Our usual practice group improv coach was unavailable, and I found a sub, and he was awesome, and here are some notes from the practice:
- WHO WHAT WHERE within the first 30 seconds of the scene. Within the first three lines if possible. (Not the first time I’ve heard this, but I keep forgetting. It makes the scene so much stronger!) At this n00b level, don’t worry about being too heavy-handed with the information— it’s kind of ridiculously funny in its own right.
- Call out weird shit. If someone says something unusual or weird or crazy, take a moment to step back and unpack the weirdness. Don’t just gloss past it. (This, to me, is a concrete method to uncover The Game: first unusual thing + “if this is true, what else must be true?”)
- Protip: if you don’t know how to respond to something (or even if you do), you can repeat what your scene partner just said. Using different wording to provide specificity to the statement is great— detail is funny. Plus— it assures the audience that both players are on the same page (mind trick!).
- Protip: if you don’t know how to respond to something (or even if you do), have a strong emotional reaction. (a) Nothing is less interesting than blasé ambivalent characters, and (b) if the strong emotional reaction is out of proportion to the statement that incited it, voila, you have your #2 Weird Shit to Call Out.
Side note: One of my groupmates has noted when coaches don’t let us sit for the entire practice, it ups the energy level in the room, which I loooooove.