1. Don’t be freaked out by the base reality. You gotta be instantly comfortable in the world of the scene, no matter how confusing / surprising / weird it is. If you start off playing ping pong (which is not that weird but IS something that might take up more mental space than you were ready to spend), talk about something besides the fact that you’re playing ping pong. Too many scenes start off with characters allergic to the very world around them.
My response to a post about dealing with racist characters:
I want to satirize racism and prejudice on my stage, not punish it or ignore it. If you believe that something in society is wrong or ugly, it’s your job to call attention to it as an artist, to expose it as irrational or illogical. I want people to laugh at it in a way that delegitimizes it and highlights how unfair and grotesque it is.
Anonymous asked: this is not a joke question: you enter a scene using your normal American accent. after a few lines you're labeled as Julia Child or Sean Connery or whatever, do you adopt the accent of that person? do you even call attention to it ("i was pretending i was American because...")?
Think of a spectrum of tactics or responses to a given point of view. At one end, your character might completely agree with your scene partner’s point of view. On the other end, you might vociferously disagree by ranting and raging against your scene partner.
Also from Meisner’s book, when he asks the class what the best way to help your scene partner do an authentic reaction. What if they need to say ouch? What’s the best way to make someone say ouch? And he pinches someone, kinda hard, and they yelp “ouch!” It’s not about physically hurting someone – it’s about really provoking someone. You want a reaction? You can provoke it out of someone.
I didn’t talk to anyone about it because I felt like I couldn’t. I didn’t want to be a bad teammate. I didn’t want to be the one who tore the group apart. I thought I would just get over it, but the truth is that two years later I still don’t like talking about it.
“I can’t help but notice a surprising lack of improvised gay characters on your show. What I mean by this, is that when you and the performers are in a scene, and the characters are in a relationship they are almost always in a heterosexual relationship. This is particularly noticeable when you have LGBTQ improvisers on your show and when they are in a scene they are almost always put into heterosexual relationships as well.”
The kinds of stories that have been swirling around the improv community these days can inspire outrage at the people who are victimizing others, and it should. But when seeking better outcomes, we must address more than just the bad apples in our community. We must do more than put in place policies that address harassment.
Most inexperienced (and even highly experienced) improvisers only notice a small portion of the context behind their words and actions on stage. Many often throw too many ideas and moves into a scene to make it go, not realizing how much information they are already adding with minimal action and dialogue… if they would only think to notice.
Here is a disgusting, boiled-down version of 30+ hours of improv learning for the Buzzfeed Millennial mindset. There are SO MANY exercises, insights and philosophies from all of these teachers, but this is just a taster.