I’m better now. I’m psyching myself out and perhaps being a little too hard on myself.
Everything is fine. Nothing is wrong. Let’s talk about what we learned in class 3, shall we?
This week, we went more into having and keeping with an emotion. Now, it’s pretty easy to decide “my character is going to have a limp” or “my character is going to be from France and have an accent!” but deciding that, no matter what, your character is going to be happy/sad/embarrassed/paranoid/sneaky, etc, NO MATTER WHAT (saying it twice means it is important!), can be difficult at times. You want to start at a moderate level of that emotion, then ramp it up as the scene goes along. And if you choose to be happy (let us say, for example) and the scene just so happens to be that you’re at a funeral…stay happy.
We did an exercise where we were each given a opening line and had to create a scene while standing still and remaning emotionless. This was no easy task, as we are all taught to bring something to the table, no matter what.
The next step of the exercise was that we could now, using the same opening lines, use emotion but no movement. And this is where it can get a bit tricky, as, if you’re not paying close enough attention, you might take on the emotion of your scen partner, as I am wont to do. And did. Because I wasn’t careful.
The third step is to add an action, choose another emotion, all while beginning the scene with the same opening line. So you’re performing three different types of scenes playing on three different styles with one opening line. The trick with this one, of course, is to keep doing your action while speaking. Sometimes, people drop their actions while speaking, then pick them up again when their cene partner is speaking, as I am wont to do. And did. Because I wasn’t careful.
Regardless, it was a great exercise, and I hope to revisit it at some point, whether it is in class or with a team at some point. It promotes the one kind of thinking I feel it’s ok to do in improv: thinking as your character. WWMCD (what would my character do)?
Our next challenge was to play scenes with emotions, states of mind, and situations given to us by our instructor. For example: my scene partner and I just won the lottery, but we were incredibly sad which would later flow into an ebb of depression or just fucking losing it in sadness. I really liked our scene. Please explain to me why I enjoy playing people who are crying about stupid shit*. The two people after us played a scene as happy as possible knowing that their child was kidnapped. It’s a hilarious mindfuck because on one hand, it’s irrationally hilarious and on the other hand, it’s so fucked up that you feel bad to laugh, but the absurdity of it is what wins you over. There were good times had by all. This is another exercise I would love to revisit.
The last thing we did was portray characteristics of certain animals chosen for us by our instructor. This was a bit trickier, as I didn’t quite brainstorm enough. Also I was so fucking tired. I really think Saturday classes would be worlds better for me. Doing improv straight after work is counter-productive, I’m learning. Anyhow, I was given gorilla, and I crapped allll over that. It was great**! After that, we got to take someone else’s animal offering and play the shit out of it. I was a kitty! That was kinda better. And, to round out the animal-characteristics exercise, we were to pick our own animal and not let anyone know what it was, and then have the instructor guess. I chose a dolphin, which…going into it I knew I should have chosen something else, but I couldn’t think fast enough…maybe I should have waited a few more minutes. Either way, lesson learned. don’t be a fucking dolphin unless you map that out real quick.
All in all, it wasn’t the worst ever, but I got myself into a bad state of mind which negated doing anything well for the rest of the night. I then came home and crazied all over this blog. While I’m slightly embarrassed for being such a pity-party whore, that was just how I was feeling, and I’m gonna own that shit. I screwed up. And I’m better than that***.
I’m looking forward to having a far superior 4th week class this Thursday. Maybe I should grab a Gin and Tonic before class just in case****.
*No don’t. It’s just fun is all.
**No. It really wasn’t.
***I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me
****booze solves EVERYTHING