Michael’s Cool HairPosted: 2 March 2013
Luke & Michael greatly enjoyed performing at Impro Fest UK on Thursday night. Thanks to them for hosting us. There weren’t many seats in the theatre, but we filled almost all of them. Plenty of people had nice things to say about us. I hope they tell their friends about us.
It was, on a completely objective level, a good show, but the aim of Luke & Michael is not to improvise well, but to improvise better. So we will have plenty of notes to take away, which will evolve exponentially into goals, plans and strategies for us both as individuals and as a duo. For example, a friend of mine who hadn’t seen much improv before pointed out that the energy in the room took off as soon as we started taking serious risks. That’s something we can work on tuning into more. We can easily run a series of rehearsals that work on the risk-taking muscle specifically.
For now, however, I want to talk about hair. Mark Beltzman advised me to tie my hair up when I’m on stage, to stop it from falling in front of my face. It’s rare to receive an improv note which is so easily actionable, and which can make such an instant difference. In addition, it allows my scene partner, and the audience, to see more of my face, and it gives me more peripheral vision.
Why have I been so reluctant to do this up until now? Gazing at my new ponytail in the dressing room before we headed out on stage, I said to myself: ‘I look ridiculous.’ And indeed, I did look ridiculous, or at least more ridiculous than I normally do. But in some ways, that’s a plus. Once you set aside any expectations of the audience thinking you look cool, your job immediately becomes more straightforward. This relates closely to something Derek writes about here. While I do believe it’s important to look professional on stage (which is a courtesy to the audience), it is liberating not to confuse this with looking cool on stage (which makes a demand on the audience). This means getting both hair and vanity out of the way.