Over the past three days we have been exploring the rules and techniques of improvisation and its effectiveness to ourselves and other actors. We achieved this by following a rehearsal process, taking notes and using our knowledge from this to create a performance. Our rehearsal process consisted of several games to help us with our own techniques and understanding of improvisation. These games included the narrative game: coming up with a story involving a specific object on the spot and then reincorporating that story to include another person’s. This game then developed into this is not a … it’s a…. pretending this object is something totally different to what it really is and telling a story about it.
The effectiveness of these games were that I learnt to develop my imagination, that you can never get anything wrong with improvisation, any idea is fine it doesn’t have to be original because you can then use other peoples ideas to develop it into something better and more detailed. Another game we played involved acting out a specific job whilst the rest of the group tried to guess it, this game was effective because I learnt that detail is extremely important so that the audience and other performers know what you are doing because if you know what the other performer is doing you are more likely to trust them.
We then played the freeze frame game where someone takes the place of one person in an improvisation by shouting freeze and changing the routine. The effectiveness of this game was that I learnt not to block a fellow performer so that they don’t know what to say and start feeling uncomfortable which is an important rule of improvisation an example of blocking is one actor saying ‘Would you like to go to the pictures with me today?’ and the other replying ‘No’ because it means actor number one can not continue the conversation topic and may not be able to think of a reply making her feel uncomfortable.
I also learnt from this game that breaking the routine is very important in improvisation otherwise the audience may become bored, give and take is very important you should not make someone feel uncomfortable on stage and you should be able to trust each other because it makes it easier to perform. This game was also effective because it gave me the opportunity to see how fast I can think on the spot and test my imagination. Another game we used to achieve this was the ABC game where we had to improvise using each letter of the alphabet. These games were also effective because they also showed me you always need to know your location to give the performance justification.
I think my overall strengths of the rehearsal process were that once I was up and improvising in front of everyone I managed to find my confidence and perform well, I listened well taking down lots of useful notes and managed to use my imagination well especially in the narrative game. My weaknesses of the rehearsal process were definitely confidence, freezing people in the freeze frame game I think I should have said freeze and taken over more often, I also found it hard to think quickly. To improve my weaknesses I will try to forget about everything and just get up and do it (one of the rules of improvisation) and be more outspoken, I will try to remember that any idea is fine when having to think quickly.
The performance I did I think went really well, I think my idea was quite good of a little girl begging her mummy for a puppy. I went into the improvisation knowing my location was at home in the house, I think I managed to not block Sarah, I felt very confident once I was up doing the improvisation and did not feel uncomfortable whilst performing. I think the second improvisation I did, didn’t go as well as the first I didn’t feel as confident as I wasn’t in control of the routine. Although once again I did not block and I think I also managed to change the routine at the end by offering money for the t-shirt.
I think I performed quite well and spoke quite clearly throughout. I don’t think my turn in the ABC game went very well I didn’t choose a very good routine at the beginning of my turn and therefore my partner found it hard to continue with the improvisation and it was made harder to think of words beginning with each letter. My strengths in the performance were that I went in with a reasonable idea feeling very confident; I used most of the techniques from the rehearsal process such as not blocking my partner, making sure I knew my location in the improvisation, I also looked back in the past to get my idea for my first improvisation as I can remember when I was begging my mum for a puppy not so long ago.
I think my weakness in my performance was trust for my partner, I was more nervous and uncomfortable in my second improvisation because I didn’t have control in the routine, I think this is probably also down to confidence. I can improve this by working on trusting my fellow performers. Two of my fellow class members that stood out for me the most were Sarah and Will, I think they were very confident when performing and had very good ideas such as the drug routine in the ABC game which worked really well, they’ve helped me realise its better to get up and be confident and get on with it.
In conclusion, I think the rules and techniques of improvisation are extremely effective because they are essential for the improvisation to work well. I have enjoyed doing this unit of work and have learnt a lot of things I didn’t know about improvisation and about myself for example my confidence around new people I haven’t met before and how I can improve it by just getting on with things and doing it.