Improv Corner – It’s All About Silence pt 1

I was reading Rainn Wilson autobiography a few months ago and part of the book goes on to talk about working on the television show The Office US – quite a lot of the show was Improvised and there is this really interesting quote he says about when he first met Jenna Fisher at an audition.

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Quote about Jenna’s audition for Pam

This is a really interesting quote and one that should really be looked at in regards to improv – a lot of people go into a scene and believe that the words are the most powerful thing to get across an emotion, an expression or scene work but actually silence and movement can be so much more powerful. If you watch episodes of The Office US and really pay attention to Pam’s character there is so many times where she doesn’t need to say a lot to get a point across and that is where the humour happens – she is not the only person that improvises as Steve Carrell was the King on this show but today I want to focus on silence.

The one thing I have noticed from improv is that actions can really speak louder then words – a facial expression aimed at the audience can really create such a reaction even in a serious scene. The best thing about no words in a scene is that it can create actually more power and a reaction from the audience. As the website People and Chairs discovered when they interviewed Second City actor Jason DeRosse  that there is “Strength in silence!” 

We will visit this again over the next few months but I wanted to highlight this Office US quote today and make you re watch it and really look out for those actions and see how you can adapt it into your own improv sets.

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