Monday, March 24, 2014

Yes, And...


The first rule of theatrical improvisation is "Yes, and." Meaning, in order to keep the action moving forward, to progress the story or develop the plot and characters, you have to say yes to what you are given, and add to it. That means that if the other person decides in the first moments of the scene that they are a frog even though you have been asked to improvise, say, a scene in a doctors office, you have to accept the fact that in your new world, there are frogs in doctors offices. In dance, we call this "saying yes to your choices" and "keep dancing". Not as lyrical or succinct, but the idea is the same. No amount of pre-planning or rehearsal can completely prepare you for whatever will happen on stage, in that moment your only course of action is to keep moving forward, pressing into the piece and the other performers, not away. To stop, or roadblock is the only sure way to fail.

I think that the same rule is useful when applied to life, which is, after all, really just a grand improvisation. So today, say "Yes, and..." to the things you are given and push forward into the scenes you play.

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