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Theatre I. Improvisation. Kandinsky, Wassily. Improvisation 31 . 1913, National Gallery of Art. Drama is the link. between thought and expression. Playwrights turn actions into words. Actors turn words into actions. When improvising, you must create both words and actions. Spontaneity.

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theatre i

Theatre I


Kandinsky, Wassily. Improvisation 31. 1913, National Gallery of Art

drama is the link
Drama is the link...

between thought and expression.

Playwrights turn actions into words.

Actors turn words into actions.

When improvising, you must create both words and actions


the freshness and naturalness of each performance

It is the goal of the actors and directors to create the “illusion of the first time.”

Each performance should feel like the first one.

Developing good improvisational skills helps develop fresh performances.

what is improvisation
What is Improvisation?

Improvisation is...

the impromptu portrayal of a character or a scene without rehearsal or preparation

You must convey:


physical traits





the challenge of good improv
The Challenge of Good Improv:

1. Physical and mental control

2. Adaptability

3. Acceptance of positive criticism

4. “directability”

5. Cooperation with others

Even though improvisation is spontaneous, it demands:

focus concentrate respond
Focus, Concentrate, Respond

Focus your attention on natural actions and natural reactions.

Concentrate on immediate responses.

Play the scene as it develops.

the motivated sequence
We experience a stimulus.The Motivated Sequence
  • The “idea connects,” and our brains registers the stimulus.
the motivated sequence8
The Motivated Sequence
  • The body responds:
  • Chest moves in direction of the stimulus
  • Eyes look in the direction
  • We may even make a reflex action- jerk back or make a sound
  • We react vocally and/or physically with our main response.
improv a trial run
Improv: A Trial Run

For many plays, improvisation serves as a trial run.

The playwright can see “how it plays” and make necessary changes in the script before opening.

two types of improvisation character and situation centered action
Two Types of Improvisation: Character and Situation-Centered Action

The character-centered approach places a character or group of characters in various situations.







Examples: CSI, Law & Order, and ER

character and situation centered action

The situation-centered approach takes a single situation or series of situations and places a number of characters into the situation.







Watching each character respond differently to the situation provides interest.

the challenge of improv
The Challenge of Improv

It is very difficult for new actors to build a character, work out a situation, carry on action, and create effective dialogue all at the same time and on the spur of the moment!

Therefore, you should establish a character or stock of characters that you can use for a variety of situations beforehand , and the words and action will come much easier.

establishing a character
Establishing A Character

You must consider:

Who am I?

What kind of person am I?

When does this action take place?

What is the mood of the scene?

How should the audience react to me?

How am I different from the other characters?

What are the fewest things I can do to convey the most?

What does my character want?