|The Tao of Improv - Page 6|
Ann lets out a gasp. "Did you say ketchup?" She's hamming it up. "Oh, God!"
"That's okay. If you don't like ketchup, I also have a mustard and relish sandwich," I say, straight-faced.
Ann lets out a yelp as Brad moves in to help calm her down. I struggle to keep from laughing.
Rule No. 2: Act and react. Everyone on stage should be always working to contribute to the scene. If Yes . . . and is about attitude and acceptance, this rule is about taking responsibility and confronting fear. You do this by being courageous and following your instincts. Put something out there and trust that your fellow actors will follow your lead. Take the risk. Don't hold back, but make bold choices. Don't talk about taking action; don't wait for the "right" moment. Act now and see what happens. Pick up the block, stand on a chair, and then justify why you're doing that.
The opposite of all this—caution, hesitation, not pulling your weight—is what creates scene death. Instead of acting and adding to a scene, you malinger, pretending to smoke a cigarette while waiting to see what your teammates do, adding little to the content and energy. The worst form of this irresponsibility is known as "pimping" your partner. It means that rather than stepping up to the plate, making a clear choice, and being assertive, you waffle, wimp out, and manipulate your partner into shouldering all the responsibility for moving the scene forward.