Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There's nothing you won't do...

Many people with acting experience find themselves at odds in improv. Some things are a little different in improv than they are in scripted plays.

For instance, characters.

In scripted plays, a character (if it's written well) says and does things that always stay in character. An actor "gets" into character, and stays in his/her character. And, the play moves forward.

In improv, a character is not finalized the moment a scene starts. The other actors in the scene can affect your character. Example. If Joe comes on stage, and decides he's going to be playing an angry old man, but Sally makes a remark about the fact that Joe's 6 years old... well, Joe has to abandon his original idea, or else he's guilty of violating the fundamental rule of improv--agreement.

In improv, there is nothing your character won't do to move a scene forward. Lives are at stake. Not really. But, if you develop a reputation as a good character actor who doesn't adapt to make a scene work, chances are people won't recognize you as a good improviser (or someone they want to play with).

In college, I had a friend who would get into character (not on the improv stage, but in real life), and he'd keep up Dracula or a scary hunchback for 10 minutes or more. It was impressive. Impressively creepy. He'd eventually stop, and we wouldn't talk about what just happened.

Developing good characters is important, but agreeing with fellow actors, and advancing a scene trump that.

No comments: