Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1 Improvisation. Objectives To develop the basic acting skills of interpretation, voice, movement, and timing through improvisation To create."— Presentation transcript:
Chapter 1 Improvisation
Objectives To develop the basic acting skills of interpretation, voice, movement, and timing through improvisation To create freshness and the “illusion of the first time” in acting situations through practice with the unpredictability inherent in improvisation To function successfully as part of an acting team To develop a number of successful improvisational techniques for establishing character, such as visualizing, working out stage settings in advance, and using actions to suggest entrances and props
About Improvisation Improvisation is one of the foundations of interpretation. –The beginning performer, however, often wants to experience the actual emotion rather than to portray it. A person may only go so far and still be acting. Beyond that point, the actor is rather than is pretending to be. Improvisation focuses your attention on natural actions and reactions and should force you to concentrate on immediate responses. –Acting is reacting. All action should be motivated by what you already know about the characters and situation and by what is brought forth as you improvise. Improvisation also teaches the importance of interrelationships of the characters and how essential it is that an actor be a member of a team.
Character-Centered and Situation- Centered Approaches Two basic approaches to telling a story –Character-centered Focuses on a character or a group of characters who experience different situations one after another –Ex: Man of La Mancha –Situation-centered Takes a single situation and places a number of characters in the situation to demonstrate how different personalities will respond to the same event. –Ex: Arsenic and Old Lace or sitcoms (“situation comedies”) Improvisation is usually situation-centered.
The Motivated Sequence Skilled actors mirror people’s natural responses to internal and external stimuli –Steps of the Motivated Sequence You experience the stimulus. You respond instinctively to the stimulus. The idea “connects.” Your brain registers the stimulus. If the stimulus is the kind that causes a reflex action, you might jerk back your head or you might make a sound. Your eyes look in that direction. Then your body reacts; your chest moves in the direction of the stimulus. You react vocally and/or physically with your main response. –This whole sequence may be completed in less than a second, but all of the steps must be present if the reaction is to be believable. –Example: early morning on a school day. You are asleep in your bed. The alarm goes off (stimulus). You awaken (primary response); your brain tells you that the alarm is going off (idea connection). You think “It’s Tuesday – school day.” (idea connection). You glare at the clock (secondary response). “Yes, it’s really 6:00 a.m.” (idea connection). You reach out and shut off the alarm (main response). Remember: Acting is REACTING!
Establishing a Character It is very demanding for inexperienced actors to build a character, work out a situation, formulate actions, and create effective dialogue all at the same time. If you establish a character beforehand, the words and the action will come much more easily. Questions to Ask About Your Character 1.Who am I? 2.What kind of person am I? 3.How am I different from the other characters? 4.What are the fewest things I can do to convey the most information about my character? 5.What does my character want?
Establishing a Character In your characterization, do not yield to the common impulse to “play the character down.” –Shallow characterizations are weak characterizations. Luigi Pirandello said that a person plays a “game of masks” in life, putting on a different mask for each person or occasion faced. –Seldom does a person want anyone to see what is really behind the mask. The convincing actor lets the audience see the various masks of a character and also what is behind the masks, even if only for brief moments. When these glimpses into the character are carefully worked out, the audience sees a well-rounded, thoroughly developed character. Exercise 1
The Rules of Improvisation 1. Yes If you do not agree with your partner, the scene turns into backpedaling and trying to find another direction to go inIf you do not agree with your partner, the scene turns into backpedaling and trying to find another direction to go in 2. And Don’t just agree, add to the improvisation. If you don’t, your partner will have to pick up your slack.Don’t just agree, add to the improvisation. If you don’t, your partner will have to pick up your slack. Sub-rules Sub-rules No matter how wacky things get, try to create some kind of reality within your improvisation.No matter how wacky things get, try to create some kind of reality within your improvisation. Take your time. Don’t rush through your moments. Create each one fully.Take your time. Don’t rush through your moments. Create each one fully. Stay in character!!! Breaking character, making personal comments or private jokes, or denying the reality presented by your partners will hurt the improv.Stay in character!!! Breaking character, making personal comments or private jokes, or denying the reality presented by your partners will hurt the improv. Remember that acting is REACTING!!!Remember that acting is REACTING!!!