This is fun.
I’ve long held the belief that the difference between top performers/shows at any given theater aren’t that different from one another, no matter how much the philosophy differs.
A lot of times students of improv wanna battle over the “right” way to do it or what improv “should” be and that’s just a drag. So tiring. Who the fuck cares? If there IS a “right” way it “should” be done, then it’s a dead artform, incapable of growing into something new, and I reject that idea. Instead, there are preferences and approaches that differ, and, as a student, the more you can understand those differences, the more you’ll be able to figure out what YOUR preferred voice and style will be.
But that’s always the biggest thing: finding a fair way to do it, because it’s such a hurtful thing not to be on a team. Everybody’s feelings get hurt if you don’t make it, but then again not everybody’s ready for it. And there are some who you don’t know. You put them on a team and you might have your doubts about them, then all of the sudden they get a chance to play on a team for a while, they gel and all of the sudden they’re awesome. And who are you to say you know best. And there are some people who you give them a chance and they never grow anymore. Then you have to deal with the hurtful process of what should I do? Should I take them off? Now that I put them on? It’s kind of like ‘here’s you baby. Oh wait a second. It’s not your baby anymore. We’re giving it to someone else.’ That’s still the biggest nut to crack.
Well, we’re getting to put people on teams in a class setting, so you really get a chance to see them under fire, and really know how they’re doing before you make that decision. Because I think there’s such a gap between, someone’s in a class, you toss them on a team, then you don’t get to watch them very much. Then you come back a few months later and get to watch their group, and you’re like ‘oh my God. These guys are terrible.’
Hopefully, by the time they’ve done so many shows, you’ve had the chance to work with them and give them notes and things like that, when you put them on a team you’re going to feel confident that you’ve taught them the things that they should know, and that they can perform them at a reasonable level.
And the people that you don’t put on teams, hopefully the opposite. You know that you have given them a chance and they understand that they know that they’re there to learn, and you’ve given them feedback. It’s not an arbitrary decision. So hopefully that’s something they can accept easier than it just being like ‘alright, let’s have an audition I’ll see you for three minutes and hope that was a representative sample of what they can do.’ So the hope is by doing the team performance workshop at least everyone knows exactly what you’re supposed to be doing on stage, so it isn’t like ‘oh they haven’t taught it.’
Hoo boy, this is a good episode of Improv Nerd. Around 16 minutes in, host Jimmy Carrane asks guest Will Hines to define the UCB’s philosophy and go into the game of the scene. Then at 18 minutes, the two perform a game based scene followed by a discussion where Hines separates the base reality from the games going on inside the scene. They then re-do the scene, playing the game differently each time. Neat! Download the episode over at Feral Audio.
I think the stupidest thing you can do is feel like there is status about improv. It’s like made up, it’s all made up!
Karin Louise Hammerberg on UCB Long-Form Conversations
A lot of people take a single note, and say this is the solution and it’s not. [..] Because I spent a year getting that [particular note] hammered into my brain, it’s now just muscle memory. But it takes so long to get that muscle memory to work!
Dru Johnston on the latest UCB Long-Form Conversations podcast talking about actioning notes.