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by Darren Held

I was thinking that perhaps you might get tired of only reading my improv ramblings and would perhaps enjoy reading the ramblings of some of my improvy cohorts. They’re pretty funny, you know.

My homegirl Kendra Nicholson joined the Held2gether troupe at the end of last year. She has tons of theatre, wife, mother and smartass experience, and now she’s added improv to her list of things she’s awesome at. Here are some ramblings from Kendra… please enjoy!

Kendra’s Biggest Improv Fear

Improv is fun, but it can also be pretty freaking scary. My biggest improv fear, (but not my ONLY improv fear by any stretch of the imagination) is that I’ll be standing there and my scene partner will say something clever, then look at me expectantly, and I… will… just…

Blink… Blink…

Improv fears are like being afraid you'll forget to wear pants.

Pants? Who needs pants?

It’s the same reaction my son gives me when I ask him why he’s not wearing any pants. Sometimes you just don’t know what to say.

Fortunately, when you have those moments in a scene, there is something you can do to buy yourself a little time, or even give yourself or your scene partner some inspiration. Just react physically. You can show your scene partner and an audience so much through your facial expressions and your body language. Use your physicality to add information to the scene, and the words will come.

It’s not really very socially acceptable to have a strong emotional reaction when we are dealing with everyday situations. If you go to Starbucks, and the barista says, “I’m sorry. We’re out of that delicious caramely stuff in the squirty bottle,” it’s inappropriate to put your hands on your head and weep like a motherless child. But in an improv scene? It’s pretty awesome. You just gave your scene partner a very important piece of information, and the ability to give you a label and make the scene personal.

It’s also kind of cathartic. We walk around all day keeping our emotions in check, and it’s freeing to be able to let them out in a scene.

Or you could just walk around without your pants. That seems to work for some people too.

~By Kendra Nicholson

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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