Status is a really interesting subject in improv and there are some fantastic teachers out there that can teach you so much about how to use it effectively in improv, however, today, I want to talk about an area that really interested me when I got taught it by Susan Harrison.
When you play with status and get given someone that has something that is a high number like a King, Head Teacher etc, the initial thought is to play that person as powerful, in charge, in control, owns the room – but what happens when you take a high status based character and then give it a low status.
When I did Susan Harrisons course with Hoopla Impro that was focused on Character development. We did some exercises about status and it was a really good and interesting way to see how you get to put a spin on a character differently to what an audience expects as well as creating something interesting and funny.
Example / Exercise
Ok, so time to see the difference – do a scene when you give someone a profession of a high status – such as a banker, manager, royalty etc. Then give the other person in that scene a low status character – now play a scene.
This time play the same characters again but this time the high status character has a low status and the low status has a high status.
You see the difference and how fun it can be to muck around with how power can be used with different characters. The juxtaposition can create some really fun scenes on stage
Playing with status is a very fun thing to see on stage and it makes you realise that when you play around with characters status you can create something noone expects.
If you are fairly adventurous try and do a scene where both of you are a certain status and then throughout the scene your status starts to change to a different matter.