Process: An Improviser's Journey

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Written by Michael Gellman, Mary Scruggs and Anne Libera.


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Written in a similar fashion to "An Actor Prepares", Process follows the course of three fictitious students enrolled in a Second City class whose focus is the presentation of thirty minute, one-act, improvised plays. (though this particular account is fictitious, the course itself and the teacher, Michael Gellman, are real). Through the course of the narrative, the students engage in exercises whose goal is to heighten their understanding of three core fundamentals, which Gellman himself refers to as the backbone of his teachings in regard to this particular form; Point of View (establishing and heightening a character's motives and personality, particularly threw the use of "I" statements), Point of Concentration (allowing oneself to see in detail the imagaginary world that comes to mind at the beginning of a scene, and focusing on particular details of that world to provide grounding, detail, and substance to the scene), and Point of Focus (the awareness of the give and take between improvisers in a given scene, and the ability to surrender and take focus organically and when necessary). Gellman at times contrasts the skills and technique necessary in order to successfully perform a improvised one-act with no exits and entrances with those required to perform more free form improvisational forms, and stresses the need of his performers to discover the scene slowly and naturally without contriving or forcing endowments and conflict on one's partners early in the scene.