Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Too Verbal? Here's an Exercise and a Fun Game

Question: What do 99% of blind people have in common, other than the fact that they can't see?
Answer: Most have developed better senses of healing and touch (maybe even smell).

For the rest of us, we're incredibly visual creatures. And, this affects our improvising. The pros are obvious--mostly that looking at stuff is neat, and visual people are good at being "fun to look at."

BUT, the major con is that visual people also are prone to something I call, "verbal diarrhea." This is characterized by the following (draw your own parallels to actual diarrhea):
  • talking too fast
  • talking too much
  • not processing what he hears
  • not processing what he says
  • pooping out words like it's from the McDonald's dollar menu
It's true, improvisers can sometimes perform at such lightening fast speeds that neither they nor the audience knows what's really going on. And, seeing that the audience usually pays money, they're the ones who get the proverbial shaft.

So, if you are a verbal-person, chances are this affliction might affect you. It's not completely a bad thing--it means you're good at language and words and stuff like that. You probably:
  • got good grades in english
  • noticed I didn't capitalize English in the first bullet point
  • often have people ask you to repeat what you just said (because you tend to speak fast)
Here's an exercise that can help, and it's really simple.

Do a 2-person scene where both participants wear blind folds. Make sure there's 2 spotters so the blind actors don't get hurt (I've found they're usually they're not as adept as actual blind people).
As an added bonus, as the scene progresses, other teammates may start to gently mess with the blind people--putting things in their hands that they must justify, tickling them, throwing beachballs at their faces, etc.
This exercise forces verbal people to slow down because it puts all the focus on HOW THINGS SOUND, something we often ignore in improv scenes either because we're too busy thinking of what to say next, moving around, or simply frightened of the empty space.

1 comment:

caminoforastero said...

Awesome blog! Thank you so much! One typo" healing vs hearing. Unless you did mean healing.