bits of information on Psychodrama, Sociometry, Group Psychotherapy, associated subjects such as ro

bits of information on Psychodrama, Sociometry, Group Psychotherapy, associated subjects such as ro
From the Presentation: ACORNography: The Theories of J. L. Moreno and Others

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Too Warmed-Up

Early in my Psychodrama training, I directed a woman who had an issue with her brother. Being a new director, I did a very thorough, elaborate scene setting. It took a long time because I was apprehensive about getting into action. I must have had the protagonist role reverse with everything in the scene; a picture on the wall, a rug on the floor, a pot on the mantel, a get the idea.

Finally when there was nothing left with which to role reverse, I had her select someone to play her brother. She selected my trainer, Carl Hollander. I had her do a self-presentation of her brother, reversed her back into her role, and brought Carl (as the brother) into the scene.

My words were, "What would you like to say..." She screamed and jumped on Carl. Carl grabbed her wrists to protect himself. She tried to harm and cursed her brother. Carl turned to me and commanded, "Bill, do something!"

My less than functional brain had me loudly stutter, "R-r-r-reverse r-r-r-roles!" By sheer luck this happened to be the right thing to do. And it was only luck because I couldn't think of anything else. After calming down I managed to hobble through the enactment and brought it to a conclusion.

I dreaded the processing that was to follow. Some of our training-group processing sessions lasted two and a half hours and they were brutally hard on trying-to-be-perfect trainees like me. The worst part is that I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong and stated that at the beginning of the processing. Carl replied that when you do a prolonged scene setting, the protagonist gets overly warmed-up and will impulsively jump into action when faced with an antagonist.

May you never experience what happened to me.

Do efficient scene settings covering the most important elements. Beware of very long scene settings (See above.)

Directing a role reversal will get you out of a lot of trouble. It is a primary and major intervention for the director to use.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It would be natural to over-prepare as a novice director, and I expect that anyone could have done it, inadvertently over-priming the protagonist for the work. And it seems you were intuitively correct in choosing to reverse roles - looking backward, it makes sense, so it sounds more like a good hunch rather than blind luck.