In Monday’s Improv 201 class, I had what is likely my best improv performance to date.
The scene setup was a “silent scene”. Jen, our teacher gave us instructions and provided the location. Which was a golf pro-shop. With a silent scene, each performer focuses on “space work” (pantomiming and interacting with physical objects within a space).
Each performer would enter, one at a time, interact with an object they create, and leave the space. Each successive performer would interact with an established object, and “build” one of their own. Repeat until all performers have a go.
It turns out that I entered last, and had to build off a robbery executed by Sarah, a Stranger than Fiction cast member who’s sitting in on our class. She’s absolutely fearless. Then Matt, my former partner from the 101 course, came in and did the detective work. He nailed taking the fingerprints and putting up the police tape over one of the doorways.
I was last in the rotation, just by chance. I chose the role of Shop Owner. I figured that the audience hadn’t seen the results of the previous actors actions. Since most of the objects weren’t the space anymore (Sara stole them). I couldn’t really interact with them. But I knew where everything was, as the shop owner.
So I entered frantically through one of the doors that Matt didn’t put police tape on (again, that was a very nice touch by him) and ran around checking to see if anything was left.
I remembered the cash register and found it empty, as well. I shrank in dejection, walked out and slammed the door.
This was my best performance in improv yet. I think I like this acting thing.
I’m still seeing the parallels to animation and improv. In both mediums one has to exaggerate so that the audience can read the action clearly. Evan, one of my 201 classmates gave some really great examples of this in our class discussions, and it shows in his performances. He always seems to be clearly in character and so effortless.
It’s one of those funny things, on stage you need to push too far, but in the audience it seems totally natural.