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In his book Poetics, Aristotle argued that tragic drama can elevate how we experience fear and pity—two emotions that help shape our experience of life. The broad implication is that the task of art is to help us flourish, to be “virtuous,” in Aristotle’s special sense of that word: that is, to be good at living, even in challenging circumstances. One of the most important aspects in the study of theatre and the creative process is self-discovery and change resulting from those self-discoveries. Reflecting on experiences and insights gained from those experiences is a key element on this journey of awareness we will take together. The idea of theatre is that what is presented on stage will be life changing for the artists presenting it and the audience that will experience it.

Journal Instructions 

  • This is a journal assignment that is split into three parts and will take several days to complete. Follow the directions in each part to complete the assignment successfully.      
  • Respond with a minimum of 1 paragraph for each part.
  • Each part should be completed on separate days, not all at once.
  • Reflect upon each topic presented below in the spirit of total “truth” and write about where you are in this moment in your personal development process.

Part 1

  • Begin now by taking in the space in which you are present in at the moment you are reading these instructions.
  • Now, in this moment, go somewhere unique in the space and sit or stand in a unique way. Don’t be afraid to sit or stand in a manner that you would not do normally.
  • While you are there, see the space from a different perspective. Is it different? Is it revealing? Is it interesting?
  • Record your observations. You will submit these responses along with the rest of your journal by the assignment due date.

Part 2

  • Determine a place that is comfortable to you and where you can be alone with your thoughts.
  • Put together a playlist of your favorite songs or music that will stimulate thought and contemplation.
  • Consider preparing your favorite drink or simple food that you enjoy.
  • Take these elements into the space of your choice and exist there with your music, your food/drink and your perspective/thoughts.
  • Play the music and consume the food/drink and reflect on the following:  What do you like most about yourself?  What do you like least about yourself?  How do you feel about your life?  How do you feel about the people in your life?  If you could change one thing what would it be?  What do you want in life?  Do you feel that you can achieve it?
  • Do this for a minimum of 10 minutes.  If you want to go longer you may do so.  
  • Record your responses to the questions above.  You will submit these responses along with the rest of your journal by the assignment due date.

Part 3

  • At some point, where it is appropriate in your circumstances and daily life, ask someone you know if they will help you with an experiment! Make sure it is someone you are comfortable with and who is comfortable with you (i.e. family member, significant other, friend, co-worker, etc.)
  • With this person you know do each of the following: choose a mode of interaction that is different from how the two of you would normally interact with each other. Be an actor. Have fun! Greet them with a bizarre or unique physical greeting. Do the same with a sound (not words). Now pretend you are shy, outgoing, fearful, angry, attractive, strange – interact with your person based on these perspectives. Role-playing . . . it’s fun!
  • Record your observations. How did you go about doing this experiment? Did you embrace and opposite persona to your own? How did it feel to be someone else? You will submit these responses along with the rest of your journal by the assignment due date.

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