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by Darren Held

One of the reasons I like improv is that everything is S-P-E-L-L-E-D     O-U-T. Nothing is left up to interpretation or guesswork. Subtleties and innuendoes aren’t allowed. The facts are the facts, and the characters’ feelings about the facts are their feelings, and that’s that.

That’s not the case in real life. In real life, everything is up for interpretation. Reading between the lines is necessary, and attempting to suss out what people really mean takes up a fair portion of every day.

There’s something to be said for the honesty of improv. I don’t mean going around making confessions and telling every person you meet exactly what you think of them, good OR bad. But it would be nice in real life if we didn’t have to guess what was behind people’s behavior all the time. I think it would eliminate a lot of misunderstandings. For example, instead of this:

Girl says, “So what do you think of my new shoes?” while secretly thinking, “I never know what to buy and I’m terrified of looking like a dork.”

Girl’s friend says, “Um, they are an interesting shade of mauve,” while secretly thinking, “Even my grandma wouldn’t buy something so friggin’ hideous.”

we could try the improv equivalent:

Girl says, “I got these shoes, but I’m not good with fashion so I was hoping you’d help me out,” while not secretly thinking anything.

Girl’s friend says, “Those suck. Let’s go to the mall.”

Now we’re all on the same page, there’s no guessing or manipulating and we can skip across the park holding hands and have a picnic.

After buying the shoes, of course. Priorities, people.

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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