concerned about cleavage

Discussion of the art and craft of improvisation.

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight, bradisntclever

Postby dancrumb » June 17th, 2011, 2:49 pm

While I think that personal honesty and integrity on stage is vital to good improv, the "Be yourself" mantra can lead to something of a fallacy.

You are not yourself when you're on stage. When you're on stage, you're in front of a group of people who have paid money because you (directly or indirectly) have said that you are worth watching for 20+ minutes... so much so, that people should pay for it.

As a result, I believe, you have a responsibility to the audience to be at your best. You should be dressed and prepared to give your best show.

Therefore, you may need to moderate your dress. What might be normal, appropriate and comfortable for you to wear on the street may not be for wearing on the stage. This goes as much for schlubby jeans as it does for skimpy dresses.

Ultimately, performers are free to wear what they like, but they do themselves a disservice if they fail to consider whether those clothes may distract audience members from their scenes.

My final point is towards the discussion of whether a theatre should institute rules. That's a tricky one when a theatre has students attached to it. Some (many?) improvisers come from a background with little to no stage or formal performance experience. Some are young and have limited experience. Rules about clothing and conduct (not being drunk/high on stage) can help them be the best they can be on stage, until they learn good instincts about the right kind of behaviour surrounding a show. While it may seem dictatorial, it's not without its benefits, and I can see why some theatres would decide to apply them.
User avatar
dancrumb
 
Posts: 52
Joined: February 23rd, 2011, 9:21 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Postby Spots » June 17th, 2011, 2:56 pm

dancrumb wrote:This goes as much for schlubby jeans as it does for skimpy dresses.

Ultimately, performers are free to wear what they like, but they do themselves a disservice if they fail to consider whether those clothes may distract audience members from their scenes.


I personally find it more difficult to play low status characters while wearing a button up shirt and nice slacks.. versus high status characters while dressed in t-shirt & schlubby jeans.

This is why I focus on wearing comfortable clothes.

But as you eloquently put it, the individual player simply need consider their own needs versus the audience's needs.
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby York99 » June 17th, 2011, 3:13 pm

Is this thread really about cleavage specifically or is it about distractions on stage in general?

I think the focus is on the former, which makes this a sexual or gender issue, when we should recognize that it's simply one example of the latter.

EDIT: Well, it was when I started writing that post.
"Every cat dies 9 times, but every cat does not truly live 9 lives."
-Bravecat

Image
User avatar
York99
 
Posts: 1998
Joined: April 12th, 2006, 8:47 am
Location: There

Postby PyroDan » June 17th, 2011, 3:18 pm

York99 wrote:Is this thread really about cleavage specifically or is it about distractions on stage in general?

I think the focus is on the former, which makes this a sexual or gender issue, when we should recognize that it's simply one example of the latter.

EDIT: Well, it was when I started writing that post.


I think it diverged due to the issue of cleavage being a distraction.
- I was a member of the club and i felt like a f*cking fool- Bukowski
http://biglittlecomedy.weebly.com/
http://www.newmovementtheater.com
http://www.pdogs.com
User avatar
PyroDan
 
Posts: 347
Joined: August 25th, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: On Earth

Postby Spots » June 17th, 2011, 3:19 pm

Just respond to what inspires you.

I can't imagine how many people are lurking the forums out of fear of posting off-topic remarks.
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby York99 » June 17th, 2011, 3:22 pm

As a point of reference, there are several other threads about distractions in improv, including clothing, set design, handling of audience members, and many more.
"Every cat dies 9 times, but every cat does not truly live 9 lives."
-Bravecat

Image
User avatar
York99
 
Posts: 1998
Joined: April 12th, 2006, 8:47 am
Location: There

Postby PyroDan » June 17th, 2011, 3:22 pm

Off stage, I will admit to enjoying cleavage. I am no prude.
- I was a member of the club and i felt like a f*cking fool- Bukowski
http://biglittlecomedy.weebly.com/
http://www.newmovementtheater.com
http://www.pdogs.com
User avatar
PyroDan
 
Posts: 347
Joined: August 25th, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: On Earth

Postby York99 » June 17th, 2011, 3:23 pm

Spots wrote:Just respond to what inspires you.

I can't imagine how many people are lurking the forums out of fear of posting off-topic remarks.


