Physicalization is the method used by improv players to create imaginary locations, objects, and events. The best way to help the audience and your fellow players see the objects and environments that you create is if you, yourself, create those imaginary environments.
We started the class with a warm-up game called “Sound ball” or “Morph ball” as I like to call it. In this game participants pass imaginary balls accompanied with a sound to one another. The one catching the ball receives it with the same characteristic (wait, size, consistency ect)) as the one passing it and then morphs it into a new ball with different characteristics.
I then took the class on a guided fantasy into their imaginations. The adventure began on the beach, moved to a second-hand store, into a forest, into a castle with a table with delicious food, into a room with paintings of significant events, into a room with a person on a throne and finally into a garden. It is amazing to see how your imagination and your past experiences along with your current state of mind work together to create this dream like experience. Stephan saw King Arthur and Luci saw BA Baracus who demanded to know why she was so afraid…
In the following exercise we passed imaginary objects to each other. It was funny to see how the rat turned into a hatching egg.
For the next exercise everyone had to reach under their chairs and pull out an object without thinking beforehand what it was going to be. They had to discover something and then explore it until they got an emotional reaction from it. It is easier said than done not to think ahead and just let go and discover something. However ,when you allow yourself to discover, your discovery is much more interesting and your emotional reaction far more authentic. The essence of improvisation is making discoveries in the moment. This means you have to trust yourself and let go of the need to plan ahead. When you plan ahead you are not open to all the possibilities that are present in the moment.
Next we played an environment exercise. For this exercise a location is determined and then one by one each character must enter the location and use all the objects that all the previous players used and then add another object. It is important to remember where each object was placed. A good way to practice your physicalization is to notice in everyday life how you hold different objects. Doing this will help you to be more present in your day to day actions. We picked a band practise room and a dance studio for our locations. I really enjoyed the characters that everyone used in the environment. When you explore in a character you find a lot more fascinating things to do with the object. Choosing a character and acting and reacting from that character are probably one of the most important improv practices. For me it is also one of the best applications of improv in everyday life. Who you are, is more important than what you do, because who you are determines what you do. Therefore it is more important to figure out who you are than what it is that you are suppose to do.
For the final exercise we played two person scenes where the first player had to establish an environment through physicalization (the where of the scene). The second player had to establish the relationship between the characters (the who of the scene). The scenes were lovely, thanks for everyone’s participation.