Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Seduce Your Improv Partner

Good! I thought the title might get you this far.

Of course, when I say "seduce" I don't mean "seduce seduce". But improv is a kind of seduction in that it usually starts off with two people alone on a stage, not knowing what the hell is about to happen. One person has an idea or impulse and acts on it, seductively offering a line or an action. The partner follows, offering his or her own touch or twist to the mix. Sometimes you don't even need to say anything. It can be communicated in the eyes or with the body. True stage partners will follow each other's lead. There is no boss. There should be no power play. There is no room for control freaks on an improv stage. It's a side by side, equal partnership. There is complete and total trust. There is give and take. No one walking 10 paces ahead, no one walking 10 paces behind. You should be aware of each other at all times. Listening, focusing, almost anticipating your partner's next move in a perfect flow. In those moments neither one of you has any idea where it will go or end up, but that's part of the thrill. The difference is that you have an audience watching, sharing in that thrill.

Follow. Keep going. Move forward. See where it takes you. But if you're terrified? If you feel out of control? Sure, you can leave the stage, you can change the subject, you can break all the improv rules like denying, blocking, negating…but good improvisers will know that doing any of those things will stop the flow and ultimately destroy what could have been a great scene.

Sound like a relationship? It should. Improv is a relationship. A bare, raw relationship between actors on a stage. Improv is about working as a team, giving and taking in balance towards a shared goal: entertaining the audience, and yourselves, for just a moment in time. And when it's right, there's only one other thing in the world that feels as good.

No comments:

Post a Comment