Improv Corner – Improv In The Media – Charlie Chaplin / City Lights

If there is one thing that fascinates me about improv and that is how it is portrayed in Television and Film. This is becoming more and more apparent in recent years because the comedy art form is sort of in fashion. There are some interesting topics that we can gain from these ways they are displayed so every so often we are going to look at different scenes from different shows and films.

I am a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin, I find him such an inspiration and find his films so entertaining because he can create the funniest of situations with just a movement of a facial expression. I have always been fascinated with Charlie so much so that I have also filmed two short films in the same style. One when I was 18 (called Mister Alf) and the other one when I had just finished university at 22 (called The Prominade)

Also when I was inter-railing around Switzerland at Christmas in 2014, we also went to the grave of Charlie Chaplin and a massive exhibition of behind the scene photographs of a variety of his films.

Charlie Chaplins Grave

The thing I love about Charlie Chaplin is the way simple situations can become instantly hilarious. One of my favourite films (and if you haven’t seen It I highly recommend it) is City Lights. I love the way that the music can really emphasise the humour as well as the facial expressions and the actions of The Tramp character.

The reason why I think actors like Charlie Chaplin are important in relation to improv is that they don’t need to make a sound to create humour they can do it in the most simplistic ways. It is important in Improvising that you use all of your body and not just your words to create  a scene and help build up the surroundings. No-one wants to see someone standing like a statue talking or twiddling their thumbs, they want them interacting with invisible objects, eating invisible food etc.

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