Willing, not wanting

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“The improv actor should always be willing, but never wanting.” — Flavien Reppert, 8th June 2016, Athens (GR)

Simple, yet profound. Always accept whatever is happening around you, and never force your ideas on your partners.

Obviously, almost the opposite counts for your improvised characters. They should have a clear objective and give at least some resistance to change, in order to become real and compelling.

The contradiction between actor and character is often huge. When somebody shouts “Please, don’t go!” at you on stage, the actor behind that character probably wants you to leave. And when you hear “I’m leaving you now.”, that actor might be signalling you to try and make the character stay.

Yet, as an improv actor: be willing, but not wanting.

Quickie

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“Enter the scene as if you’ll be there forever.” — Rod Ben Zeev, 13th September 2014, Utrecht (NL)

Never enter the stage with the idea to leave it immediately again. This is about actors entering a scene to deliver a single line, mostly aiming to throw in a quick joke as a waiter, messenger, or what have you.

Don’t do that, since it’s really just you on yourself having a little plan in your head. Moreover, always be prepared to be kept on stage by your partners, you don’t know what’s going to happen.