THIS IS A SERIES BY DAVID ESCOBEDO THAT OFFERS A SIMPLIFIED PERSPECTIVE ON THREE BASIC OR SMALL ELEMENTS OF IMPROV. THERE ARE SURELY WAYS TO DECONSTRUCT AND FIND EXCEPTIONS. IT WOULD BE HARD TO FIND ANYTHING IN IMPROV THAT OPERATES UNIVERSALLY. THESE ARE OFFERED AS ONE PERSPECTIVE THAT MAY HELP SOME PEOPLE, AND ARE JUST TIPS OF THE ICEBERG WHEN IT COMES TO THE CONCEPTS.
DON’T PLAY CRAZY/KIDS/DRUNK
These characters automatically give the improv performer the excuse to do a “bad job” in the scene. If you play these types of characters they need to contribute to the scene as much as anybody else. Instead of doing a “bad job” as a joke and constantly playing confused, these characters need to know what’s going on, bring in specifics and further the story/relationship/game.
INVEST IN THE RELATIONSHIP/PLOT/CONTEXT
If you don’t believe in the world, the audience doesn’t. They won’t get lost in what you’re doing, they’ll be on the sidelines just like you.
DARE TO BE BORING
This does a couple things. First of all, as long as there are specifics and action what an improv performer might view as “boring” is actually grounded. It is relatable. Things like doing your laundry, brushing your teeth, or watering house plants appear like milk toast ideas. The reality is that these actions are something everybody can deal with.
The second thing is that it “earns the wacky.” You will get to the wacky. If you start off at the wacky and stay there then it becomes white noise and there are less dynamic levels to the show.
Ciao for Niao,