Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Laughing Matter

How a Comedic Improvisor Learns to Find Emotions

I am what you call a beard improvisor. (I am not sure if the beard is a Van Dyke or a goatee.) This type of improvisor is one who comes up with funny quips and comments. Even though I'm quick with the one-liner, I've found that the most powerful improv moments for me have come when I am not laughing. This is what I call the "Wow". I was in rehearsal and I was trying to slow down my mind to stop thinking too much. The director suggested that I recall a sad memory. I thought of my mom's funeral and it helped me to connect to the emotional truth in the scene. Later, I learned that this an acting technique called personalization. I watched this in action when a fellow improvisor created a moment when she lost something very dear to her. She imagined that it she her infant child had died. This scene was so good and so real that at the end of it, I was ready to cry.

So, when you visit our studio get ready to laugh your head off, but also be ready for that "wow" moment. A word of advice: bring a tissue, you just might need it.

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