An introduction to Sociodrama: Strangers on a plane14 Jun


Moreno devised two modalities to facilitate exploration of role: sociodrama for collective components and psychodrama for private components.
Sternberg and Garcia: “Who’s in Your Shoes?”

SCENE ONE: Charles de Gaulle airport. Enter two men separately who join the same check-in queue.

First man to second:
What’s holding us up? Oh look its those chavs with all the kids – I wouldn’t give that push-chair to the baggage handlers here – they’re lethal! I thought you were French… They’ve been to (well-known theme-park) – I worked there for ten years, I was a cast-member. On two bottles of wine a day I was by the end – the stress sent me alcoholic.

(theme of Sociodrama: keeping up appearances)

SCENE TWO: A bar beyond passport control.

First man to second:
Thanks – you on business? I’ve just been to see my son – he lives with my ex-wife. He’s French, same as her. My girlfriend’s thrown me out – she’s taken her husband back, I don’t know why – she told me he was rubbish in bed. Now I’ve got to stay at my mother’s. No – I’ll get these.

(theme of Sociodrama: matrimony and parenthood)

SCENE THREE: In the queue at security

First man to second:
I hate this bit. He’s tall for a Japanese isn’t he? Look at my passport photo – that’s two years ago. I’ve got contacts now and a better hairdresser! Here we go – careful what you say to them – I’ve had the rubber-glove job. Twice.

(theme of Sociodrama: identity)

SCENE FOUR: on the aircraft.

First man to second:
So you teach public-speaking? Have you ever done any couriering? You just take a package as hand luggage. I took a CD to Milan once for £300 all expenses paid. Oh, they let you open the package to see what you’re carrying. It was for Ferrari. I copied it onto my laptop – it was all aerodynamic settings for the bodywork. I hate take-off – did you know that the black-box is actually orange? So they can find it in the charred wreckage. My wife put us into a lot of debt and I had a bit of a breakdown. You’re OK you are, you know? You’re easy to talk to. That guy in front of us at check-in – with his Ralph Lauren suit and his Ralph Lauren luggage, on the phone to his Ralph Lauren wife…! Yes, thanks. Same again. You’re not driving are you?!

(theme of Sociodrama: materialism)

SCENE FIVE: Arrivals lounge at East Midlands

First man to second:
Well I’d better phone my mother then. And get a taxi. She’ll be surprised… Take care.

(theme of Sociodrama: homelessness)

You can explore one of your own Sociodramas and apply related techniques at Manchester YHA on July 4th-5th


Bungees, Cows and Cauldrons: the strange genesis of the I-Twing11 Jun


Question: Why should you use the I-Twing, up-to-the-minute oracle of social change?

Let me answer that question with a question of my own that the I-Twing answered for me: How to take my work forward?

The answer came in the first three tweets in my Twitter timeline at 21.59 on the 21st May 2009 as I sat, holed up in a Midlands hotel with just my Mac, some room-service fajitas and a cold beer for company:

# GarryParkes RT @Alex_Jeffreys: @minxywitch @deanholland @gazzman @danbriffa any of you gonna do a bungy jump with me in vegas ? [I’ll do the video!] less than 20 seconds ago from TweetDeck

# Brian Clark copyblogger Want to contribute a story to an updated version of Seth Godin’s Purple Cow? – half a minute ago from web

# Charl Pearce simchabe Yahoo eyeing social networking acquisitions’ **Wouldn’t it be funny if they bought fb or T & made a big come backhalf a minute ago from TweetDeck

Three themes I identified were:

  • Daring (and recording it)
  • Transforming business (with Seth’s Cow)
  • Big comeback (in traffic terms)

I took this to mean I could be successful if I used social media to develop my work.

The concept was adapted from an original idea by Shannonseek, who had found an intertwining poetry earlier when reading the first three tweets in her timeline, sort of like a Twaiku. This inspired me to develop the concept of I-Twing.

Flawnt, another tweeter, was enthusiastic about this new addition to the divination scene:

flawntRT @bizlike: @flawnt: Try the I-Twing – read first three tweets in the timeline as a reply to your question. / RT brilliant – LOL – works too

The thing was, at that point I hadn’t even tried it myself! But I took flawnt’s validation (and the time seemed right) and the above is what I found…

Some exciting record of my life will transform my work into heavy traffic.

It reminded me of a similar incident about 25 years ago when I bought our first home computer – a Dragon32. There were other new home PCs on the market but I was attracted by the Welsh manufacture (Celts & Computers!), the 32K of memory and the ludicrous feature that the full-size keyboard was “guaranteed for one million depressions.”

Anyway – you could either load up programmes from a cassette recorder that played it analogue code through a wire or you could learn dragon basic and write your own. I decided to write a routine that reproduced the three coins method of divination from the I-Ching. Maybe a dozen lines by the time I’d finished.

My very first use of my program was to ask the three thousand year old book of wisdom what it thought of my efforts. My program produced hexagram 50 – the Cauldron, one of only two out of the entire sixty-four that represent concrete, man-made objects. I laughed out loud at the sudden thought that this ancient work had instantly surmised what I’d done, and told me so. A moving line gave the answer to my question:

“Thus the work finds favour in the eyes of the Deity, who dispenses great good fortune, and becomes pleasing to men, wherefore all goes well.”

Well 25 years later, I’m here now with the time and inclination to write this, so maybe my work did find favour with the Deity. I’ve just now read the only other hexagram that’s represents some concrete man-made object. Of The Well, hexagram 48, the I-Ching says:

“Thus the Well is the symbol of that social structure which, evolved by mankind in meeting its most primitive needs, is independent of all political forms”.

Sounds vaguely social media, web 2.0 stuff, eh?

But I’m not one to rest on my laurels, you know? So: introducing the I-Twing. I like to think its a more poetic, less traditional method of divination.

And I gave the I-Twing another go to see what it said about all this:

AlohaArleen You can find the entire Tweet Limit MicroBlog at PLUS comments! @PheasantPhun

1txsage1957 Wheatless Wednesday: 6 Alternatives to 87,000 Slices of Bread

KikiValdes Taoism, Confucianism, Cults, Mormonism and Atheism

Enough talk. Enough bread. Open your minds.

Why not try it yourself and let me know?

Rex 11/6/09

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