Page 23 Our translation of this energy on stage is by objectification of our partner, which is the process of not seeing one’s part-
ner as a complete “person” but as an object that can give him pleasure. That can be achieved by not looking in his or her
eye and seeing the special soul within, but rather to deconstruct that human to different objects. These objects are his or
her body parts. There is no need to focus on the partner’s genitals or to think “dirty” thoughts about them for this energy
to come across to the audiences. It is enough to just to deconstruct the fellow actor to specific body parts, and focus on
those parts that give the watcher pleasure. We found that even focusing on a button, stain or jewelry can give the effect
Objectification can be done not only to humans but also to objects/ideas that we desire: Chocolate cake, a raise, a new
car and more. This technique can be applied to onstage objects as well as to fellow actors who play these objects or ide-
as. I find that in workshops, when working with actors, better to use the term objectification instead of erotic, to help
actors avoid embarrassment.
These two energies are very different in nature and in practice on stage. “We’re walking contradictions, seeking safety
and predictability on one hand and thriving on diversity on the other” (Perel, 2007, p. 4). That tension which runs
throughout Perel’s book, is the same tension we actors face onstage.
How do we bring it all together to the stage?
This matrix suggests that there are four options every PT actor, whether a Ninja actor or the teller’s actor, can choose from.
We repeatedly find that a strong, clear choice of archetype and energy by an actor helps enhance the emotional intensity
and universality of the enactment. As written before, the actors can listen to the dominant archetype in every character as
a way to help choose how to play that character’s archetype onstage and then match it with the appropriate energy.
“Not coincidentally, this entire emotional history plays itself out in the physicality of sex. The body is the purest, most
primal tool we have for communicating… The body is a memory bank for the sensual pleasures of the skin... a storage
facility for the distress and frustration we endured, and the pain we have suffered” (Perel, 2007, p. 111-112). In re-
gards to touch onstage within erotic stories, we found that no touch is necessary to create these spheres onstage (or
even text for that matter). The essence of the erotic can be portrayed through archetypal embodiment and interpersonal
focus on intimacy or objectification. That said, we experiment in our workshops in the four types of touch through the
above matrix, and found that even minimal touch can be sufficient to deliver the sphere of eroticism, as long as both
actors hold on to their archetype and energy (9).
The “third” in PT
“The presence of the third is a fact of life… acknowledging the third has to do with validating the erotic separateness
of our partner” (Perel, 2007, p.198). This “third” is the person external to the relationship that helps maintain the erot-
ic within the dyad, by adding the possibility that the partner is not belong solely to the relationship, therefore empha-
sizing the partner’s separateness. In our context, it is the Ninja actor (10), who is not one of the main characters in the
story, who can help accentuate the unique relationship between the teller’s actor and the antagonist.
The ninja actor can choose to play the opposite energy to the antagonist, thereby enhancing the unique nature of the
relationship between the teller’s actor and the antagonist. For example, to help emphasize the intimacy of a romantic
crush between a man and one of the girlfriends of his sister, the teller’s actor can choose to objectify the other actor
playing the other girlfriend, and save the special, eye contact, intimate energy to the antagonist.
Or to best depict an actor wanting “more than just friends” with his roommate, the ninja actor can play the third room-
mate, who maintains an intimate dialogue with the teller’s actor, say around a card game, while the teller’s actor can
slowly start objectifying the antagonist.
A few lessons learned from workshops
Here are a few lessons we learned in workshops when playing with this matrix in workshops:
In short forms, best that actors choose one clear choice in the matrix and avoid shifting between the energies.
When objectifying, it’s hard to feel rejection or shame. In order to connect to those feelings, the actor should look
his or her partner in the eye. We find that the moment of creating or breaking eye contact can be a vertical offer
(11), changing the emotional scene forward to a new emotion.
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