Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #46: Go Through the Motions

PRETEND: Go Through the Motions
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, taking Yoda's advice that, "Do, or do not. There is no try."

Or else they just go through the motions.

Harold Lloyd in Never Weaken goes through the motions of committing suicide (a classic comic situation—do not try this at home) and succeeds at not dying. By taking a sincerely half-hearted approach, he discovers that he doesn't want tot die after all. It starts at about one minute, 54 seconds into the first clip below.

Going through the motions is a way to step outside the problem, detach emotionally, and see it as a whole. You think and act simultaneously, working things out on your feet and in your head. It's also a way to do a preliminary test of multiple solutions without investing too much time or energy too soon. And you might even discover that by beginning this way with a project you've been avoiding, you'll find yourself immersed and involved in no time.

In rehearsal, I'll often do a slow walk-through of my show, marking through the actions so that I can see it from the outside, find things I need to practice and remember, try new ideas, and solve recurring problems. For another level of detachment, I'll pantomime using my props to give more attention to my movements and to get an awareness of how I treat the objects in my show.

Think: What if I just went through the motions of my problem or solution? How can I do something and stay detached?

Next: How to Think Like a Fool #47: Know Everything

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