Improv Corner – Archive Articles – It’s All About Status

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At the moment i am currently recovering from a major operation, so to make sure that you don’t go without your weekly Improv Corner fix, we are going to be delving into the archives for a couple of months to bring you some really important topics that you may again find useful

Today’s Topic – Its All About Status
Originally posted:  20 NOV 2017 

When you start to focus on characters in improv, there is one thing very early on that you learn – that status is key to creating succesful creations. When you look at society, you will notice that there is a hierachy of people, whether this is by their status of what they do as a job, a status in their family or even a status in society – these are things that play a key part in creating some of the most successful scenes.

From very early on in training you do a number of exercises to get used to how different people in society react to one another and also it is used in some scene as a path to create the humour. One of the games that I was taught very early on was based around the sticky label. Every person in the class was given a number between 1-10 and this was stuck to their forhead without them knowing what number they had been given. The lower the number, the higher in society you were like – upper class / rich / posh – the higher the number the more lower status you were in society – working class / not a lot of money / common. You would then be part of a party and people would interact with you and treat you as you would that number. By doing this you could work out what status you were and where you see fit.

Status is used a lot in improv – there is a game where you do a scene and one of you starts as a lower status character and one of you as a high status character (for example a Queen and her servant)  and then the aim of the game is for the status to change throughout the scene so that the person who has the lower status will end the scene in a higher status position.

It may seem like a really simple techniique but it is one that will make your compedy reach a new level of fun. It is one of the basic 101 skills of improv but once you really understand it, you will love it and want to use it more in your comedy.

Categories: Improv, Improv Corner

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