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diaryland: entry for 2003-05-15 (13:53)
In which our plucky young hero loves this crazy stuff.

The lessons I'm learning at the Chicago Improv Festival this week are many and varied. Here's a few of them, or at least what I think the lessons might be.

1. You'll do fine.

2. Care about what your scene partner thinks. Whether you want the other people on stage to love you, envy you, fear you, hate you, give you money, or help you kill somebody, you must care about them and you must want to engage them emotionally. If you don't care, neither will the audience. "I don't give a damn what he thinks" nearly got my head ripped off and for good reason. If I take nothing else, not one damn thing else, out of the festival but that the point of being onstage is to care what my partner thinks, I will already be ten times better than I was.

3. Object work is what I do when I have no real ideas. I shouldn't resort to it. Why use mime to fiddle with a pool cue when there's a living, breathing fountain of great ideas right next to me on stage? Your mind and soul are what carry you. Your hands are there as backup.

4. Give gifts to your partner. Give your partner a chance to give gifts to you. It is not all you. It is not all them, either.

5. Be more real. Be less clever. Great character choices and poor scene choices will get you applause but the reverse will just make you look like a kook. And great character choices are grounded in real.

6. If you feel it, show it, goddamn. If your partner outrages you, give that outrage back! Go higher! As Jill put it, that's why we're watching improv instead of C-SPAN. Yes and and and.

7. Everyone knows everyone, and that's actually pretty comforting.

8. Silence has power. Don't give that power away.

9. The best laughs come when you're not trying to get any, but the bestest laughs come when you need them. If you need to close a scene, go jokey and pray to God someone comes in with the edit. If not, keep it real. People will laugh anyway.

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