2nd Improv Class – Think on your Feet!

Another class and another step forward toward freedom of expression!

On my train ride into New York for class I was reading the Upright Citizens Brigade workbook on Improv (yes, there is a book!).  Really interesting.

They have a phrase, “play at the top of your intelligence.”  By that they mean “emotional” and “social” intelligence.  Another way of saying it is to “understand how a real human being would react in a given situation”.  It is about “allowing yourself to have a true, honest emotional response… in the moment”

In Meisner Technique, this was given to us in another way as part of the initial definition of acting that Bill Esper taught us; to “behave truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”

A truthful reaction to some given situation is where the humor or pathos lives.  In improve, “trying” to be funny” is like putting your finger on the tuning fork after it’s struck.  It kills the natural vibration, which in a human context is the empathetic, vibrational response the audience feels in identifying with what’s happening.  This is true in Improv, but also in acting and voice overs (even golf!  This is a fundamental truth!  Allowing the “moment” to happen [or the “swing” to happen in the case of golf], confident that it is “enough”– without feeling the need to “add” something, or manipulate something, is one of the foundational, transcendent truths of Art, and Life.

Man, that was deep!  :>)

But seriously, having the courage to “let go” in all things: acting, voices overs, singing, golf– pretty much everything, is at the core of living life as an expression of personal creativity.

That was deep too!

Maybe I should just try and remember my lines and not bump into the furniture!  :>)


IMPROV 101, “Let the Games Begin!”

Yesterday, I took my first class in Improv 101 at the Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC.  The teacher for the class is Alexandra Dickson.  I like her.  She’s funny.

The class runs over 8 Tuesday’s from 3:30-6:30pm.  Yesterday we were just getting our “sea legs,” learning the basics of “long form” improv and trying to remember each other’s names.

At the end of the day, I don’t know if Improv is “my thing,” but that’s really not the point.  I’m there to “get out of my head” and be more spontaneous.  That’s the beauty of Improv… “thinking” doesn’t help.  You just have to react, in the moment, and trust that whatever comes out is OK.  The more “truthful” you are, the better (and generally, the funnier!).

I know this will help me in acting, but also behind the mic doing voice overs.  It’s all the same, responding in the moment, truthfully and fully, with no self-judgement.

One funny thing that happened there is that one of the other students in the class is someone I went to school with at Mason Gross in 1985.  She looked at me when we walked in and said, “I know you!”  She was Debbie Durkes back then.  A lot of water has flowed over the dam in the last 32 years for both of us, but we’ve both come back around to our first love… acting.

More to come.