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Status

"Humans evolved in hierarchical societies and most of us acknowledge that status-seeking is a common, if sometimes regretable, driver of human behaviour." - Steven Johnson, Wonderland

All social animals form pecking orders and we are no exception, even if we've come a long way. Pecking orders regulate access to resources and minimise open conflicts until a significant change upsets the status quo. A person's rank, her status, can be obtained through both collaboration and competition and can vary according to surroundings and circumstances.

Keith Johnstone dedicated a chapter of his book "Impro" to status. The notion is relevant to improvisers on many levels.

Zootrophic rehearsal, London, 2016

Zootrophic rehearsal, London 2016

Status

"Human evolved in hierarchical societies and most of us acknowledge that status-seeking is a common, if sometime regretable, driver of human behaviour." - Steven Johnson, Wonderland

All social animals form pecking orders and we are no exception, even if we came a long way. Pecking orders regulate access to resources and minimise open conflicts until a significant change upsets the status quo. A person's rank, her status, can be obtained through both collaboration and competition and can vary according to surroundings and circumstances.

Keith Johnstone dedicated a chapter of his book "Impro" to status. The notion is relevant to improvisers on many levels.

Zootrophic rehearsal, London, 2016

Zootrophic rehearsal, London 2016

As a person

What is your favorite place in the pecking order? Are you inclined to lead or to follow? Would you rather compete for attention or let other people speak for you? We are all status experts without necessarily realising it. We spent our teenage years fine-tuning our relation to the world and selecting the status that seemed to serve us best. In improvisation, status games allow us to explore our status strategy in both a concrete and light-hearted manner, and to experiment with alternatives.

As a player

Within the team, your status will continuously change according to circumstances. To serve the ensemble, you will have to alternate between staying in the background and taking the initiative. A flexible status will help you achieve this.

As a character

Your status can be high or low compared to other characters. It can be revealed in reaction to places, objects, ideas or feelings. With an awareness of status, your character emerges organically, in response to the world around it.

As a storyteller

Status swings offer an endless reservoir of possibilities. In short stories, they bring transformation. In more extended forms, the initial pecking order gets upset in the narrative process, with the resolution featuring the restoration of said order or the foundation of a new one.

Zootrophic rehearsal, London 2016

Zootrophic rehearsal, London 2016

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Photo credit: Daniel Anderson, Sophie Bess, Remy Bertrand