by Abby Horst ‘15 –
How can you tell someone’s social status by observing her actions? In Mr. Lamb’s Improvisation and Sketch Comedy class we are challenged by such questions. Every day is new; we learn different techniques about improving our improvisational skills. Mr. Lamb’s biggest advice, and one of the only things he repeats, is telling us to be truthful; and his motto is don’t think, just say. We talk about controversial subjects and topics and that interest us such as dressing fashionably while staying within the dress code.
One of my favorite exercises this year was the only thing we did on paper. All ten of us were given a sheet of paper and had to come up with a whimsical opening line, followed by a character saying something. Then we all passed our stories to the left. The next person created a new character; they were the only two in the dialogue. Then when passing it again you were given thirty seconds to continue the story. When your opening line got back to you, you were challenged to finish it with one line. Then we read them in front of the class, acting them out. Some were funny, others insipid but that is just one of the big lessons we have learned in this class; not everything works out, but when it does it can be remarkable.
This class has helped me become more articulate and has taught me how to act in any kind of situation. One example we have worked on in class is when a stranger comes up to you and you have to carry on the conversation depending on how she establishes the time and place. Pain is commonly linked with humor. An example of this is: imagine your teacher slips and falls into the snow, and you laugh because it’s funny. But when you realize he or she is in pain you may go over and help. Oftentimes we laugh at someone even if he or she could be severely hurt; in movies and TV shows we laugh at other people’s misfortunes and embarrassment. Back to social status, there are two different statuses between people: high and low. When acting we concurred it is harder to act as if you come from a lower status. Every day I look forward to going to Improvisation and Sketch Comedy class.