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It is Friday morning and the whole class is restless. The teacher is telling a story that hardly anyone can follow and the pupils are messing around in groups or staring out of the window silently. When class is finally over, the theatre lesson begins. Most of them find it quite scary to stand on a stage and be looked at by everyone, but today we are going to do something else. In this assignment you are not allowed to talk...

We have to form two rows facing each other. The people in one row close their eyes and the people in the other row slowly come closer, step by step. Everyone has to feel for themselves how close they want to get to the other person. You should only look forward and not pay attention to what the other people in your row are doing. When you feel that you are close enough to the other person, you stop. When everyone has stopped walking, the people in the other row can open their eyes and feel if they want to take steps forwards or backwards.

I find myself standing opposite a girl whom I have to sit next to in class. I walk forwards a bit. How can you tell what is a good distance? And why? I'm standing quite close now, maybe it would be more comfortable to have a bit more space. I take another step backwards. This distance feels good.

The teacher says: "Now the people in the other row can open their eyes.” There we are, looking at each other somewhat uncomfortably. She takes a step back and smiles. I never thought it would matter so much where you stand, but it feels good because I can decide for myself what I want.

The next task is to discuss in groups what the purpose of this task would be. Right at the start of making up groups, I notice that I am more aware of my position in the room in relation to the others. I pay particular attention to what the others like, by looking at how they react when I sit a bit closer than usual. Most of them move backwards without noticing it, but two girls move closer. We haven't even started talking and already it feels like everyone is more at ease and paying attention to each other.