* The Name/Gesture Game * Invent a gesture to go with your name. * Commit 100% to that gesture. * Everyone else: support that gesture 100%. * It is right, it is fun, it is awesome. * Don't half-ass this game. * Don't dip your toe into physicality. * DIVE IN or go home. * "Caligula" * Everyone get in a circle. * Everyone join hands. * Everyone take one big step in a random direction. * Now, in super-slow-motion * Let the pose exaggerate. * Keep doing that until the pose becomes something new. * COMMIT COMMIT COMMIT to the weird physicality. * Regardless of what happens, maintain some sort of contact with your hand-holders. * "Good morning." * Explore the space. * When you make eye contact with someone, say "good morning". * Do the same thing, leading with a specified part of the body (e.g. your head). * Let the physicality inform your character. * Which informs how you now say "good morning". * Some notes on character and physicality. * Your physicality is the only thing in a scene you really own. * Everything else -- the setting, your character, the story -- is up for grabs to the group. * Never drop your physicality. * The audience *hates* it when you do that. * "Don't drop your shit." * Hold onto it, even in the face of contradictory-seeming endowments. * Okay, now you're the D. A. that sashays around the room hips-first. BE THAT. * Your easiest choice w/r/t characterization is always to *keep* being who you were in the first five seconds. * Keep it simple, and it's simple to keep. * If your physicality doesn't have a whole lot of detailed parts, it's easy to maintain it without getting all thinky. * "Character is a light veil." -- Del Close * Just be yourself, with slight changes, and that's enough. * Characters from walks. * First, learn about your own walk. * Walk around the space. * Have the class observe the qualities of your walk. * Is there a lot of... * up/down? * side-to-side? * loose/rigid? * sitting back/pushed forward? * What's moving? What's staying still? * If this were a race, which body part would "break the tape" first? * Walk around the space, and find some core quality of your gait to alter. * Let that inform a character. * Once that informs a character, have a seat. * Then, we have an interview with these characters. * We learn more about them. * We find out how they know each other. * When possible, we ask for more details. * Ideally, your walk will let you just 'know' the rest of your character. * It'll feel less 'invented' that way. * Remember that you don't have to invent additional physicality. * Just keep milking that initial offer. * In practice, just watch your physicality, and learn from it. * What your hands are doing *matters* -- what does it mean? * Why set it up so that "they all know each other?" * It helps keep the last person in the group from being the 'wacky and different one' * This helps keep the group on the *same* page. * It gets everybody doing the same thing. * "Just get in the boat with the rest of us." * It makes it easy for the characters to endow each other. * Once you set up that they all know each other ("We own a fishing boat."), you can ask all the characters a related question ("What do you like fishing for?") * This in turn helps distinguish the characters from each other. * The interviewer should press for details. * Try to get in the habit of specificity. * Remember, improv doesn't allow *time* for ambiguity. * Mirroring * Make eye contact in this exercise. * This gets you used to making direct eye contact (and "checking in") onstage. * Don't try to screw over your partner with sudden, unpredictable movements. * Mirror facial expressions. * Add mirror-talking to this: * The key here is DO NOT JUDGE * Don't be afraid to be wrong, and just GO * Speaking faster is, paradoxically, *easier* * ... largely because it makes it harder to judge yourself. * Try to talk at normal, conversational speed. * As opposed to weird, "special needs" slowed-down speed. * Speak-in-one-voice scenework. * AKA "The Doublemint Twins Get F***ed in the A**." * (Name courtesy of Susan Messing.) * This is done with two 2-person "characters". * Each pair stands next to each other and links arms. * They don't make eye contact. * Just trust that your speak-in-one-voice will work. * You can check in occasionally just to make sure your facial expressions match. * Think of it as "group mind for two" * The scene starts in silence, with each "character" doing an activity. * It continues in silence until each character knows how s/he feels about the activity. * Note that if you know what you're doing, and you know how you feel about it, that's, like, 90% of what you need in a scene. * Draw on just that, throughout the scene. * Note that if you start neutral, you have to 'chase the scene'. * i.e., you have to figure out an opinion you can have about what happens, and figure out what character you might have. * If you start from a feeling about the activity, you can just *discover* the elements of the scene from there. * "Hold on to these initial choices the way a dingo holds on to a baby." * Again, you have to DIVE IN with confidence, or it won't work. * Fail BIG if you fail. * Typically these characters know each other. * This means they don't have to waste time with expository questions. * And, again, they can give each other a wider range of interesting endowments. * This exercise forces you to both initiate and react. * A great improvisor has to be able to both drive and passenger. * Armando Monologs * Simple monologs, as yourself. * Be calm & confident & in-control when presenting such a monolog. * This is also a way to get your classmates to get to know each other. * The main takeaway: you yourself are a compelling, watchable character. * As yourself, you still have unique presentation styles, cadences, etc. * Ergo, your characters don't need to be broad/different/bullshitty. * This also reminds us that truth is stranger than fiction. * General notes: * Del quote: "Improvisors are raving paranoids." * Meaning: everything that happens -- *every little thing* -- is something that *matters* to your character. * You should also be a raving paranoid about your *own* little offers. * Be even *more* of a paranoid when it comes to the initial offers in a scene. * A scene with solid characters is eminently watchable on its own, even if there's nothing else there. * Keep exploring "Why?" in a scene. * This lets you *develop* the current offers. * ... as opposed to dropping them and looking for new stuff. * Notes for me: * My walk is described as "gangly, with my head pitched forward, looking down, and some side-to-side motion." * My note for myself: * I'm overdoing character. I need to just hit one physicality, stick to it, and don't worry about being *completely* not-myself.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none