How to practice improv by yourself
- Every time you pick up an object in real life, immediately after pick up the mimed version of the object with the same movements and imagine the same weight. It helps to notice how actions work in real life so we can make our object work more believable.
- Play three line scenes with yourself while washing up, lean one side to play one character and to the other to play the other character.
- Speak in gibberish as you move around your house. Then repeat your movements and translate.
- The next time someone says to you “how are you?” in real life, no matter when or where, take a moment to think about it and then answer honestly. It practices emotional honesty in the present moment. Yes, some people will think you’re odd, but you’ll also be surprised at how quickly it also breaks barriers in a nice way.
- Send 5 improvisers a message about why you like watching them perform or improvising them. It keeps you in the mindset of supporting others rather than worrying about how you are doing.
- Start your day by writing 3 pages of freehand notes about anything, the first thing that comes to you, without worrying about it or editing it. Show nobody. This is called Morning Pages and is from the book The Artist’s Way and is a good way of opening up ideas and coming into touch with your thoughts and feelings.
- Go for a run (if you can) and eat healthily, it means you turn up to shows energised and happy rather than starting every warm up with “guys I’m really tired”.
- In general conversations at home or when by yourself practice relaxed open body language, relieving tension from yourself. It’s nice to send a message to each joint “relax relax relax”.
- Research Alexander technique and semi-supine.
- Write a poem every day, don’t worry if it is good or bad.
Blog by Steve Roe, Director of Hoopla Impro. Improv courses, shows and improv comedy club in London, UK.