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Some Alternatives to Don'ts

Life often tells us what we shouldn't of course in improv we're also going to fall into that pattern of looking for rules to tell us the boundaries, especially when we're lost and don't know what to do.

"Don't ask questions" - "Don't deny your partner" - "Don't freeze"

But it's way easier to DO something than to NOT DO something so...let's re-write those rules as:

"Make statements" - "Support your partner" - "Find something to do"

Ideally all of those things are helping you FOLLOW THE FUN for you and your partner. So let's figure out what's fun for you in that moment.

Within make statements, here's three options:

  1. Make an observation about what's happening - "You seem tired" "This room is cold" "You're standing really far away from me"

  2. Reveal your emotional state. "I'm so angry!" "This cold room makes me sad" "I'm afraid of you"

  3. Repeat what was just said. "You're so angry!" "This cold room makes you sad" "You're afraid of me"


All of these options help ground you in the moment, enabling you to listen to your creativity and figure out what is fun for you in this particular scene. That fun thing, that's what you want to follow.

If it's easier for your to focus on your partner, try these!

  1. Say that what they just said is true. "That's right!" Bonus points if you add your own emotion: "Oh no, that's true." "Hell yes, that's right"

  2. Mirror them: make the same gesture, lean on the same leg, make the same kind of sounds.

  3. Justify their choice: "You just broke my favorite mug because I sold the car."

Wanna get moving? Great! Here's some things to get you started:

  1. Fidget, but really fidget.

  2. Grab an object from a shelf or out of your bag. You'll figure out what it is eventually.

  3. Take a look out of a window. Very few spaces don't have windows. Go to one, open the curtains, breathe on it and rub it with your sleeve to clean the glass.

All of those give your partner something to react to and then, when both of you are reacting to each other, you're in the moment again and you can get back to improvising.

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