CAST THE MAGIC!
THOUGHTS, IDEAS, QUESTIONS, PROCESS, LESSONS,
ANNA ROBINSON – Week 3
(The following is a CHAT GPT TRANSLATION of Anna’s original Chinese which you can find below the translation)
“If the first week was a reset, the second week was about building the soul, then the third week is about casting magic. Revealing the concrete beauty of improvisation.
In the third week, I felt that I am here, I am safe, and I am beginning to connect more with myself.
Shawn said improvisation has two aspects: Spirit and technique, without distinguishing between good and bad. Use whatever is available. Just like when you can’t continue a scene, you introduce something new like “Suddenly” or “It’s Tuesday,” or even curse at someone. Spirit, in this week’s training, often involves digging out something true about yourself, and from that truth, extracting a story.
- Pay attention – learn to observe This is an ability that can be infinitely extended and requires lifelong learning. Language, body language, eye contact, space – all can be observed infinitely. Before observing everything else, it’s about self-observation. First, cultivate a good mental state within yourself so you have the energy to observe. On stage, when there’s pressure from the audience, this kind of observation can become challenging. You need to maintain a connection with your scene partner to complete this observation and then connect with the audience. My action: I started meditating and practicing the Eight Section Brocade to calm myself down.
- Sometimes, let go of technique, feel the energy. The lying game, where one person plays a card and says it’s a spider, and you have to say whether it is or not. Initially, I used technique; I thought blinking frequently was a lie. Right and wrong. Later, Shawn said it’s about connecting to the feeling. When I settled into my own feelings, it worked. Also, if someone keeps getting it wrong consistently, they’ll get more and more wrong. This is interesting.
- Answer questions – go to the obvious. It’s already funny in itself. Follow the story, and answer the audience’s questions! What’s obviously set up? Move toward it, address it
This week at the Loose Moose performance, my favourite scene was when an actor “lost it”. First, it was a happy classmate going on stage to perform. Then, the director said the entire scene could only be done with questions. He was entertaining himself, letting an out-of-control emotion on stage make me happy. I believe this is also an improvisational skill – making yourself happy.
This week, for the first time, my audience laughed uncontrollably. It was a punchline that I didn’t understand at all. We were performing without expressions. During the second round, as I was preparing to settle myself, everyone burst into laughter. This was the first time Shawn genuinely laughed at my performance in these three weeks.
Finally, I often feel that improvisation is like watching a variety show from my childhood, where the connection between partners is like a comedic duo. One is the straight man, the other is the funny guy, switching roles frequently. Establishing a basic platform and then tilting, just like quick-witted exchanges in traditional Chinese comedy. The straightforward punchlines in American comedy are like the humorous skits. It’s like a hand reaching for your ticklish spot, but we still hope for a bit more meaning.”
THE ORIGINAL VERSION: