Today in our mini – “Impro Bit” lesson – Commitment.
Wrong ideas will be wrong whether you whisper them or scream them. The benefit of comtting to what you send out is that you look like a professional. If you are wrong, you can laugh with the audience. If you are sucessful, you just look great.
Good ideas, no matter how great they are, won’t appease an audience if you don’t commit to them. Weak ideas presented appologetically can be painful for everyone.
I’m in Trondheim, Norway and just saw a show in a sold out venue. The level of performing in the five performers was varied. One person was on stage for the first time, one had performed sporatically over the past year and the other three have done international performances on top of their consistent show schedule for 5 or more years.
There were times I thought an audience member was on stage in a nervous panic only to realize I was watching the newest performer.
She had warmth and vulnerability but she rarely presented her own ideas. She waited for the senior performers to suggest what to do next. When she did speak, she almost whispered.
It might be easy to blame her for lack of commitment but I felt that an equal amount of the blame rested with the senior performers. Where their strength came from a commitment to the scenes and the audience, they seemed to ignore their partners on stage.
Improvisation is a team sport… You should never be alone. Commitment is easy when you know that you can’t be wrong because your team is there. You can’t damage anything if they are attending to the offers.
Commitment comes in may forms.
– COMMIT TO THE SCENE – don’t jump out and talk about yourself or make jokes. The scene is more fragile than your ego and in weak groups the scene rarely has anyone looking out for it.
– COMMIT TO THE AUDIENCE – If you’ve ever done a show where you have laughed more than the audience or thought the show was better than what the audience experienced, you probably have performed more for your self than the public that have paid their hard earned money to come see you.
– COMMIT TO YOUR PARTNER – Be WITH them. See them. Know what they are feeling. Push them off the edge when they are resting on safe ground and catch them when they are in trouble.
Be with your partner, the audience, the scene and yourself. That’s a lot to commit to.