Improvisation is the essential skill for professional actors in film and television. If a performance appears rehearsed or anticipated, if an actor is in their head, trying to recreate a previous ‘perfect’ performance, or recalling an emotional or sense memory, then they are not entirely present in the moment and the take or audition is unusable. Even in the luxurious filming environment that allows for rehearsal, spontaneity is essential. Actors must learn a method for preparing that appears as though the scene is happening for the very first time, every time. If the actor is in the spontaneous ‘Play State’ then they create a magic moment, moment after moment, in every take. This is what we seek. Without presence in the moment, all is for naught. Actors must learn an effective technique for this kind of presence. In our classes, we teach actors to locate their “play state,” in which their body is catapulted into a safe crisis and avoids thinking, judging, becoming audience, but becomes alive through action.
“Through spontaneity we are re-formed into ourselves. It creates an explosion that for the moment frees us from handed-down frames of reference, memory choked with old facts and information and undigested theories and techniques of other people’s findings. Spontaneity is the moment of personal freedom when we are faced with reality, and see it, explore it and act accordingly. In this reality the bits and pieces of ourselves function as an organic whole. It is the time of discovery, of experiencing, of creative expression.”-Viola Spolin