Douglas Adam’s said that the one of the reasons why the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was such a huge hit was because it had, Don’t Panic, writing in friendly letters on the front cover. He was of course referring to his fictional guide to space exploration. However, we can take a great deal from those two words, Don’t Panic.
Particularly when you are first starting out in improv but also after you have been performing for years, we sometimes have a tendency to panic on stage… this happens even more when you are in front of an audience. This, panic, is cause by several things… unconnected scene work, lackluster audience response, denial on stage. Whatever the cause may be it is important that you not panic.
Here a couple of things to do when you feel a panic come along in an improv scene:
- remember to listen – one of the most fundemental principles in improv and often the first to go out the door when you start to panic.
- relationships – probably the reason you are starting to panic is because you scene have no relationship. nothing to connect with the audience.
- forget the audience – okay, so don’t for get the audience all together, but start playing for yourself, put the fun back in improv.
- be patient – the opposite of panic is patient. Trust the scene and the players you are working with. Trust the art of improv and remember the fundamentals.