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by Darren Held

By Sonnjea Blackwell

I was talking with Lisa yesterday (and by “talking” I mean “texting,” which is how people “talk” in the 21st century) about a scene we did at Wait Till Your Father Gets Home that didn’t work. We knew why it didn’t work… we probably even knew at the time why it wasn’t working. But sometimes knowing what’s wrong and knowing how to fix it in the moment don’t exactly go hand in hand.

All three of us in the scene were waiting for one of the others to take the lead, because all three of us got confused by a suggestion and went right into our heads, wondering, “Are we men? Are we gay? Is this Shakespeare? Is it almost time to drink? Where did I leave Koji’s leash, anyway?” Or, you know, some of us may have been thinking some of those things.

Now, if you don’t know what’s going on, it’s perfectly fine – preferred, in fact – to take your time at the top of the scene to connect with your scene partners and just figure out what page you’re all on. We learn that in Held2gether Intro to Improv class. The thing is, though, (and Darren will be so proud that I’m finally understanding this), YOU probably won’t have the answer… because you are most likely not a gay Shakespearean man. So even though you don’t know what the heck’s going on, you make an instant choice and take on a character and DO something as that character while you’re making eye contact with your partners.

Then magic things happen, and your character knows what’s going on and what to do. I won’t have to spew information as Sonnjea because Romeo will get angry or happy or sad while pulling petals off a flower, or chopping wood, or throwing beer at Ralph.

We forgot that part. Eh, it happens. The whole character thing is tough for us regular non-actor-y improvisor folks. That’s why it’s so awesome that there are H2G classes and shows happening all the time, so we can keep practicing being gay Shakespearean men until we get it right. Come out and play with us! New classes are starting in a couple weeks!

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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