Be an Awesome Scene Partner

published10 months ago
2 min read

PLUS: The latest news from around the web.

In this issue:

  • Improv News: Interesting Links from around the Web
  • Feature: Be an Awesome Scene Partner (book excerpt)
  • Highlights from the Improv Illusionist website
  • Your Question(s) of the Month

Improv News: Interesting Links from around the Web

1. An interesting comparison of Status in Eastern/Western cultures. Note the description of physical characteristics of status. And remember that high status doesn’t necessarily mean you run the show!
Status in Western and Eastern Improv

2. Many people don’t realize Alan Alda is a Second City alum. For years he’s been using improv to teach scientists how to communicate better. Fascinating.
Alan Alda really wants to talk to you about science

3. The latest “COVID Sucks” news…
Eight Months After Shuttering Their NYC Venue, Upright Citizens Brigade Closes L.A.’s Sunset Theater

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Feature: Be an Awesome Scene Partner

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s that time when we reflect on the past and resolve to improve for the future. Every year, I think about my attitude toward improv. Am I taking too much charge in scenes? Or am I remembering to think about my partner(s) and how I can help them? Then I resolve to do more of the latter.

In another excerpt from my book The Improv Illusionist (currently seeking publication), here’s how being a better scene partner is just one of the benefits of a focus on object work…

You can get ideas from the environment even if you’re not the one doing the object work. One simple move from a great partner can open up a whole world of ideas for you.

I did a scene once where my partner and I were a couple chatting over a glass of wine. I hadn’t given much thought to where we were. If you’d stopped us and asked, I might have said we were at her apartment, or a generic restaurant. Then, to refill our glasses, she reached down and took the bottle out of a cooler at her feet. I immediately got the sense that we were outside in the park, which gave me an emotional response — I was worried we’d get caught by the cops for drinking in public. She countered by complaining I wasn’t adventurous enough. It developed into a fantastic relationship scene where we dared each other to do more and more outrageous things in a public place. (And the cops did end up catching us in the end.) All traced back to a quick little object move.

Improv is about making your scene partner look good. When you explore the environment, you’re giving them a sense of place that helps inform their choices. Physical skills add to the well-rounded skillset of an ideal improv partner.

(Stay tuned to future issues of this newsletter for updates on my book!)

Highlights from the Improv Illusionist website

  • Improv Books — Reviews & Recommendations: A list of books I’ve read, with recommendations on who they’re best for.
  • Podcast Reviews coming soon! Which are your favourites? Send me a note so I can check them out.

Your Question(s) of the Month
(because I never seem to ask only one)

Do you have any improv-related New Year’s Resolutions?
What do you want to work on this year to get better?

Hit Reply and share your opinion. I love to chat with readers, and it gives me ideas for future content to help the whole community.

See you next month!

Ex nihilo,

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