All I can figure is that at one point someone separated “real” acting from improvisation, and decided “the twain shall never meet”. You can see inverse examples as well – improvisors on stage barfing trivia for the audience instead of being honest with their partner.
Improv has grounded me during auditions, on set, in the waiting room, on stage, and of course, in life. It has been my anchor from the very beginning. I believe in the undeniable magic of the group mind and the law of unlimited possibilities.
We improvisors are always told how “brave” we are. Yeah, in the beginning maybe, but then “jumping off the cliff” becomes the norm.
The freedom to embody a character in an instant and just go with it is so fucking freeing!
Incorporating environment work, listening, physicality, POV, etc. is part of my process. Why doesn’t every actor use this?? Could it be that it’s human nature to dismiss what is easy? Is using improv in our craft “cheating”? Hardly. When we are able to marry the freedom of improv with the discipline of acting we create a union that is remarkable, we become unstoppable.
Thank you for reading. As Martin deMaat said, “You are pure potential.”
Doreen Calderon is a professional actor who lives in Los Angeles, but whose heart remains in the Chicago improv scene. She is also the owner of TheRecognizedActor.com where she works with committed, driven actors who know they should be doing their marketing but aren’t.
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