Opening lines: don’t make too much of them

photo by emily.laurel504
photo by emily.laurel504
In improv, it’s a common mistake to make too much of the surface details of scene’s first line or two. For instance, if your scene partner starts a scene by flipping a pancake and asking if you want fresh blueberries on yours, there is no need to make the whole scene about pancakes and the relative merit of blueberries on top. And yet, I see scenes like that all the time.

Instead listen to what’s behind the initiation. What is implied by the action? How are they behaving and what is their mood? These are the real clues to figure out what is going on.

Your scene partner is making you breakfast. Perhaps you have just spent the night together for the first time. Maybe it’s your anniversary. Maybe he did something wrong and he is trying to apologize or perhaps he’s buttering you up for a favor. Maybe it’s simply that he’s the person in your household that makes breakfast on Saturdays. That’s how you really yes and something, you go deeper.

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