Our substitute practice coach gave us a metaphor this past week.
There is a lot of salt in the world. It’s a mineral. It’s in the earth, it’s in the water, it’s easy to come by, it’s cheap, and it’s necessary for life (to some extent).
There is not so much pepper in the world. It has to be grown from a plant, cultivated, watered, tended, harvested. It’s comparatively expensive and harder to come by.
When you’re cooking, usually you’ll use more salt than pepper.
They are both important for adding flavor, but the salt sort of functions as a base grounding for the flavors in the dish, while the pepper adds a little bit of kick.
You can think of improv scenes this way, too. The base reality, the grounding, the basic human nature and relationships of your scene— that’s the salt. That comes first. Unusual things, weird shit, crazyness— they’re the pepper. They work best for an additional punch of flavor after you’ve set up your base grounding of salt reality.
If you only use one or the other, the dish won’t taste right, but together, and in the correct proportions, you can make beautiful meals.
(All photos here are hyperlinked back to their Flickr pages and shared with Creative Commons licenses)