250 Improv: Say Something Truthful

I was teaching improv to college age performers with some theatre and improv training. At some point they were stuck about what to do or say next. The performer in question said that the advice they’d previously received was to “Say something truthful.”

Sounded like good advice to me. But then they just stood there. Silent. Gears working away. Desperately trying to not just think of something truthful, but something TRUTHFUL. Like a deep universal, human condition kind of truth. Something the Buddha would toss out there.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. And thus, they said nothing.

“Truthful” doesn’t have to be a big deal.

The moment you brush winter road salt off your pants and say, “Guh. Gross.”  Truthful.

When the waiter asks if you’re ready to order and you say, “I.. um…durr…can you come back? Oh, wait, water with lemon?” Truthful.

When you see your crush and you don’t know what to say, but have to say something and blurt out, “You’re Really Pretty!” Truthful.

Even when you’re playing characters out of your life experience. Those characters are still people with flaws, fears and idiosyncrasies like anyone.

A high stakes diplomatic ambassador from France still sometimes will say, “Boy, I’m nervous about this speech, any advice?”

A professional bomb defuser will still sometimes say, “My mouth is dry. I could sure go for a Coke.”

When someone advises you to say something truthful. Just say something simple.


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