Thursday, October 28, 2010

Talk to People

If you are the director of an improv troupe, I would say it is crucially important to talk to people outside of practice.

Practice, workshops, rehearsal, whatever you call it is (mainly) a time for the troupe to grow together and grow closer as a team. It's a place to have everyone focus on one thing or one aspect or one style and try it out.

BUT each person should also be developing their own sense of timing, understanding, and humor on their own. This helps the group grow even faster and in different directions because one of the beautiful things about improv, as I said before in the Victory Lapse post, is that whenever you see someone do something, you know that you get to do it, too.

This is the main reason, you talk to the members of your troupe and start a dialogue about where their at, where they want to be, and what steps they can take to work on whatever they're working on. Sometimes people don't even realize what they're working on until you make them name it, and other times people don't realize they're not working on anything until they're asked.

These talks are also a great opportunity to get some information from the troupe about where they want to head, rather than just dictating to them from your own ideas.

When I was president of MTS my main questions to ask were:
  1. How do you feel about how you've been performing lately?
  2. What are you working on, or is there anything you'd like to work on?
    -If they need help give them some suggestions of challenges or books/articles to read
    -It may be difficult to approach some subjects at first, but it's important to give some critiques as well as positive notes during this time, things you've noticed that are good and things that are not so great. It's hard, especially for newer improvisers, to judge themselves without getting in their head on stage.
  3. In regards to either my directing or the troupe in general, what are some things you like that you want to see more of, or some things you dislike you'd like to see less of?
    -Obviously take these with a grain of salt and balance out differing opinions
  4. Anything else you want to talk about, maybe a thought that crossed your mind earlier?

These conversations (I think) decrease burn-out and make the troupe more organic than what one person (you) can think of. Which is the point of improv, anyway.

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