TOOL: Choosing how to play the “scene”

When we think about a basic framework for how and why to apply the tenants of Improvisation to life off of the Improv stage, we can start by discussing the word “performance”.

Whether or not we are used to thinking of it this way…the truth is, we are all performing every moment of our lives.

If this seems daunting or strangely unsettling, you’re not alone.

Luckily, we can use the tools of Improvisation to create more conscious performance choices, (tailored for each stage or scene) to achieve more authentic, successful and meaningful interactions.

Learning and acquiring these skills allow each of us to build a toolkit of performance choices – that we can use to become more adaptable, flexible and aware in the moment.

Here are some basic tips that can help you when thinking about the performance choices we make all the time:

  1. Be present – practicing mindfulness, and the ability to read a room and pick up on non-verbal cues allows us to tailor our performances for the appropriate stage
  2. Remember the power of “status” – be aware that the choices we make in our behavior, our tone, or words, and our non-verbal communication can elicit powerful shifts in status dynamics between people.
  3. Make your performance partner look good – remember that we are often not alone on the stage. Being able to effectively communicate and collaborate with others has an obviously large effect on the overall performance of the team. Use active listening, a “yes,and” mindset and a give-and-take approach to allow space for others to achieve their performance goals.
  4. Know your objective – in each scene, we want to know what our characters objective is. Knowing our objective, “our want”, allows us to adjust and adapt our choices on stage depending on how close we are to achieving that goal.

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