Friday, November 4, 2011

How do you practice for Improv anyway???

Robby and Nick practicing a 2 person musical duet this Thursday!
Hey guys,

So a lot of times, we improvisors get the question: How do you practice for improv? Isn't it supposed to be made up? Well... yes it is my friend. 
Basically, in improv practice we learn how to use the strategies and "rules" (I put that in quotes because there are very flexible rules in improv) that the greats like Del Close and Charna Helpern have left for us to learn. 
In DeBono right now, we are concentrating on our musical. This entails having an understanding of long form improv as well as our form. Little do some audiences know, improv forms have various structures that give us a goal or purpose for our performance. 
For example: the short form game "party quirks" as seen on Who's Line is it Anyway. The goal of that game is for the party host to guess who or what his/her guests are improvising as. The party guests understand that they need to use there suggestion and improvise in a way that allows the host to understand their character. This way, improv isn't just a never ending string of random silliness! 
In long form, we have more long term goals like the characters all need to know each other by the end of the piece or the narrative needs a beginning, middle, and end. 
Our musical is a narrative long form. We want to perform a completely made up story for our audience that has clear closure. This is what we practice! We need to learn to think in the long term as well as in the moment. Like, oh what can I say right now that will set up another scene, scenario, character entrance, song, etcetera??? 
We need to learn to work cooperatively with our scene partners, which eventually leads to a "group mind." We want to be comfortable with stepping into a scene with each and every team member. 
We practice how to best start and end scenes so we get the most amount of awesome, hilarious, and valuable information out there and cut it off before it gets long and awkward! We also like to work on different characters to play which includes practicing voices, body language, posture, etcetera.

Rest assured, my friends, what you see on stage at various improv performances has never been done or seen before. It's the same in practice. We never have the same practice twice, which keeps it interesting and endlessly fun. Of course, the main goal of improv practice is to get better for you: the audience! We love doing what we do, and we want nothing more than to do it all the time while getting better at it! (plus- who doesn't love an excuse to hang out with all of your favorite people at the same time?!?!)
Anway, I hope that makes sense and alleviates some of your curiosity! 
Come see the results of our practices on Monday nights at the Illini Union Courtyard Cafe at 8 PM!

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