prof. Audrey Stanley,
University of California at Santa Cruz, 1995-96 NEH Institute "Shakespeare
Examined through Performance."
10. ADDITIONAL READING: Kristin Linklater, Freeing the Natural Voice,
pp. 36-43. Linklater comments, "Go through the process quickly so that
you are not stopping to "think" or "be sure" about your
response. Bypass the head and let the question or instruction act directly
on your solar plexus center with an instantaneous reaction out through any
or all channels of your voice/body." (p.36)
11. VARIATIONS: In her book, Linklater provides a version of this exercise
that can be done by an individual alone.