A lot of improv dialog tends to settle into a regular rhythm, a ping pong back and forth that we encourage in new students. I say something, you listen, pause briefly to consider what I have said and respond. Then I pause briefly to consider what you’ve said and respond to you. This is one way to build a scene, but if this rhythm continues throughout the scene, it can be deadly boring—one polite line of dialog after another with a short polite pause in between each one.
Instead, try something I call No Gap Dialog. Here is a good template to try:
- Two players enter and start a scene silently.
- The players can take some time in the beginning of the scene to take each other in without speaking, 5 to 10 seconds of silence up top is good.
- Then once one player speaks, both players must speak to each other without any pauses at all. They should almost be cutting each other off and finishing each other’s sentences.
- Have someone side coaching you. They should snap their fingers if you are pausing between lines. And they should try to keep you going without gaps for about 60-90 seconds.
Do a round of this and see how it feels. What do you notice? Continue reading “No Gap Dialog”