What are you looking at?Posted: 28 January 2013
We had photos taken recently by the gentleman Clive Moore, and he said something during the shoot which gave me an insight into the mind of a photographer. He mentioned there was a white wall down the road which would make a good backdrop and as he looked around I realised he was looking at backgrounds for photos, not something I see at all when I look at the world.
It reminded me that we all see thing differently, especially if we train in a craft or art. I have worked in a lot of print rooms, so whenever I see a bound document I know how it’s been put together and whether they rushed it or not. Something I paid no attention to before.
So the question is, what are you looking at? When you come into a scene, what pricks up your senses?
In improv that question doesn’t seem to have an answer sometimes. When I started I was just looking for chances to say something funny. When I started practicing emotional reactions I started looking for opportunities to react and flip out in scene. There are an infinite number of things to be aware of, it seems impossible to learn how to see all of them. I am practicing physicality in scenes at the moment, so I know in shows I will see more opportunities to pick things up and wrestle with them. There is no end to this process.
But, I think there is a limit to that process. All those things are internal reactions, what I keep bringing myself back to is what is needed by the scene or my partner. That is the moment to moment challenge. It’s like the surface of the Earth. You can walk around forever on the Earth’s surface, you will never fall off it, but you can also launch yourself up into space. Having an awareness of what is being formed or waiting to form on stage is what I think improv training is about.
So when I look at the stage, I see opportunities for co-operative play. My questions have changed from “What can I add here? How can I react?” to “Where do you need me? What do you need?”