“How do we avoid stilted speech in improv scenes and talk like real people if we should also avoid subtext in what we say?” I asked Colleen Doyle at an improv workshop a couple weekends ago.

“My advice to you would be to externalize the internal,” she responded to my question. “Just say what you’re feeling.”

Cool, I thought after her response. That sounds easy enough.

I’m externalizing the internal, I thought when I started a scene at an improv practice a few days after Colleen’s workshop.

“Say what you’re feeling,” my coach told me later on during the same scene.

I stopped externalizing the internal, I thought after my coach’s note before proceeding to respond with how I was feeling.

It’s so easy to think we’re putting an idea into practice, I thought later that evening at home making dinner, but without an outside pair of eyes, it can be difficult to tell.

“What would you have covered if you’d had a few extra sessions with us?” I’d asked Bill Arnett on Facebook a week after his workshop and a few weeks before Colleen’s.

“More sessions?” he typed rhetorically before responding, “Hmmm…. Scene work. finding and playing scene games. You guys are fairly savvy, it eventually becomes needing more coaching than teaching if that distinction makes sense.”

Yes, I thought after his reply, it does.

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