Improv class 8 – 23 June 2010

Physicalization

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 see it yourself.

We started the class with a guided fantasy into our 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 photos of significant events, into a room with a person on a thrown and finally into a garden. It is amazing to see how your imagination and your past experiences work together to create this dream like experience. It was interesting to hear who everyone saw on the thrown. Luci saw Richard Branson and Nolan saw an old friend who asked him if he liked his place.

In the following exercise we passed imaginary objects to each other. It was funny to see how the snoek turned into a tray with a half eaten sandwich, the prickly worm turned into a fox and the hot bowl of soup turned into a meatball. Or was it the worm that turned into a meatball and the ancient vase that turned into a fox?

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 difficult not to think ahead and just discover something. However when you allow yourself just to discover, your discovery is much more interesting and your emotional reaction much more authentic.

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 library for our location. I really enjoyed the characters that everyone used in the environment. When you do it in a character you find a lot more interesting 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.

Our one word proverb of the class was: Bafana het almal geskok met voortreflikheid.

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