The judgemental mirror

8 Apr


This exercise experiments with a characters perception of how others perceive him or her



The group writes down around seven actions that can be taken in social situations, which the person later has to perform nonverbally in front of them. While this is going on, the person playing the character should leave the group. This should take a maximum of five minutes.

Examples, for a young person, who is in love with a girl, but scared about how the family will judge him, might be performing the following actions:

  • Smiling at the family.
  • Looking serious in front of the family.
  • Greeting the family for the first time, by trying to shake their hand.
  • The First Kiss
  • Kneeling and asking her to marry him.


  1. One participant stands in front of the rest of the group. They are all bunched up closely, such that he can see all of them, and they can stare back at him.
  2. The group hands him a slip of paper with an action on it
  3. The person then has to perform this action, nonverbally, whilst all the other participants stare at him and comment on his behaviour in a judgemental manner. The other people never do anything other than stand and stare at the person. The main participant must maintain eye contact with the others at all times.
  4. Whenever the situation has drawn out for long enough in an awkward manner, another slip is handed to the player, which he then has to perform

Examples might be:

  • “That smile is very awkward”.
  • “My god, seriously, he is doing that?”
  • “Grow up.”
  • “This is a disaster.”
  • “Thank god I’m not him”


When all the notes have been used you thank the players.


  • If done as a character preparation exercise, the other players might play their respective characters as well, while being judgmental.
  • The affirming mirror. Instead of being judgmental, the other players notice nice things about the character.
  • The status mirror. If done as a character preparation exercise, the other characters might comment on the behaviour based on their relative opinion of the person. A rock star might be showered in praise, with certain people finding his actions ridiculous, whereas a bully victim might be despised by some people, pitied by others, and loved by one person.


Created at Knutpunkt 2014 by Danny Wilson and Frida Karlsson Lindgren


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