Keep it Simple!

We’ve arrived to what was probably the best week of my year!

Maybe not in general, but almost definitely in my comedic life. I’d have to exclude moments like co-creating a whole women’s team, co-creating a show I’m super proud of, writing and performing stand-up for the first time…all amazing personal accomplishments in my comedy life, but…this was A WHOLE WEEK(!!!) when I was able to learn from, hang out with and play with Will Hines and Connor Ratliff!

During this week I became aware of the importance of having a philosophy. A philosophy you can use while you’re on stage playing, when you’re trying to improve yourself or when you are teaching. It’s a philosophy that doesn’t need to be stagnant, it can be adapted, shifted or changed, depending on what you observe your role within a team is, what you need to work on at any given moment, or what you observe as something the group you’re teaching is lacking.

It’s amazing how little we need for a scene to be fun! – Connor Ratliff

Connor centred much of his teaching this time around on keeping it simple. We over complicate scenes! Don’t feel the pressure of having to say something big or overly smart – if you just say something and trust your scene partner, both of you will find out how to use what you said and make it work. We find ourselves almost enumerating moves once we find the funny thing in a scene, which puts a lot of pressure on us to do THE right thing or say THE smart thing and makes it all extremely predictable for the audience – if you act normal and speak plain, the opportunities to play with the funny thing will show themselves and you only need to keep being faithful to the character you created.

Sometimes the only thing to say is the obvious thing! – Connor Ratliff

Don’t save things for later! The lifetime of your improv scene is usually the time you have to make the moves you have. You never know if you’ll be able to bring that situation back, so you shouldn’t be trying to save the big funny move for the finale. Just use it when you have it and something else will present itself as the grand finale later on. And do say everything your character is reluctant to say – you’re not playing a person in real life who has to be careful about hurting others or being interpreted badly and those super honest moves will end up bringing funny moments to your pieces.

Try to avoid the “what should I watch on Netflix next?” feeling. – Connor Ratliff

Improv audiences are very patient at the top of a scene – you have time to set up your reality and your characters and from there, you just need to play. Find patterns, unpack what is said, be faithful to your characters and enjoy each other. That’s all you really need. And listen! Everything that is said in a scene is important! Think of it as a play or a film – a film editor doesn’t leave anything in the finished product if it’s not important for the movie that it is there

I never want the blackout to come! – Connor Ratliff

Check out all the workshops coming up in January here and come find the philosophy that works for you at this point in time!

We’re in full on festive season and you can join us in celebration at The Ship for our December shows. Check out more details here.

Written by Mariana Feijó

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