My class with Mike Betette is pretty small to begin with but with the holiday week it was down to just two of us yesterday. Joining us was a substitute teacher, Scot Robinson, and two improvers who aren’t usually in our class. We just kind of chatted and did some light drills that were, frankly, amazing!
In Steve Martin’s book Born Standing Up he talked about a time when he wrote down things that made him laugh at the time. With that in mind I started to take note myself and in improv I’m realizing that the specifics are often most interesting and Scot really impressed that upon us last night.
A unique drill we did involved starting from a movement that was completely foreign to us, as in we didn’t know what we were doing. When he said “go” from the sidelines one person blurted out something random and the other improver did the same in response. The statements and the movements had nothing to do with each other, so we had 4 things (2 statements and 2 movements) that had zero relation to each other. And the idea was to bring them together. It usually took about 4-6 lines before everything made sense.
I have realized that I’ll never know everything there is to know about improv. Nobody will. But I’m starting to come full circle and realize that it’s not really about what you know but what you share and how you find out the things that your character knows. Starting with black and white declarations and organically discovering the gray parts. Most importantly, it’s a fucking blast.
Our First Cage Match
Well, we didn’t win but it was a ton of fun and the other team was great! After we were done a few members from each team grabbed some food and talked about how awkward it is to make theater into a competition. Regardless, we’ll be back.