When discussing the art of improvisation, one name that undoubtedly stands out is Del Close. Renowned as a pioneer of improvisational theater and a mentor to countless performers, Close's philosophy on improv extends far beyond the realm of improvisers alone. This blog post explores why his teachings and principles hold tremendous relevance for actors of all disciplines.
Del Close's Improv Philosophy:
"Yes, and..." - The cornerstone of Close's philosophy lies in the concept of "Yes, and..." This principle emphasizes the acceptance and affirmation of ideas, encouraging actors to build upon their scene partner's contributions. By embracing this mindset, actors can enhance their ability to listen, respond, and create meaningful connections on stage.
Embracing Failure - Close believed that failure is an integral part of the creative process. He encouraged actors to embrace mistakes, as they provide valuable learning opportunities and spur artistic growth. By cultivating a fearlessness towards failure, actors can free themselves from self-judgment and unlock new levels of creativity and spontaneity in their performances.
Active Listening - Close stressed the importance of active listening, a skill that transcends improvisation and is essential for all actors. By truly listening to their scene partners, actors can authentically respond and connect with the emotions and intentions conveyed. This deep level of listening allows actors to build organic and dynamic performances, heightening the overall quality of their work.
Character Commitment - Close advocated for strong character commitment, urging actors to fully embrace their roles and make bold choices. By committing wholeheartedly to their characters, actors can tap into the depth and authenticity required to bring their roles to life, whether in scripted scenes or improvised moments.
Group Mind - Close emphasized the power of collaboration and ensemble work. He believed in the concept of "group mind," where actors connect and support each other, creating a collective intelligence that leads to extraordinary performances. This philosophy fosters trust, teamwork, and the ability to create cohesive and harmonious scenes.
Relevance to all Actors: Del Close's improv philosophy offers invaluable insights and techniques that extend beyond the improv stage. By embracing his principles, actors can enhance their ability to collaborate, listen, and respond intuitively to their scene partners, regardless of the performance style or script. Close's emphasis on embracing failure and committing to characters encourages actors to take risks, explore new territories, and tap into their authentic creative instincts.
In summary, Del Close's philosophy on improv holds significant relevance for actors from all disciplines. By incorporating his principles into their craft, actors can enrich their performances, deepen their connections with fellow performers, and ultimately, create more compelling and memorable experiences for audiences. Del Close's teachings serve as a timeless source of inspiration for actors seeking to expand their artistic horizons and elevate their craft.
Many cities across the United States offer acting classes and workshops for performers of all ages and experience levels. If you live or are visiting the Louisville, Kentucky area, please consider joining one of the monthly events offered at Everything Cinema Productions! Starting May 23, 2023, we're offering a great 6-week INTERMEDIATE IMPROV FOR ADULTS class! For a complete list of current classes and workshops for actors and voice-over artists, visit our EVENTS page, and RSVP directly on the site. We'd love to meet and collaborate with you!