Elwyn Berlekamp related at IEEE ISIT 2001 in Washington, DC, a conversation he had with Claude Shannon in an MIT hallway in the 1960’s the gist of which was:
CES: Where are you going, Elwyn?
EB: To the library to study articles, including some of yours.
CES: Oh, don’t do that. You’d be better off to just figure it out for yourself.
Instead of reading what I could on Mick Napier’s school of thought, I spent Monday evening practicing what sense I had made of the Annoyance workshops from this past weekend. The setting was a monthly jam that I happen to be fond of, and my goal in every scene was to incorporate Annoyance techniques into what I normally do to create a strong character for myself.
I ended up playing three characters across two sets, but there was one scene in particular that just clicked for me. For almost every line that my scene partner offered, I cast it through the lens of my character and discovered a little more about my fake self. It felt amazing.
While I’d love to say that I’ve figured out improv, I’m not exactly sure why I felt so comfortable in that particular scene. Was it my scene partner, something I did differently, the character I was discovering, or something else? All I know is that I want more moments like that.