Welcome to Improvmantra


Everything I need to know I learned doing improv, Part 1.

Yes and: You get much further along in most cases by agreeing and building, rather than critiquing and tearing down.

Hold on to your perspective: “Yes and” does not mean you have to suppress your natural instincts and only please others. Hold on to who you are, but seek solutions rather
than focusing on who gets to win.

You cannot choose to win, all you can choose is how to lose: Imagine you are on stage in an improve scene. You pull a gun. You shoot your scene partner. Who decides whether you have hit him or not? That’s right, he does.  Watch new improvisers playing Viola Spolin’s classic game “Tug Of War.”

What happens? Mostly the imaginary rope between the two actors becomes magically stretchy as the two participants refuse to lose. The true improviser hurls herself to her knees, gasping, as her partner pulls.  You can aim to win, but you can’t choose it. All you can choose is how to be an excellent loser.

You are not in control: Sure, you can make choices. When your scene partner hands you roses you can choose to laugh, cry, bat your eyelashes, eat them… But then it is your scene partner’s turn, and your job is to shut up, watch and react.


About improvmantra

What is an improv mantra? An improv mantra is a phrase you repeat to yourself just before you go on stage, and continue to keep in your mind while you are in a scene. An effective mantra makes you a better improviser. Todd Erler, like all living creatures, has been doing improv every day since he was born. He has been performing improv on stage for more than 20 years. He is a teacher, writer, musicain, director, actor, and member of The Portable Reality Show.
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