By | August 15, 2010

Listening takes place on four levels in improvisational comedy. Scenically players have to be listening to the physical environment. If they are not listening to the mime, they walk through walls and tables. Listening to the words are crucial, the humour of ‘mishearing’ things only goes so far. The players must also listen to the emotional content of the words, and the emotional context of what the character sharing the stage is doing. This sort of listening gives the most power to creating conflict, raising the stakes, and building character. Lastly the the player must be listening to the story. There is usually an over arching story that takes place in every scene. Not listening to the story is the number one reason that long form scenes fail to capture the love of the audience. The following improv structures can assist hard working improvisers in the many areas of listening.