Yoda said it best when he said “Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try!” What Yoda is was talking about was commitment. Commitment is important. Commitment is necessary, especially in improv.

Improv won’t work unless you are committed to the scene. It’s just that simple. And being committed is like being a walrus. You either are a walrus or you aren’t walrus. There is no gray area. You can’t be partially a walrus. It’s just not possible.

So in terms of Improv, you’re either committed or you’re not. When you think about it, choosing to be committed is the only choice that you can make in an improv scene. Everything else is a discovery. It’s a gift from the improv gods as a reward for being committed the scene!

Here are some things that you can focus on that will help you get committed to the scene when you are onstage:

1)    Eye Contact – Connect with your other players

2)    Emotion – Give yourself an emotional place to come from. Have a feeling about everything that is said and done onstage. Let it matter to you.

3)    React – React to everything that is said and done onstage. As my teacher Del Close always said, “Make the active choice.” That’s what moves the scene forward.

4)     Be Fearless – We get afraid onstage when we don’t know where the scene is going or we’re afraid that the scene is going to go where we want it to go. Get so committed to the scene that there is no room for fear. Get committed and give the scene over to the control of the improv gods. Find the fun in the scene. Fun and fear can’t coexist. Fun is the enemy of fear.  And Fun really wants to win!

Get committed and see what happens. See if you are rewarded by the improv gods. And know at the very least, you’ve made both me and Yoda very proud.

by Tom Booker, The Institution Theater Founder & Creative Director