Playing Many Different Roles
When you think of a great character actor, who comes to mind? For me itâ€™s Johnny Depp.
Just think about the differences in his roles as Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands, Mort Rainey (Secret Window), Spencer Armacost (The Astronautâ€™s Wife) â€¦ and of course – Willy Wonka! Now, compare him with someone like Bruce Willis.
Willis almost exclusively plays the â€œburnout cop/criminal/taxi-driver/soldier on the verge of losing everything who finds his inner nobility and saves the day.â€? Thatâ€™s basically his role in every movie heâ€™s starred in.
What Roles Do You Play?
Human beings are more like Depp than Willis in that we often change roles depending on the situation weâ€™re in and the needs we have at the time. What roles do you play? And which serve you well? Which donâ€™t? Itâ€™s helpful to become both aware of them and intentional about which are most responsible and helpful for certain contexts.
Personally, I know that when I play the â€œHe-Who-Must-Be-Obeyedâ€? role with my older son, he automatically puts on his â€œLawyerâ€? (â€?let-me-show-you-the-error-in-your-reasoning-and-or-syntaxâ€?) role! There follows an escalating argument in which no one wins.
However when I change roles in my head to â€œMentorâ€? or â€œCoachâ€?, the lad canâ€™t play the Lawyer role – it doesnâ€™t make sense. The two â€œscriptsâ€? donâ€™t match. So he inevitably reverts to a more open-minded and co-operative role.
Which role do you play in job interviews? â€œCharity caseâ€? or â€œWorthy Prospectâ€?? When you act in â€œcharity caseâ€? or â€œIâ€™m Too Good for This Jobâ€? roles, youâ€™re handing the interviewer a bad script to read from.
Which role do you play in family dynamics? â€œLecturerâ€?, â€œPolice Officerâ€?, â€œCheer Squadâ€?, â€œRescue Rangerâ€?, â€œSelf-Defined Adultâ€?, â€œSpoiled Childâ€??
You get the drift.
Change Your Roles, Change Your Results
Try some different roles in problematic situations and see how it changes the â€œscriptâ€?, the dynamic, the response of others, your own feelings and perspective.
Have you ever tried this? What were your results? All comments big and small are very welcomed!
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