Improv Matrix Moment

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Improv Matrix Moment

Postby LisaJackson » February 12th, 2011, 2:30 pm

Has anyone had a moment in improv after you've learned all the basics and you've been performing for a while where it suddenly all makes sense? Where all this multitude of knowledge you have about how to help a scene, a show, your character, the other performers, all comes together in one solid moment and you finally know what you're doing and it's all so simple. Like the moment where Neo sees the Matrix for the first time.
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Postby vine311 » February 13th, 2011, 1:50 am

Yes, I absolutely have. The first time it happened was during an IFE show a long while back with just me, Eric and Matt (the other folks couldn't make the show) where it was effortless and I felt like I knew exactly what was coming next and could anticipate every move. It was almost as if the show was moving in slow motion but I was going at regular speed. I still get that feeling from time to time and I love it. Now if only I could make it more consistent...
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Postby mpbrockman » February 13th, 2011, 8:06 am

vine311 wrote: ...it was effortless and I felt like I knew exactly what was coming next and could anticipate every move. It was almost as if the show was moving in slow motion but I was going at regular speed. I still get that feeling from time to time and I love it. Now if only I could make it more consistent...


This happens to musicians, too. Especially if you're playing with a bunch of really gifted and experienced musicians. You can find yourself winging stuff around on an astonishingly high level: catching each others punches and stops, feeling changes from four bars away, being able to play call and response and be so dialed in to each other that you can weave your lines... that sort of thing. As Jason mentioned, time slows down for you. It can be like really drawn out orgasm.

Of course the opposite happens to me, too. The nights where I'm stuck in a time zone in Indiana a half-second behind everyone else.

I'd like to think it was something that could be consistent, but my experience is that it just isn't possible. You just can't hit "the zone" every night. You can improve your odds my having a clear head, a regular warmup routine (even if that just means a walk around the block or - in my case - retreating into my own mind for a bit and doing some, uh, whatever the aural equivalent of "positive visualization" is) and surrounding yourself with good players. Nevertheless, getting propelled into that zone is always a bit fluky and sometimes depends on factors you don't have control over: your co-players, the audience, tech issues etc.

Congratulations on your first orgasm, I mean, orgasm on stage, er, improvised orgasm... uh, somebody take away the shovel please?
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Postby B. Tribe » February 14th, 2011, 9:37 am

I had that happen a few times when I was doing short-form back in college. Can't remember any specific examples as those shows go so damn fast that it's hard to remember anything. The feeling was comparable to sliding or gliding on stage and every move, motion, and line would hit perfectly.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 14th, 2011, 3:32 pm

i had a few of those moments in the Jury where i definitely felt a shift in consciousness and it was like i could see five moves ahead and what everything was building to. the best were those rare occasions where it felt like everyone else had clicked into that mode as well so it wasn't just that we could SEE the pieces moving, but we could shift them around and rewrite reality. some of the avant garde shows in particular were like that (probably because we were purposefully trying to reject "reality" onstage).

i've touched it a couple of times recently in Secrets, but the last time i felt it intensely was the solo Shakespeare scene in the All Star OOB Maestro last year...i don't even fully remember the second half of that scene, it was like i "melted" into the scene. i'm just glad i was able to come back. ;)

my goal these days when those moments arise, and i feel like i can see the shape of the story and the rest of the show ahead of me, is to say "fuck that, what else can we do?" once you can see the Matrix, the only worthwhile challenge is to break it and put a new one together. 8)
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Postby jillybee72 » February 14th, 2011, 3:59 pm

About six months in I had a distinct feeling like a car shifting into a higher gear, and my whole game stepped up.

I've had other moments where I absorbed a game-changing lesson all at once. Nothing complete, just another bulb in my chandelier.
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Postby hujhax » February 14th, 2011, 4:45 pm

Can't recall having any Matrix moments.

Ah well.

At least I haven't had any Matrix:  Revolutions moments....

:mrgreen:

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Postby EmilyBee » February 16th, 2011, 1:01 pm

I'm starting to have more AHAs offstage, and I think they're translating onstage. Also, I'm having full-(sub)consciousness breakthroughs in my dreams. Yeah, making up games for improv in my dreams, doing awesome scenes, yadda.

