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by Darren Held

It’s raining.

No, really. It’s definitely raining.

Sometimes improv students get confused by the concept of agreement. That whole “yes, and” thing can be complicated to understand, and students confuse themselves when they know they should have a normal big emotional reaction to something – but it seems like doing so would not be agreeing.

Naturally, you have to agree with what your partner has laid out in the scene. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it. If Andy, Co-Dependent tells me I am a lazy slut, my response can’t be, “No, I’m not.” That is a flat-out denial. But I can say, “I hate you for always pointing out my shortcomings!” or “You’re the meanest boss I’ve ever had” or “Yes, and I slept with your brother before you got here.”

In the improv sense, agreement could be better defined as acceptance. You accept the FACT of what your partner has said. It is absolutely true. But your character doesn’t have to agree to go along with their character’s behavior. If they’ve said they like to eat puppies for breakfast, you can certainly play it real and totally freak out about eating puppies. Hating what your scene partner has created is not the same thing as denying it.

So just like in improv, I have to accept the fact that it’s raining. But I sure as heck don’t have to like it.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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