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  • Writer's pictureEloina Haines

Julia's Persona Workshop

Setting up the ritual space:

- Space spread out to be able to concentrate on doing and feel comfortable doing it away from others eg. chairs turned away from each other

- Set out objects and cameras and garments beforehand

- Have milestones to hit within time-frames

Ritual 1:

- Slowly remove the layers of your everyday clothing and the garments that make you you, eg. my rings

- Move around the room as stripped back self and take a seat in front of new garments when the music stops

- Slowly dress yourself in the new garments one-by-one, each time noticing how it feels, hangs on you, adds to a character, changes/transforms your persona

- Take time to adjust and think about this persona, answer questions in your head eg. what are you doing here? Where have you come from? Who is important to you?

- Write letters to another or about oneself, write down a secret that nobody knows about this persona

- Dance in this persona whilst interacting with

the other personas around you


My persona was a woman waiting to see her husband. Her husband had gone to prison for a crime that she had committed in order to allow her to stay home and look after her children.

- The limbo when taking off garments/character - it is hard to remember what the 'self' is. There are many versions of the self. It is an undefined, tricky in-between space that may be interesting to explore

- Subverting the habitual safeness

- Moment of submission to role for me: when I visually saw myself in sunglasses reflection

- Let persona generate text

- What locates me as me? Jewelry/no shoes. Take these away to become other. Taking these away takes away my own habits by following intuition without pre-determination by myself. This should be the process of making. Trust the swimming around of ideas and surprises!!

- Quite nice to have a break from being the self I always am

- Julia speaks about performance being about 'internal points of concentration'. For example, a technique is Michael Chekov's 'gesture' - take an abstract gesture, push it, know it intensely physically. Then internally use that information to perform it naturalistically. This keeps core knowledge from practical research as a point of concentration.

- Some garments can entirely change the idea of persona, add and remove as you feel your character develop.

Ritual 2:

- Half of the group stand bare

- Half of the group act as dressers, using clothes from a large pile of garments, hats, accessories.

- The dresser only makes clothing decisions but the dressed use this information to transform into new persona, moving closer and closer to the front of the stage as you feel persona developing.

- We are interviewed in these personas with another persona

- We are given letters written in the last ritual to deliver as the new persona. Using material from other exercises allows to create new material again

We repeated a similar process to Ritual 1 in SLP, using clothes we had brought in with us. During this process, we were asked to write a description of our thinking of our project so far.

"Wearing something that doesn't quite fit. Wearing a body which surprises you - isn't quite fitting to what you expect for yourself."

"The want not to reproduce but the fear of not being able to. Contradictions in myself (in what is expected of me and what I want for myself) - is this real? Or is it a rebellion to these expectations?"

"Does this make me less of a woman? What is it to be a woman? To not quite walk in heels, to not quite fit in dress, to not care? To express everything, to nurture, to forget yourself to nurture others...are we already mothers without children...? Cool. Less Pressure."


This writing in persona allowed me to understand my stance in theme of motherhood and changed the route of my performance to looking at expectations on women in general rather than just in terms of motherhood, as explored previously.

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