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Forgetting to Remember

Here's a thing that many improvisers and improv students eventually learn as they ascend to competency: Connection.

We must connect with one another as actors — as partners in the same scene. We have various ways of doing this. We make eye contact. We listen very closely. We make physical contact. We try to determine what our partner wants by watching and listening to what their character does and says. We eventually learn that the "empty space" between us on stage is filled with "vacuum energy" (I discuss it in Tao Two: Quantum Improv). Our physical proximity, our physical selves generate the energy that fuels our reactions, our ideas and our performances.

What happens, then, when our proximity is virtual? How do we connect in this fundamental way via Zoom?

Often, we forget to remember to connect. It's hard enough maintaining an Internet connection. Emotional connections have to be sacrificed.

Except, they don't. Look. If you're doing a clown show on Zoom, maybe you were doing a clown show on stage. Maybe that's what has always floated your boat.

But if you're here, connected in some way with the Tao of Improv, then you expect more. So. Remember to remember. Slow down. Make it human. Keep it grounded (believable, even within zaniness). You have the mental bandwidth to do good improv online, even if your Internet bandwidth sucks.

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