Day four with Bill Arnett continued on our week of focusing on emotional play. After reviewing shows we had seen the night before and doing some cool samurai knife-throwing warmup games, we got into the real work.

Multi-Person Scenes

The primary focus of improv, as far as I can tell, is the two-person scene. It sets up a clear dynamic or balance with distinct points of view. It's simple. But it's not the only thing possible. We spent a lot of the morning working on three person scenes and four person scenes and learned the trick to making that work.

No, I won't beat around the bush and tease you with the answer. It's simple. No matter how many people are in the scene, try to have only two points of view represented! Four people is just a game of two-on-two ball. Three people is two-on-one. Rather than every player feeling the need to be super individual, they support their side's point of view. It was such a mental breakthrough for me to see this actually work out.

Good News Bad News

According to my notes, we spent some time doing "good news bad news" games, but honestly, this was two weeks ago, and I can't remember! Anyone from class remember, please put it in the comments :)

Other stuff from day four:

  • We played scenes with "soap opera style" in order to heighten the emotions further

  • Your offstage behavior is just as important as on-stage. We have to pay attention, take mental notes for callbacks and edit, edit, edit.

  • The most important thing you can do for yourself in a scene is to find and build a context. If the players don't know, neither will the audience. Who are you? Where are you? Why should I care?

  • Be flexible at the top of a scene so you can adjust to your partner's initiation and ideas

I know these aren't the best notes, but brothaman fell behind, ok? I want to see you try to wake up at 8am, go to class all day, have two hours after class to do email, return phone calls, finish taxes, blog and eat before spending three or four more hours of the day watching shows!