Today at practice we did all of those things that we should have done in our show on Wednesday but didn’t. The key skills we worked on were “listening” and “being affected.” One great exercise for building these skills is to do two-person “conversation” scenes, and have each person in the scene repeat what was just said to them, prefaced by “So what you’re saying is…” Then add to it, being affected by what was just said. For example:
A: I’m thinking of studying first aid.
B: So what you’re saying is you’re thinking of studying first aid. That’s good, because my finger’s bleeding.
A: So what you’re saying is that’s good because your finger’s bleeding. I can’t help you now, man. I’m untrained!
B: So what you’re saying is that you can’t help me now because you’re untrained. I can’t believe I’m going to bleed to death because you’re untrained!
And so forth… 🙂 The next step is to take out the “So what you’re saying is…” part and just do the scene, listening very carefully to what is said, and being affected by it. Anyway, the exercises slowed us down and made us get back to the basics of good scenework. It was kind of refreshing. By the end, Colette and I had done another scene that could be written into a sketch. Fun stuff. Also, we’re slowly evolving a style that will make us recognizable as a group. Aside from a slow and relaxed style of relationship-based improv, we think we can add dissolve edits, silently adding to the environment, as well as freezing the scene and actively adding to the environment as hallmarks of our style.