I sat with across from an executive. It was a benign conversation – a check-in meeting. Neither of us was all that engaged.
Looking down at his desk, I noticed he’d arrayed files on his desk in the order of a rainbow – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple (though Roy G. Biv forever, squad).
I didn’t say anything about it. But thinking about it led me to this exercise.
Looking to practice evoking emotions through engaging environment? The audience loves seeing improvisers “see” something on stage. They love seeing us enthusiastically accept what our fellow players imagine. And they love it when we invest emotionally in those imagined somethings.
Want an exercise that forces us to see something, say something and have that something matter to our scene partner? Keep reading. Continue reading
We want to fill our blank stages with imagined environment. We want to engage physically in that environment to help visualize the imagined. And – most importantly – we want to be emotionally affected by where we are and what we’re doing. That’s Improv As Improv Does Best.
Our fellow player(s) and how they emotionally affect our characters is important. But engaging heir scene partner is not where improvisers struggle. One’s scene partner is actually active on stage – his/her presence doesn’t have to be imagined – so too often players give 100% of their attention on their partner and ignore physically engaging the environment.
Like the “We gotta…” and “That’s my…” initiation exercises, the “I was just…” drill helps connect emotion to active endowments.
Feeling about active endowments. That’s Improv As Improv Does Best.
It ain’t easy. That balance between making up imagined details and committing to feeling about imagined details is tough to manage. Already we’re trying to see our world’s details instead of thinking up details, but we also have to care about those details in-the-moment.
Like the “We gotta…” and “I was just…” initiation exercises, the “That’s my…” drill helps connect emotion to active endowments.
Objective: To build scenes by exploring and heightening committed perspectives.
Objective: To responsibly and recklessly endow scene partners (with characteristics, information, activities, etc.) that s/he must accept.
Objective: To play with strong emotional perspectives that evoke strong emotional reactions and drive strong emotional scenes.
Without scripts, improvisers are dependent on what’s in their head – details from their lives and their personal ability to access emotion in-the-moment. The audience loves seeing us on stage. Let the audience see you to give them the ability to connect with you and ultimately root for you.
CAFÉ SCENES – Two players sit in chairs facing each other. They are to have a conversation as their authentic selves, trying not to worry about people watching them. Continue reading
CONVERSATION PARTY – Players stand on stage in multiple groups of two or three people. Players are “at a party” as themselves, speaking as themselves to other who are also themselves. The teacher conducts focus from one conversation to the next.
• Be specific – You don’t have to try so hard to be funny. You just have to be specific. The surprise inherent to improvisation is made even more satisfying when we’re specific in-the-moment.
• React – The audience reaction of “I would have said that,” or “I know a woman who would have said that,” is such a satisfying response for any performance medium. In improvisation, that power is compounded as the audience knows that your reaction was “your” reaction in-the-moment.
• Connect – don’t just sit in your head waiting for your next turn to speak, listen to what’s going on around you, let it seep in and affect you.
• Juxtapose – we don’t have to discuss our differences or negotiate out one “truth.” A party group who loves cats standing next to a group that loves dogs doesn’t need to engage in a fight. The audience sees both groups and wants both heightened next to each other.