By Darren Held

Improv: E=mc^2

Here’s what troupie Sean Fannon has to say about improv.


Whoa, really?! Is that math in an improv blog?! Yes it is, now quit asking me questions! This is an improv blog, you know better.

Energy = movement * commitment squared

Yes, I’m ripping off Einstein to help you remember an important aspect of any performing. Energy. No, not the fossil fuels you put in your car or the calories that go in your face hole, but the energy you bring to the stage.

When performing, your energy is comprised of your space work or movement multiplied by your commitment to said movement in your scene. I learned at an early age that my fundamentals in things like sports were not as good as my fellow teammates. So that meant I had to hussle to make up for it. (Math AND sports analogies now!)

Just like in sports, while I continue I work on the improv fundamentals, (labels, who, what, where, justifying etc.) I always try to bring big energy. I’ll be the first to admit that I use big energy to cover up my other shortcomings. But I’ve found energy and commitment are actually the easiest things to bring to a scene for me. And if you are fully committed and energized in a scene, the audience is more forgiving of mistakes. How many scenes have you watched where the “funny” came from the actors’ commitment and energy? My personal hero was Chris Farley. He took what Belushi did and amped it up further. How could you not laugh at Farley?! He was so committed to his big energy characters that even his scene mates couldn’t keep it together.

So jump into a scene and commit to your movement with high energy. You’ll never be disappointed and I promise the audience will award you with laughter. Even if they are just laughing at you jump around like a big dumb idiot.

Sonnjea’s disclaimer: don’t stop working on the fundamentals!!!

(Note: I didn’t even write my own disclaimer. Sean wrote that part too. He knows me so well… ~Sonnjea)