Author: Preston Smith
Once you have figured out the first principle of improv: listening, you can then move on to reacting to what you are listening too. AND like listening, there are many ways to react to what you are listening too… However, there is still an underlining tone when you are reacting to what is said, Agreement.
Agreement is the easiest way to do improv, I can put 2 people who have never done improv before and tell them to just agree or say, Yes and… (add information) and they can do a very functional improv scene. Agreement is what drives a scene forward but there is more then just saying “yes and…” you must also agree with the intent of the performer and/or character.
Similar to listening, there are 4 ways to agree in improv: physicality, emotion, need and intent.
1. Physicality – Agreeing to another players physicality is as simple as supporting the other performers physicality by, match mirroring and duplicating, and as hard as interpreting the emotion that is behind a performers physicality, and agreeing or supporting it.
2. Emotion – Agreeing with emotion starts with listening and understanding want emotion is there… once you know what emotion your scene partner is portraying, you can then agree with it by giving your scene partner what they need to drive their emotion.
3. Need – Agree with the underlying need of your scene partner’s character AND the underlying need of the scene. Finding your partners need again comes down to hyper-listening.
4. Intent – Agreeing with the intent of your scene partner can often require you to disagree with the character of your scene partner. Once you understand your scene partners intent you can then add the information that is needed to support… even if that is saying no, or doing the opposite of what is implied in the scene.