We had a lot to say about the benefits of reacting to the last thing said, and really trying to “use the whole buffalo”.
In part our theory is simple; if you react to what is already going on (ideally the last thing that was said or done) then you won’t have to work to invent something to do next.
One thing we didn’t talk about on the recording is how this reminds me of a Jason Shotts lesson I heard of second hand.(**EDIT: My apologies for remembering this incorrectly. Corrections at the bottom)
Someone would say an opening line and then as a class they would ask 3 questions about that line:
– What was just said?
– What did they really mean? (subtext)
– What else can we infer from that line?
If improvisers really took the time to use each line (or offer to include information added through physicality) they might realize the abundance of information in each move…and perhaps slow down some to use more of what is already there.
I feel that in the classes I teach that this is the concept I end up covering more than any other.
Often times an offer will be made by someone, but will get no reaction at all from the group.
I had someone in a recent class say they felt like “nothing was going on” in a scene. I felt though, there were all kinds of things happening, and offers being made. I agreed however that no one was really reacting to and using the information in those offers. Digging in to them to do more of what was explicit, implicit, and inferred…it was just sort of unused offer after unused offer. A “denial of omission” as Bill Arnett might say.
Again, I agree with that student that even though there were things happening the group didn’t seem to make an attempt to get any of those things going. Which seemed to indicate that people were more in a mental space of “what’s next? What’s next?” instead of reacting to the last thing.
The conversation in this episode goes deeper and deeper into this metaphor of “eating the whole pizza”. Bon appétit.
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