“Concentrate on doing and being, not on meaning and conveying.” — Marko Mayerl, 16th July 2016, Hamburg (DE)
Internalise whatever it is you’re doing. Once you’re feeling an emotion or reaction strongly enough on the inside, it will automatically show on the outside. And it will be more truthful this way too; free bonus!
In fact, this is acting 101: don’t pretend you’re crying. Cry! Don’t ‘act’ you’re angry. Be really angry!
Many improvisers are afraid of this and on top of that most lack any formal training as actors or stage artists in general.
Just go for it and believe in yourself. We all know it’s not for real, no need to constantly remind us of that.
“The person you are is a thousand times more interesting than the actor you are trying to be” — Marko Mayerl, 1st May 2015, Würzburg (DE)
Of course we are pretending on stage. Ideally in a believable and truthful way. But what are we supposed to act out, when we don’t have a script?
Don’t start pretending in a pretendingy way. Don’t start inventing drama or copying things you saw in a movie or scripted theatre work.
Instead, look inside. That’s where the real stuff is happening. Grab that and play that.
“Play it, don’t say it!” — Nelleke Zitman, 22nd February 2014, Amsterdam (NL)
Act out your stories, don’t simply narrate them. When you’re angry, hit the table and start shouting, don’t say “Man, I’m so angry right now”.
It gets you into a positive feedback loop which makes you believe more in your character’s emotions, in turn resulting in more credible acting. This will also allow to enlarge emotions and corresponding actions, which is generally a good idea on a stage.