The next encounter in our series of seminars will delve into the world of improvisation. That involves imagination, logic and a spirit of adventure. What do you think these men are arguning about?
In real life perhaps we feel improvisation is a nasty activity. In theatre it is investigation, discovery, dressing characters and situations in order to gather information that will help us in acting out the scene or the play. There are actions. What are the character's motivations? What do I want to achieve? How can I go about it?
There is a dialectical relationship among the improvisers. The action actually started before the improvisation and will develop and seek a definition, a resolution. In the process an enormous number of possibilities appear.
Sometimes the improvisers arrive at a dead end street. In that case one of them has to make a proposal: die, laugh, leave the scene. That brings up the idea of adaptation. Improvisers must always be alert and able to adapt to new circumstances.
What should never happen is for the improvisers to give up. They must continue no matter what. It is that push that allows them to find creative responses.
Likewise, it is important for improvisers to use not only their voices but their whole bodies. Each character moves in a particular way and reacts to others on the basis of who he or she is.
If you improvise on the basis of a known character, it is important to read the lines to discover the mood or the feeling of the character, his motivations, what he or she seeks. And material--pictures, movies, sculptures, essays, etc--provide a wealth of information.
But the improvisers must also take into consideration his or her potential spectators: what he or she does is for them!
Improvisation is an essential and necessarily previous tool to the staging of the play. It gives the director vital information on how to organize movements and characterizations. It also gives vital information to the actor, allowing him or her to "get into the skin" of the characters. It also give incredible sociological and psychological data concerning the lives of the characters represented in the improvisation.