Improv Corner – How A Koi Pond Inspired This Weeks Article…

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In improv you can sometimes explore the depth of the character if you have enough time, this usually is an important topic if you are working in a long form team as the development of a character can really give your show a lot of depth. One thing that you can really work on in improv, is the idea of subtext. If you are unaware of what this means, it can be described as ‘an underlying and often distinct theme in a piece of writing or conversation.

There is a really interesting example that I think I heard about on Office Ladies podcast so I will talk about it now. Koi Pond is the eighth episode of the sixth season of The Office US. In the episode, Michael Scott falls in the Koi Pond on a business meeting with Jim and there is a discussion in the office whether he was pushed. Due to the amount of events that happen there is a lot of emotions both at play and underling. In the podcast they were discussing that in the writers room they had white paper on the wall to connote the story and blue pieces of paper to connote the emotion underneath. From hearing about this, I felt inspired and felt that it was relevant to improv!

Having two emotions running simultaneously at play at the same time can really create some interesting outcomes for an improv scene. There are many ways you can even try this as well;

+ In rehearsals, try doing scenes where one person is told to be ‘happy’ on the outside but inside they are feeling sad. It can be difficult to master but it will really give you such an interesting result on stage and you can really play with it and mix it up for some fun results!

+ You can also maybe play it in a show – make it a game, maybe the audience decide what the emotions are and then the other players in the scene have to guess what the emotions are! Or you could even just make it sort of like a status sort of game where it mixes all the time.

There are so many ways that you can bring subtext into a show and this is only just a tiny area of it – but I really like the fact that this discussion about The Office US got me thinking about it!

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