Improv Corner -Don’t Talk About What You Are Doing

When you are doing improv it is really easy to go on stage and explain to the players and the audience what you are doing in the scene and on the stage. This can really lose the magic of a scene and make it fall flat. Sometimes explaining what you are doing makes the scene less realistic then if you said nothing about it. Let me give an example.

In normal, everyday life, imagine something you do as your normal daily routine like cutting an onion to cook with. The next time you do cut an onion do this and think about how you feel about it afterwards. Say aloud everything that you are doing.

‘I am selecting the onion’
‘I am now going to peel the onion’
‘ I am getting a knife from the draw’
‘I am now going to cut the onion….’

How did that feel? Did it feel unnatural to you? Well, when you are explaining the reason why you are doing every little action on the stage, this is how is appears to the audience. If you are in a scene in a kitchen in improv you do not need to explain every little thing that you are doing, the audience will make their own assumptions and that is what the magic of improv is. By explaining every little thing that you are doing in a scene, it blocks the narrative, you get stuck in this loop that you cannot get out of and it just makes everything feel unrealistic.

Sometimes, it is ok to mention what you are doing as a passing thing or if it brings to the scene but try and not make it the main focus of what you are doing. It is all about balance and getting that right.

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