"It's instinct." Those were two words I whole-heartedly agreed with when Jimmy Carrane spoke them during his workshop.
Now let me back up...for those of you who don't know who Jimmy Carrane is, just google him. You will no doubt find a myriad of sites dedicated to improv,
including his own blog. This is a master improv teacher who focuses on REAL relationships and what he calls "The Art of Slow Comedy". Square One Improv had the rare treat of taking a class from Jimmy, and we pushed ourselves into unknown territory.
This class was definitely not about getting laughs. At one point, Greg was involved in an intense, dramatic break-up scene. It was slow, patient, focused improv that sucked in the audience. People cried, people screamed, and sometimes people just sat in mesmerizing silence. Laughs were a bonus. They were not forced. They were completely organic and real.
At one point Jimmy stopped Scott, one of our Square One players, in the middle of his scene. He was playing a drunk guy trying to hang with his now straight-laced friend who had chosen the quiet family life. Jimmy said, "Pull a flask out of your pocket." I thought this was such a small, almost petty thing to add to the scene, but I was wrong. That small detail enhanced all of the emotion between the two friends. The sober friend began to grow more outraged, and Scott continued drinking from the flask. Back and forth they went and by the end we were all laughing at a very hilarious, but very real situation.
After the scene, a class member asked, "how did you know to add the flask?" Jimmy shrugged his shoulders and said, "It's instinct." It's so true. Nothing replaces experience, and practice, succeeding, then falling on your face. Sometimes there isn't an explanation why...it's just instinct.
We had a great time learning how Jimmy has developed such a keen instinct for story and character. We can't wait to take what we've learned and apply it to our show. Come see us soon! Every show will be different, and dare I say, better than the last....??