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by Darren Held

Oh. My. God. We laughed so hard in the Level 1 improv class last night that our sides ached, our cheeks ached and one lady said her eyes even hurt.

Last night was emotion/commitment night, which means it’s the first time we delve into the notion of having a HUGE, heightened emotion as well as total commitment to a character or emotion or whatever kind of label. And my peeps friggin’ brought it last night, which was super fun… AND a really important lesson for them.

We did an ordinary ol’ 3-person transaction scene in a store, then replayed the same scene with an emotion or a movie/TV genre suggested by the audience. The hilarity that ensued was caused ENTIRELY be the students committing to that emotion or style. There’s nothing inherently funny about the statement, “Boy, there sure are a lot of erotic novels in this bookstore” or “Do you take VISA?” or “We’re looking for Beatles albums” or “I love the smell of roses.” But when you say those lines and you’re SUPER sad or evil, or you’re in a murder-mystery or a western, those same lines become HILARIOUS. The spacework and stage picture change, but the lines stay the same and it’s proof that, if you are committed – really, really committed – the audience is completely on your side and they will reward you with eye-pain-inducing laughter.

And isn’t that what we all want?

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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