Dress for success

The Upright Citizens Brigade believes that new, unproven ensembles should dress in a manner comparable to “business casual.” This will lend an air of professionalism to your show.

In a practical sense, it is important that you always dress so that you are ready to perform. If you are wearing a pair of pants that you’re afraid of getting dirty onstage… [or] wearing a miniskirt that is liable to show off more than you want in certain positions, you may be unwilling to make physical choices that would best serve your scenes. Since you are going to want to be free of restraint, dress to be active. Dress to play. [UCB Manual, pp. 380-381]


To me, “business casual” and “dress to be active” are mutually exclusive. That’s why workout clothes don’t in any way resemble work clothes. I always err on the side of “dress to be active” (and as such, I dress like a slob for my office job, too).

Blazers constrict your arms, button-front shirts can gape, fancy shoes deter you from jumping and editing, ladylike blouses are prone to every kind of reveal, long sleeves in general are too hot for the stage. And so I always come back to a men’s t-shirt, loose jeans, and running shoes. I look like a 14-year-old boy. But at least I can move.

July Magnet Mixer (I'm the lady in the t-shirt)

Is there an upscale designer business casual t-shirt out there I should look into, one that doesn’t have a tuxedo printed on it? What do you wear to perform?

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper - Macroscopic Solutions

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).

Mounds of salt in Lac Retba, Senegal - herr_hartmann



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.

Peppercorn rows, Phu Quoc - Katie Yaeger Rotramel


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.

Salt & pepper pork chops - hermitsmoores


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.

Salt and pepper - Charles Haynes


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.

Salt and pepper, beautiful together! - Jeannine St. Amand

Salt and pepper, beautiful together!

(All photos here are hyperlinked back to their Flickr pages and shared with Creative Commons licenses)

An improv/ video game metaphor with animated gifs

I have feels so I made pics to splain:


When I do good scenes, it’s like

Sometimes my improv is ok


When I do bad scenes, it’s like

Sometimes my improv is :(


When I do enough bad scenes in a row, I don’t die, but my health is so compromised that it is impossible score a win. I can’t focus. Bright side: at least the hits level off.

Bad night


I need to figure out how to mentally suck it up and bounce back faster. When I’ve been hit, of course I can strut out there and play another scene, but the scene will be lousy. My brain is busy screaming “YOU’RE TERRIBLE AT THIS,” and it’s tough to shut it up and make it do improv. And each additional bad scene just kills me a little more.



Practice group hurt my fragile ego this week. Our substitute coach overslept, so we coached ourselves, which meant our problematic scenes received a group critique. They were good analyses, because we have good people, but (a) my starting Health was only ~75% (exhausting day), and (b) after a few bad scenes I couldn’t perform anything BUT problematic scenes, which had the added pressure of “if I go out there, I’m feeding myself to the wolves, I WILL be picked apart, I don’t want to be picked apart.”

So what did I do? I clung to the wall, counted down the minutes left until practice was over, and did no scenes for the next hour.

This was obviously the wrong course of action.

You’re supposed to jump right back in, right? Get over yourself and try, try again?

But if you CAN’T win, if there is no possible way for you to win at that moment… why?

How do people do this? How do you bounce back mentally, in the moment, without needing to pull back and heal for a couple days?



Sprites from

Mega Man characters ripped by Tomi, © Capcom

Magic Sword background ripped by jin315, © Capcom