Rehearse Improv? How/Why?

Improv, whether it’s long- or short-form, requires some
degree of rehearsal. If a shared base of knowledge (the cast has had the same
classes) is a given, then rehearsals for your particular show can only help.
Sometimes people are confused by the concept of rehearsing for an improvised
show and will use that as “proof” that the show is pre-planned. My explanation
is that basketball teams practice, though they have no idea what will happen
during the game. The same thing for martial artists; they practice falling and
getting hit so they know how to react or how to escape from a hold. And it’s
the same for improvisers.

Sometimes a particular improvised show requires that you
learn and practice certain techniques. I’ve been improvising for years, but I
recently joined a show that required intensive practice. It’s called Close
and even though the show is 45 minutes long everything takes
place within the same 10 minute time-span
. So you’ll hear snippets from other
scenes even though those scenes have not been created yet. It’s complicated and fun to do and
there’s virtually no way we could do it without rehearsal.

A good improv team rehearses frequently. A great team
rehearses regularly and with a set goal (enhancing a certain area of
performance, creating or using new long-forms). Creative people need to be, and
thrive when, challenged.


Tremble: your whole life is a rehearsal for the
moment you are in now.
 Judith Malina

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