Accept randomness

“Also ‘yes, and’ randomness. Expand your circle of expectation to contain weirdness.” — Tony Totino, 4th July 2015, Milan (IT)

Improvisers tend to set scenes in real life like environments. Yet, we should always be ready to leave reality behind us, keeping the Absurd circle in mind of course.

Keith Johnstone wrote a play in which the protagonist saves his sperm for later usage, looses one seed in the moat of his castle and chases it all the way into the ocean by when it has grown to the size of a whale battling his master.

Why aren’t we improvising things like this?

Absurd circle

“Even in an absurd world, there is a circle of probability.” — Roemer Lievaart, 16th November 2013, Amsterdam (NL)

Certainly, hyperrealism has become a trend at many improv companies. Sometimes players are afraid to enter into a more dreamy or absurd realm. This is probably because it makes them feel lost.

Many absurd scenes turn out to become overly absurd really quickly. It then seems like every single event needs to make us rethink how this world operates. That makes things very hard for your partners on scene and generally makes the audience tune out after a while too.

Remember that even in absurd worlds, there are laws which events abide to. It also reminds to a little warmup game where the players are asked to quickly form a family photo of aliens. If they all end up making completely different aliens, remind them that even in a different world that ours, members of the same family will most probably look more or less alike (i.e. will be of the same species).