OK..Now we are ready to "Stop Thinking"....Yeh!
It's kinda like swimming in cool water on a hot day -some people like to
plunge in while others get there feet wet first- but after you are used
to "stopping thinking" it feels refreshing and exhilarating. Ready
for the plunge (or at least getting your feet wet)? Here goes...OK...I
have found that the easiest way for improvisers to "stop thinking" is to
-stop talking- . So now we will do "Object Work" - We will simply
manipulate objects without saying anything. But- First a little bit
about "Objects". OK? (you "plungers" will need to show a little patience
here). -There are only
3 types of objects that exist in the world of improv.
1) small- objects you can manipulate alone
2) medium- objects requiring a partner to manipulate
3) large- objects that you cannot move
For our purposes right now we will only concern ourselves with 1) Small objects
Exercise # 1
OBJECT WORK. Small Object- Everyone in the group begins by focusing on a small object - making it as real for them as possible.
Ok...by now someone has picked up
something (real) in the room or on their person....BUT in improvisation
we never use anything that is real......so your object can be anything
in the whole universe and beyond! - Yes...anything you can possibly
So now everyone gets up and starts "manipulating" their small object - making it as real as possible for themselves.....
What you are really doing now relates right back to exercise #2 - Point of Focus - "Object" - Right!
SO..."Stop thinking"....now....Make your small object as real as possible...for yourself..."Stop thinking".
The only thing that exists in the whole universe for you at this moment is your own little small object.
Now this next part should be done
in pairs. Ok?
So two "Volunteers" get up and do just what they were doing in the group....
Point of focus their own small objects....
Begin noticing other peoples objects - and stop thinking.
This will be your first experience
in one of the things we've already (talked about) - consciously shifting
your "point of focus" from ...
1) Point of focus Object - Your object to
2) Point of focus Object - Your partners object
That's it. Nothing else. That's all that exists in the universe for you and your partner now...those two points of focus..ok?
NOW....comes the magic!
OK...You and your partner only have those two points of focus......you are not trying to "figure out" what each others object is.
Begin manipulating each other's object.
The best way to stop thinking is to stop talking ;forces the scene into the present - no talking exercise - one actor creates a object the other actor participates in manipulating that object WITHOUT TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS.
So what should happen now - provided that 1) You are clearly shifting your point of focus 2) You are NOT THINKING - You are about to experience - The intuitive - The unknown - The Magic......Transformation
The important thing is that you
remember and enjoy the experience of TRANSFORMATION... That is what we
are after...what all the rules and exercises are all about...Play...Have
HINT: BUT don't speak aloud.
If you experience Transformation all the cyber words, rules, and exercises here are well worth the time and effort it took to create them.....and you are well on your way to becoming an "improviser".
Medium Object- Two people manipulate medium object (a) When they know what it is .
OK. This is much the same as manipulating a small object but, as we know a medium object requires two people to manipulate (you know like furniture). So for the first part of the exercise two people decide and know what medium object they are manipulating. For example: a sofa.
So the two people get up and move this sofa for a little while.
(b) When they don't know what it is
Now the same two people will manipulate a medium size object when they don't or haven't decided what it actually is. SO the two people get up and manipulate this Medium size UNKNOWN object.
AND WOW! THE DIFFERENCE...SEE IT? DO YA? DO YA?
What is it? Why are to scenes so different? Yes! In the first one the players KNEW what it was and jostled it about and that was that. In the second instance the object WASN'T KNOWN and therefore TRANSFORMED (hopefully). So what happened was interesting and perhaps even funny. SO...that's it! Again! That is what we are trying to do....Get to that moment of TRANSFORMATION. Not the known sofa (boring) but the unknown ever shifting, changing, transforming, medium object thing. (YES!)
Large Object-Group manipulates a large object (while not talking about it)
Hey. After this we will have covered every possible OBJECT in the world...NO...in fact... the solar system. So...now we will manipulate an object we cannot move...like a mountain or a biulding. EXCEPT, of course, we don't know what it is!
Large group gets up and maniputes an unknown Large Object.
Ok. Everyone is up there manipulating this unknown large object.
HINTIf You have a sound card touch my face
The leader coaches the players not to define or try to "figure out" what the object is. Let it go! Have fun! Stop Thinking!
And...what happens? Yes it doesn't necessarily stay large...does it? Or does it? It can. It doesn't need to. It can and should TRANSFORM!
This is a group transformation - one of the most fun to do and to observe.
HINTIf You have a sound card touch my face
The leader coaches the players to attempt to be aware of the whole of the creation....that is not to get too involved in what one or two players happen to be creating.
And now what we should have a working group. Yes. An Ensemble. Creating something unknown that never has existed before and perhaps will never exist again when the work is stopped. (And for that we might all be a bit grateful) So. Whew! Now you have the ability and the tools to create the moment of TRANSFORMATION of any object known or even unknown to man or woman. When you are able to reach the moment of TRANSFORMATION you are indeed IMPROVISING a momnent no better or worse than any other IMPROVISED moment ever created by the best or worst of humanity.
And just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water there came>>>>>
Yes. The old spoken word. As we began this series of "object work" it was hinted that the easiest way to STOP THINKING is to STOP TALKING.
I don't know what it is about human speech and its conection to the human brain that excites some filter/processing unit or program that seems to want to force THINKING. Do you?
I suspect it has something to do with Viola Spolin has to say about approval/disapproval. If you haven't read it yet it is linked in the book below. if you go there you can return right back here by clicking on "THE VOICE"on that page.
All I know is once we start talking as improvisers a monster equation seems to pounce.
OK. We start talking = We start thinking = We stop focusing + We stop Transforming = WE STOP IMPROVISING.
Most people find it very easy to do object work in the intuitive.
All of us with the exception of all most no one find it much more difficult to talk and be intuitive at the same time...
BUT... HA. It is a battle which can be won. SO...After the exercises for the last rule....We will begin dealing with the monster VOICE.