This week in the Improv Diaries, I discussed techniques that were used to train in the area of Characters. I thought I would go into more depth on this weeks Improv Corner about one of the exercises I thought worked really well and is something that I recommend others to do to get into character – the use of Caricatures.
I cannot remember where I found the original exercise but it was on a website about improv in America and then I developed it into a game that we can play as a warm up. The idea of using a Caricatures I felt was a really great idea because the human face has so many expressions and who is the most likely to completely and utterly exaggerate them in their entirety? These comedic artists.
It is really not hard to find these online, you only have to type in Caricatures and a load of them will show up. The aim is to find some that really focus on the facial expressions and not on the celebrity, because lets face it a lot of them are going to be faces that people recognise. The key to this exercise is to not get hung up on the celebrity but to focus on the actual features of the character.
In the group that you are teaching, get one person to come up and choose one a random out of the ones that you have collated – when we played them I put loads on a Powerpoint presentation and made them random when they came up in a random order.
Make sure you make it clear to that person to focus on the facial expressions and not the celebrity and then to create a mini monologue scene as the character they feel they are becoming. When the scene is over ask the rest of the group what they thought the Caricatures facial features were and then reveal to the audience the picture.
You will be surprised just how similar the improvisers can create the Caricatures and it is a great way to really focus on moulding the face. Haven’t tried it? Give it a go! It can even work on your own looking at yourself in the mirror.