Voices in the Head

Number of Players


What Is It and Why Use It?

During Voices in the Head, the teacher invites a student in a scene or frozen image to voice a character’s inner thoughts, or invites the group observing the character to voice the character’s inner thoughts. This strategy helps explore a more complicated understanding of character viewpoint and motivation through an exploration of subtext–the often unspoken motivations–of an individual.


Invite students to create a Statue, Frozen Image, Stage Picture, or tableau, to share with the group. During the sharing of the frozen image, place a hand on or near the shoulder of one person within the image and ask the student to speak their character’s inner thoughts: When I place my hand on/near your shoulder, please tell us what your character is thinking… Or, hold a hand over the character’s head (to make an imagined “thought bubble”) and invite students in the audience to speak an inner thought for the character (the student playing the frozen character remains silent): What do we think this character might be thinking? Take answer. What else could this character be thinking?

  • What did we learn when we added internal thoughts to our frozen images?
  • For those of you in the images, how did you embody the emotions, ideas, or thoughts of your character?
  • How does a character’s inner feelings help us better understand the story we are exploring in our work?
Possible Side-Coaching
  • Think about how your still image and inner thoughts connect to embody the character.
  • What else might this character be thinking?
Possible Variations/Applications
  • Use this strategy during an improvised scene between two characters. In this variation, the teacher or one of the students might “freeze the scene” (by yelling Freeze!, playing chimes, clapping their hands, etc.). While the students in the scene are frozen, the students watching might speak the inner thoughts of the characters in the scene, adding context/subtext to the action. The teacher then un-freezes the students in the scene, and they continue their improvisation with the added context/subtext in mind.
Source Citations

Jonothan Neelands and Tony Goode; Augusto Boal