Summary from AOTOS Conference 2nd Nov, 2014

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Barbara Houseman: Emotion and Meaning of Text – Bringing the text to life.

Look into the song text from the point of view of ‘as if’ and ‘what if I were there’ in the situation to make it real and come to life. From Stanislavski theatre training.
Making connections with our song words happens in three ways:
1) Look at the song text and think about ‘what is the situation I am in’? Who am I in this situation? What if I was there? What are my instinctive thoughts about it and emotional reactions.
2) Understanding that there are two levels of meaning firstly the dictionary meaning e.g. the word ‘Grief’ means emotional response to someone dying or loosing someone and secondly the associations that go with that word based on our own personal experiences i.e. what does grief mean to you? How have you experienced grief in your life?
3) Connecting these personal associations and understanding of the text and story in the song with our audience i.e. the people we are communicating these ideas and experiences to. Who do we want the audience to be in this instance? E.g. Another character in your play? What do you want them to do?
Exercises to connect better with the song texts:
1) Take words and say them 3 times, so that they sink in and you can actively engage with them consciously.
2) Physicalise the words – do a museum visit imagine that every word is a physical object in the room or action. Physically go to the item and show the audience.
3) Ask yourself what is your attitude to the story and the characters in the story? What is the journey you make in the song?
4) Do a cartoon of what is happening in your song.
Summary
1) Very important you understand what you are singing about and think about how you are going to communicate it to your audience!
2) Go to a place or situation where you can engage with the story and each and every word consciously e.g. Remember a time when you have been heart broken how did this feel personally to you, how did you react to the event and what was your attitude to being in that situation. What emotions did this evoke in you personally.
3) Communicate with your audience through physicalising events in the story to bring it to life.

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