The two schools that I attended relied on improvisation as a teaching and training tool. Carlo Mazzone-Clementi taught me at the then named Dell Arte School of Mime and Comedy. The Neighborhood Playhouse also used improv. In fact The whole Sandy Meisner approach to acting is based on improv. Meisner was a genius and originally was a concert pianist. He applied his ideas on musical instruction to create a basis for teaching acting. It would start with a very simple basic contact much like a ping pong game. Two people bouncing words off each other and yet in complete contact. I studied with Sandy Meisner, William Esper and Phillip Gushee. I then went on to study with William Esper at his studio. Meisnersa approach gradually grew as the year and then second year went on. In the end it was a fully developed relationship with your fellow actress or actor and much depth of character. The sense of improv was never lost however it was a key to the heart of the work
Comedy and acting are central to my work as a writer. I know that my dialogue is affected by my being an actor. I approached this book after much procrastinating as an improv. What I did was let myself go and trust the process. I had the story mapped out in my head but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. It wasn’t until I said to myself to just say, “Yes.” to whatever came up and go with it. When I did this the book took flight. Improv to me is that. Trusting yourself to just go with it. Carlo in his approach taught me to trust my body and in a sense do nothing. Just let go and go with it. At the Playhouse and with Bill Esper I learned to trust my instincts and focus on the other person or persons and respond to what they were giving me. It seems unintellectual but in fact it is very intelligent work. Its fun and when I applied it to my book it became fun.