The Revolving Door

published8 months ago
2 min read

March 2021

Hey there — welcome back!

You’ll notice I’m playing around with the look of the newsletter. What do you think? Hit reply and give me a thumbs up or down. I appreciate your feedback.

And while you’re at it, let me know of any improv topics you’d like me to write about. I’m happy to share my 25+ years of performing and teaching experience. (Wow, 25 years now? Geez.)

Anyway, enjoy. :)

Improv Links from around the Web

Yes, and … Clean Your Room
Want to build your physical improv skills? Practice with your kids!

From The Second City: How to Use Improv as a Business Tool
How improv improves business communication and teamwork

Subscriber Feature

The Revolving Door: Changing locations in mid-scene

A little visual flair can make a good scene great. In another excerpt from my book The Improv Illusionist, here’s an idea when moving into a new location when you’re in mid-scene…

When improvising, we tend to assume that the stage is one location. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay in that place. Suppose all the characters want to move into the next room. In this situation, someone usually plants a door in the middle of the stage. Everyone walks through, and we assume the location has changed.

It’s a convenient shortcut, but it breaks the visual reality. If the players have already been using the whole stage, the appearance of the new door is confusing. And you don’t want to give up a large part of the space just in case you need half the stage for another room.

A fancier way to do this is to place the door at the edge of the stage, and then turn in a tight circle as you enter the next room. It’s almost as if you’re going through a revolving door. You “emerge” into a new, blank space. Of course, everyone has to follow along with you for this effect to work. If any of the characters are remaining in the previous room, they’ll have to clear the stage.

You can make a game of this if you find ways to go back-and-forth between rooms, or keep moving forward into new ones. It’s also fun to remember the different layouts and return to objects in the various rooms as you come and go.

Book Update

After adding a big (and very important) chapter on Emotional Safety, I’ve finally “locked” my manuscript for The Improv Illusionist. Which is hard to do because I’m always coming across new ideas I want to add.

Seems weird to be thinking about a 2nd edition before I’ve even got the 1st!

I’m submitting to a few publishers, but the traditional process moves slowly. If I haven’t got a reply by the end of August, I’ll be self-publishing before the end of the year.

You might be able to get your hands on some free sample chapters. More on that soon…

Highlights from the Improv Illusionist website

Improv Exercises List
I’ve compiled my favourite exercises for learning environment skills, object work, and physicality. Let’s work to grow this list!

Improv Books — Reviews & Recommendations
A list of books I’ve read, with recommendations on who they’re best for.

Question(s) of the Month

Do you use any physical moves as part of your scene edits?

I know one improviser who uses an improvised broom to literally sweep people off the stage — especially if the scene is going poorly!

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.


Thanks for reading this far. Thanks for keeping on during these crazy times.

If you have any interesting news, please drop me a line or just reply to this email.

Next newsletter on April 29th — see you then.

Ex nihilo!

I respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time