on Monday nights I’ve been taking an improv class with one of the actors in our local improv troupe, the Have Nots. I must say it’s been really fun so far, and very difficult. We’ve been taught, so far, to begin with input, then to visualize what you see based on this input (as fast as you can). Then to focus your visualization and react upon that focus. Improv is a lot less about comedy than it is about scene-building, relationship building, and generally working together to further a scene from nothingness into something valuable.
last night I had a scene with one of the girls in our class. We were told to visualize “attic” and then create a scene based on that. The girl was told to use a member of her family as inspiration for her character. So when we started, she immediately started ordering me around, military-style. The scene, starting from nothing, turned into a relationship between a military father and his son. It was quite neat.
the class has become quite good at not trying to be funny. That is to say that it is easy to try to crack quick jokes during scenes, but what the really does is detract from the scene. The best sort of humor that comes from a scene involves successfully building relationships and significant meaning behind scenes.
perhaps I’ll write more on this later.