CHANGE OF SELF. Hagen Exercise 3, Pt. 2

Hagen Exercise Three: Changes of Self


Earlier his Fall, my husband and I went to Nashville!  For the flight, I wore a pair of flare-cut jeans, a henley, denim jacket, cowboy hat and Frye boots.  As we were waiting around the airport, I was just browsing some magazines and Bill took these pictures of me, telling me how he could see I was in my “Country Western” mode.  You bet I was!  I was feeling very laid back and completely comfortable, and if I may say, pretty cool. :-).  It took me back to the days I sang Country Western.


My first thought after Bill showed me the pictures, (OK, second - my first thought was that “dating” feeling that he would want to take a picture of me just being me.)…. My second thought was the genius of Uta Hagen noticing, herself, how clothes made her feel, and making what is an every day thing into a powerful acting exercise.   There are two parts of the 3rd Exercise, Changes of Self: the second is being aware of how one feels in different clothes.  I’m sure you’ve noticed it, but if you haven’t (and even if you have) I invite you to pay attention to how your different outfits make you feel for the next week or so.


How do you feel wearing just the right dress/gown or suit to an important occasion that fits you perfectly?  How did you feel in your wedding dress or tux/suit?  A formal gown or suit can bring out an inner confidence and joy that makes you carry yourself almost regally. Or in another case, perhaps you feel uncomfortable because you’ve dressed up for others rather than yourself and you feel self-conscious, and you close in on yourself a little bit.  Then at the end of a long day/evening, how do you feel when you get home and you change into your favorite yoga or sweat pants, or pajamas?  


Do you feel the difference between really old clothes that you keep because you love them, and those you’re tired of or you never really liked?  Do you feel comfort or boredom in wearing them?  Do you have a shirt or jeans that belong to your significant other or belonged to a late loved one that you can just feel their love like a warm hug when wearing them?   

Notice how your innermost feelings show themselves in your body posture and movement. 


What about your shoes?  Notice how crocs or the like make you stand and walk as opposed to a harder soled dress/semi-dress shoe, or a “strappy" high heel or a smart, classic pump.   Aside from the obvious physical effect different shoes have on you, how do these shoes make you feel?  Do you feel you’re walking on air, “walking the runway” or trudging, or shuffling your feet?   Perhaps they make you feel self-conscious because they’re scruffy and you hope no one will notice. Or they’re the most awesome shoes you’ve ever owned and you feel super confident! 


Now with the change of seasons, many of us have changed out our wardrobe and put away the light, sometimes billowy summer clothes for the warm, cozy or bulky layers for the colder weather.  (As well as any time we travel to other climates, obviously).   Do these clothes make you feel cozy and snuggly or constricted?  How about bringing out the snow boots, Wellies, or “sh*t-kickers”, as I call a work boot.  (I grew up on a dairy farm, what can I say?).  Do you find they feel fun and sporty or clunky and you almost feel annoyed?


I’m going to just leave it there for now.  Purposely pay attention to how different clothes and shoes make you feel.  Pay attention to your body posture, your self confidence or lack thereof, all the different emotions they bring up.   I’ll check back in the near future.   (All of this pertains to your life onstage….)


Have a great rest of the week.  Toi toi toi with all of your gigs and auditions and HAVE FUN!!

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