Level 2 with Susan Messing, 28 August

Every answer is in front of you. Look, see, listen, hear, feel. Do not think. Feel, react.

Today, we started with a mirroring exercise, where we tried to copy our partner, neither leading, at 100%. This was very tricky as either I was leading or my partner was, and when he was, as I wanted to make sure we were doing the exercise properly, I would let him and try to copy as accurately as possible, except that that was wrong too, argh! Susan got us to pay this hard, really push ourselves, I would imagine that this would merit more practice.

We then did an exercise where, with a partner as a single person, we played a scene with another pair, also acting as a single person. This was even trickier than the other, however we managed it. Thinking about it now, one idea might be to be feeling that you must contribute tenderly at 50% of the partnership – investing but listening at the same time – so that it might feel like leading whilst being guided.

Susan gave us a phrase, which she pitched at us with an emotion, a vocal tone and a physicality, for us to repeat. This was a nice way to get get both sides of the pair on the same page to start with and make life easier. She gave something different to the other pair (different words, emotion, etc) and then we did a scene all together, the 4 of us as a 2 person scene.

The key is for everyone to be in there at 100%. If someone pushes too hard, listen harder; if someone follows more, push harder. The key will always be listening.

Look at how your partner works and listen to him/ her hard, while still putting in in 100% effort – this is a 3 legged race, you are both needed at the same intensity.

If you are doing something, an action maybe, and don’t know why you are doing it, do it again – the reality of the scene is that you are doing it, so it mst be important. When you do it again, you will work out what it is and it becomes part of the game of the scene. Don’t drop your shit, the audience want the game.

The first time you do or say something, it is a joke; the next time, it is a game. It is the truth. Remember it, you can come back to this as often as you want, and the audience will love you for every time you do.

Be specific. Ambiguous is no use, specific says specific things. See what is right in front of you. That is what inspires you.

Play to the top of your intelligence.

Within these scene, mirror your “self” partner – listen to them, copy face, body, sounds. Initially, don’t speak, become together.
Go with the first promise, so look at what you are doing, remember it. Inprov is about saying yes, and saying yes means committing to the very first yes too.

Susan side coached with ” specific”, “faster”, “why?”, “more detail”, “tell us why you are doing x”, “faster”, “give a name”, “I (not we)”, “heighten”, “don’t just talk about it, do it”.

Don’t drop your shit – you are one game, your friend is one game, the world of your existence is one game. Go with what is in front of you, commit to it, don’t be a fickle floozie, don’t be looking for new, better shit, it’s not better.

Feel the physicality. How does it make you speak? Let it inform your character. Character protects you, it lets you know, it is safe.

In a scene, if someone says “do (x, y, or z)”, you might think youa re being a good scene partner for doing it, but you are always doing something already, and you are doing that for a reason. Don’t drop your shit, react emotionally to what is said and done, based in the reality of the scene.

The audience is always asking why. The audience wants to see the character.

State the obvious. The audience can already see it, they get off on the specificity.

Jump in 100% – not necessarily loud, just committed – committed to the reality, committed to having fun.

We don’t watch people talking, discussing or even arguing. We watch them doing.

A new warm up game I have thought of, variation on 8 things.
8 types – name an object, such as chair. Give 8 specific types of chair (i.e. sedan, throne, car seat, etc)
Good for specificity of objects, good to help see variety of the objects in front of us.

Using the phrase “for those of you that don’t know” helps those that don’t know, while also letting those that do feel superior.

We did some very specific monologues. Stay quite still if you want people to hear what you are saying or they will be concentrating more on your movements and the impact of the words will be lost. Hence why fidgeting is bad.

Hold your landing. Remember, we like knowing things about you.


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