If you're a first time visitor to the iQuantum Blog, please refer to the "Foundations of Quantum Improv" to give you an appropriate background to the philosophies and strategies discussed here. #1 What is Quantum Improv #2 More Quantum Background #3 Newton's Second Law of Motion

If you've missed one or more entries in the series:
ReV Up Your Improv Scenes
you can now easily access each and every part.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Response to Comment on Revelation Revealed

In a comment on post: Revelation Revealed

Mark wrote:

So what should you do when your scene partner says something or makes an offer that introduces conflict too soon, without blocking or invalidating what they've said or done?

I have several thoughts, so I thought I'd just make the comment another post.

Mark - what you do is tell your partner, in fact, yell at them from the top of your lungs "STFU! Didn't you read Dave Russell's blog?"

Okay, don't then. My best advice is don't try to force anything. Be patient, be nice and still love your fellow improviser. Remember, these dynamics I'm talking about and introducing in this blog series are rampant among improvisers. You'll see it most among younger, less mature improvisers for the reasons you have illuminated - fear mostly. But you'll still see me doing it from time to time and I have a self-professed displeasure with such things. Plus, I've been improvising for 105 years, and it still happens.

Here are 4 useful tips to help you over this hump:

1. Forgive and forget. Just move on. You may or may not need to engage the complication. In fact, if you accept it and can find a way to move beyond it, without spending more time on it, it might work to your favor as something you've now seeded [through your partner's offer] and can dive into more when you're in Act 2. Don't get into it from your end. You don't need to engage in the impending argument. It takes two to fight.

2. Do your best to incorporate some of the other things I've suggested when it's your turn to play in. I've suggested improvisers offer stuff into the scene for the first 4-5 lines. If you are somehow able to do that it can mean there's still 4-5 things added to the stew pot, regardless of what your partner is adding or not adding. Keep in mind you can be offering "stuff" into the scene non-verbally as well. It's not just stuff you say. It's stuff you use, it's how you feel, how you walk, how you gesture - all in addition to how you speak. Many opportunities abound.

3. Talk about it afterwards. If you post your scenes or shows, it can be an opportunity to engage your scene partner in a dialog about this of which we speak. Ask what they think about possibly waiting for at least a minute before any fighting, arguing or quibbling commences. If they respond with the usual "I was creating conflict," ask what they think about the idea of postponing the moment of direct confrontation for a bit. Perhaps they have not been properly introduced to the thoughts we are discussing here. Why don't you suggest they visit the blog that you visited to get to your question as well. (just say "go to sak dot com slash quantum improv, no spaces"). The more improvisers talk about these possibilities, the more you and they will be in the realm of choice and opportunity.

4. Umm... Um... Okay, three useful tips. I'll chime in with more thoughts later as they come to me.


Mark said...

Thanks David! This was really useful advice.

I think how you respond to offers that introduce conflict also depends on the type of conflict, referring back to the classic categories you referred to. (man vs. man, man vs. environment, man vs. self) Conflict that pits the players together against something or someone else doesn't seem to be as problematic as when it immediately pits players against each other. When you and your partner are allied together, you can still unfold the characters in a natural way.

I wonder if you can divert an early introduction of conflict, and switch it from being conflict with each other to conflict that you're allied together against somehow.

David Russell said...

I absolutely think you can Mark. Also, a really fun dynamic is to work an argument or person to person confrontation while a larger conflict is under way. You'll see that a lot in movies when characters are bickering while in the middle of something of higher tension affecting them both. A great example of this is the scene in Pulp Fiction when John Travolta and Samuel Jackson are going to strong arm (and kill?) the guy and while they are doing that they are having a heated discussion about what they call a Whopper in France and bantering about spiritual truths.