250 Improv: From Xylophone to X-Ray Technician

Here’s a fun little exercise for people who are resistant to “performing”. (Credit goes to Carrie Masse for noticing this.)  Have people pair up. Have one explain what a xylophone is to the other. Then have the second one explain what a trombone is.

Most people will mime out the action of playing the instrument. The easiest way to get the idea across.

Congratulations. You’ve just made a room full of people “perform” in front of someone else.

They did it without thinking, without planning, or practice. Most people don’t play trombone or xylophone, but we can put ourselves in the place and mind of someone who can.

Improv and acting are just that. Putting your mind in a place and person you are not. You know, pretending.

This ability, or really the knowledge of this ability, opens up infinite performance possibilities.

For example, to be an X-ray technician mime holding an x-ray in front of your eyes, squint and make this noise, “hmmm-mmhmm.”  Boom. X-ray technician, no training needed. A simple movement can define your character. After that, just act like a human. No one’s going to judge you on your advanced x-ray skills. (although, if you have that knowledge, by all means use it.) AND, even if you do this in front of a room of x-ray technicians you’re still good. If you do something right, they’ll love you. If you do something totally wrong, they’ll love themselves knowing their job is way more difficult. They’ll feel special.


Leave a Reply