I believe that doing this exercise regularly helps me see more, makes me a better improviser, and at times helps me enjoy the moment more in the present.
Every moment is full of more offers than we can ever realize fully on stage. This simple exercise is about making yourself aware of the offers in this room, now.
As you go through a particular event in your day, note some of the scene offers that are presented. Here are a few, from my dentist’s office visit.
The Late patient
I was six minutes late, because I misplaced my keys at home. Scene possibilities: Me, trying to leave the house. Dentist and assistant, talking about something else, one notes that Mr. B is five minutes late; Mr. B arrives. What effect will that five minutes have on the day for these characters? Who cares, who doesn’t, what is more important than the lateness? Does it change the emotion in the room?
The Black Cube
Outside the window, on the street, just off the curb, was a black, shiny cube of some sort, possibly something wrapped with a garbage bag? Three of us tried to figure out what it was. When I left, I looked. It was a hassock/pillow, probably fell off a truck. The Dentist’s assistant called me on my phone: What was it? She hoped it might be a puppy for the office. (you can’t make this stuff up…) This could simply be a scene about people looking out at an unknown object in the street, and their reactions to it. Or the perspective of the object: a piece of furniture, now on the street. What now? Or the story of how it got there…Etc….
The doctor casually mentioned that the cavity ran “a bit deeper” than she had thought as she gave me novocaine. Scene about the yawning abyss, full of nasty germies…. Or what-have you. Or one could explore: “A bit deeper?” Id she minimizing the situation ? If so, what else does she minimize through the day, in her life?
The New Doc
My usual dentist’s partner recently retired; the woman working on my tooth today was new to the office. She casually mentioned that, and that she was not new to dentistry, more than once in conversation with her assistant. What scene could result from this set of facts?
There were more offers, of course. Any of them could have blossomed into a rewarding scene. Noting them helps me bring the wonderful details of everyday life to my work with improv partners. If I do this regularly, I never need face the moment of “having no ideas” in an improv setting. The mundane details of daily life are treasure. As an improviser, I need to have a video camera going in my head, and I can take the time to examine the countless offers that each mundane moment offers.
So that’s it for today…I hope you enjoy and find use for the ideas written here!