It wantses usss, the improvssss.
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Postby Meghan W » February 20th, 2011, 6:12 pm

I'm in a troupe here in Minneapolis with two other girls, called The Bennets (and I owe Jill a million thank yous for introducing us all). At rehearsal and in shows, working with them creates this perfect world where they challenge me while at the same time everything feels so spectacularly joyful and easy. It's amazing, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work with them. So I suppose it's not just one moment, but an entire stretch of time when I work with them. And I know I already said it once, but it just makes me feel so spectacularly lucky.
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Postby DollarBill » May 4th, 2011, 11:59 pm

I hate to say it, but for me this is something that happened more frequently early on and happens less and less.

Both Jury shows when Harvard and Yale came to town felt like that. Especially yale. Weird sci-fi story that was just easy and perfect. And now it pretty much only happens when I play with the Cupholders once or twice a year.

I think it can happen consistently, but once it starts to happen consistently then it doesn't feel the same anymore. Like DRUUUUUUUHHHGZZZ.
They call me Dollar Bill 'cause I always make sense.
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Postby sara farr » May 5th, 2011, 1:59 am

I've had a Matrix moment recently... leaving work. I was walking out into the parking lot and, like the Terminator, I saw EVERYTHING my eye landed on mapped out with a wireframe overlay. I've also had dreams in "pixels" (when we used to make game art out of 32-64 pixels). I can also pretty much see people nude, or with different possible hair styles. Yes, I'm looking at YOU.

Typically when improvising with puppets, the puppet is really running the show. I'm just along for the ride. I'll have to ask them tonight if they've ever had an improv Matrix moment.

The closest I've come to a Matrix moment on stage was actually more of an "Aha" moment. It was after one of the first PIP show, "Wild Wild Puppets". After the show, a girl came up to my puppet, "Gramps" and told him, "You're a puppet". She didn't tell me, she told the puppet. <bing!>
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » May 5th, 2011, 9:15 am

There were a number of moments in Showdown where i THOUGHT i saw the "matrix" and stepped out into or initiated a scene with an expectation, offer or endowment, only to find the second my foot hit the stage some other influence took over and i was suddenly moving in a different direction. which was really thrilling and exciting because usually as a performer in an improv show, no matter how much i'm enjoying watching from the wings and from within scenes, i can never fully appreciate it as an audience member because i know what at least one of the people onstage is going to do at any given moment. i didn't much have that problem in Showdown because for whatever reason i was constantly defying and subverting my own personal expectations. I want to try and find a way to carry that sense over into other shows as well...

DollarBill wrote:I hate to say it, but for me this is something that happened more frequently early on and happens less and less.

Both Jury shows when Harvard and Yale came to town felt like that. Especially yale. Weird sci-fi story that was just easy and perfect. And now it pretty much only happens when I play with the Cupholders once or twice a year.

I think it can happen consistently, but once it starts to happen consistently then it doesn't feel the same anymore. Like DRUUUUUUUHHHGZZZ.


clearly, the only answer is to put the Jury back together...and to do lots of drugs. either way, get Benner on the phone... :P
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Postby B. Tribe » May 5th, 2011, 9:59 am

I'm glad this thread got resurrected. I've been having more and more of these moments and even shows where things fall into place. What's been working for me is whenever I have a moment of doubt about what I'm doing, I force myself to do it even harder. Almost every time it lands. I had a Saturday night where I did three shows and each one was amazing and fun and funny. Everything I've learned went out of my head and just 'happened' in front of me. Those moments are why we train so hard. Athletes say they train so they don't have to think when they're playing. That's the attitude I go in with when I rehearse and it's happening more and more on stage.
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Postby kaci_beeler » May 5th, 2011, 12:46 pm

B. Tribe wrote:Those moments are why we train so hard. Athletes say they train so they don't have to think when they're playing. That's the attitude I go in with when I rehearse and it's happening more and more on stage.


YES! THIS! This times a million.
I really think this is key.
Work hard in rehearsal so you can play hard onstage.

I find it works especially well when you're working on specific skills like genre or tone or what can feel like a complex format.
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Postby Marc Majcher » May 5th, 2011, 12:59 pm

kaci_beeler wrote:
B. Tribe wrote:Those moments are why we train so hard. Athletes say they train so they don't have to think when they're playing. That's the attitude I go in with when I rehearse and it's happening more and more on stage.


YES! THIS! This times a million.
I really think this is key.
Work hard in rehearsal so you can play hard onstage.

I find it works especially well when you're working on specific skills like genre or tone or what can feel like a complex format.

Wax on, wax off.
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