A Night at the Improv

Do you ever act out a scene? I do it all of the time. Stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom when no one is home, or awake. I play through scenes in a hushed voice, going back and forth like someone suffering from multiple personality disorder. “I love you.” “You don’t love me, you love yourself.” “No, no that’s not true. Truth be told I …” “You what?” “I hate myself. Hate what I am, what I’ve become. I’m not even sure what I am anymore. Am I a cylon, an angel, a decent actress stuck in a poor script? I mean, why do I always have to look so angry? Even when I laugh they want me to look angry. Angry and drunk.”

Alright, so maybe I don’t necessarily play out that script, but you get the drift. It’s something I’ve always done. Even way back in junior high. I used to lie in bed and act out scenes from my own life. You know, those “what if” scenes. That one where you finally muster the courage to talk to the girl you’ve been crushing on for what seems like an eternity.

I wouldn’t just go over the Twilight scene where I say all the right Edward lines and my sweetheart swooned with the telling of each one. No, I’d go over the “It worked, I fooled her” scene, the “Uhm, I don’t think so, dork boy” scene, and everything in between. I wanted to be prepared for any circumstance. Of course I never actually performed my lines, just rehearsed them.

I find myself doing that with writing a lot. Especially if I’m trying to describe how something is said, not just what is said. Obviously, speaking them aloud helps you to hear the intonation and whether or not the words flow. But acting it out helps you to note that your lip is curling up just a bit towards the right. I’ll even move around about, moving my hands to punctuate really tense lines like “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

So that’s my thought for today. Do you act out lines? If not, give it a shot and report back. But make sure no one is home when you do it. Getting caught confessing your love for your cylon/angel/ghost/bad actress self can lead to some pretty awkward situations.


Mellow Dee said...

I think that would be hilarious!!! I might have to sneak over to your office now in the middle of the night to see if I can eavesdrop on your conversation with Jessica Biel.

Great thought for writing, too ;-)

Peter Crowell said...

Some people call that insanity... but I do it too! I find it helps fill in details in my understanding of what a character thinks or feels in a given situation. I'm able to portray it better. I never chose or decided to do it. I just always have. It's a natural part of my process.

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