It seems the Thought Police have been effective.
"Every cat dies 9 times, but every cat does not truly live 9 lives."
-Bravecat

Image
User avatar
York99
 
Posts: 1998
Joined: April 12th, 2006, 8:47 am
Location: There

Postby Spots » June 17th, 2011, 3:25 pm

Boobs.


OK, so NOW I'm on topic.
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby TeresaYork » June 17th, 2011, 3:25 pm

On that note, I feel we ladies (and I'm not including dudes because they don't frequently wear bras or thongs....that's for another post) need to look out for each other and let us know if something reveals too much.

I've seen plenty of ladies wearing shirts where the fabric is completely see through on stage, and I'm 100% sure they had no idea.

So, I for one will start doing my part. If someone responds, "Oh yeah, I know..." then I probably would be shocked, but think "well, at least now they are making an artistic choice."
Last edited by TeresaYork on June 17th, 2011, 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
TeresaYork
 
Posts: 233
Joined: August 13th, 2007, 11:15 pm
Location: San Diego

Postby kaci_beeler » June 17th, 2011, 3:36 pm

I don't mind seeing a little bit of cleavage (it's kinda an acceptable norm with some cuts of clothing), but when someone leans over and I can see their breasts, down to their stomach, it becomes a bit much. Especially when I know they didn't intend to show all of that. Then I feel weird for them, and weird for everyone else watching, because I know the audience's focus has shifted. And then it's not about your improv anymore, it's about your boobs and how much of them you intended to show.

My father and brothers have told me, multiple times, that it is distracting to them as audiences members when people, especially women, show parts of themselves onstage in an unaware way (panty shots! deep cleavage! butt crack! tummy overflowing pants!).

I'll believe this until the day I die, it's about purposeful choices.

When I show off my panties onstage, I know I'm doing it!
(case in point: Fitzgeralds for Hire, French Farce - both shows where I wear special bloomers so that I can do what I waaaaant and be inappropriate in a way that I control.)
User avatar
kaci_beeler
 
Posts: 2151
Joined: September 4th, 2005, 10:27 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby kaci_beeler » June 17th, 2011, 3:39 pm

TeresaYork wrote:On that note, I feel we ladies (and I'm not including dudes because they don't frequently wear bras or thongs....that's for another post) need to look out for each other and let us know if something reveals too much.


WORD, lady!
I have been given such notes and I have given people such notes.
It can be an awkward conversation, but ultimately helpful, especially if it's talked about from a place of help and trust, not disgust and dislike.
User avatar
kaci_beeler
 
Posts: 2151
Joined: September 4th, 2005, 10:27 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Brad Hawkins » June 17th, 2011, 3:50 pm

TeresaYork wrote:On that note, I feel we ladies (and I'm not including dudes because they don't frequently wear bras or thongs....that's for another post) need to look out for each other and let us know if something reveals too much.

Particularly since we guys usually won't. Either we're delighted to see what we're seeing, or we're afraid of the following exchange:

HE: Uh... did you know you can see your boobs?
SHE: Why are you looking at my boobs?

...or we just assume that a woman knows what she's doing. They're YOUR clothes after all. Maybe you don't often get put in a position where you're leaning forward (or doing the splits, or straddling a chair, or... I'm sorry, where was I?) in front of an audience, but you're always the object of the Male Gaze* and I figure that you long ago figured out how to avoid/use/defuse that gaze as a woman in society.

* "Male Gaze" meant non-ironically. Do not take with grain of salt. Offer void where post-feminist.
The silver knives are flashing in the tired old cafe. A ghost climbs on the table in a bridal negligee. She says "My body is the life; my body is the way." I raise my arm against it all and I catch the bride's bouquet.
User avatar
Brad Hawkins
 
Posts: 1168
Joined: August 2nd, 2010, 10:43 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby TeresaYork » June 17th, 2011, 3:57 pm

Brad Hawkins wrote:
TeresaYork wrote:
HE: Uh... did you know you can see your boobs?
SHE: Why are you looking at my boobs?



Hahah...at least you said "boobs" which is the more respectful term without sounding like a doctor. Again, a different thread! :)
User avatar
TeresaYork
 
Posts: 233
Joined: August 13th, 2007, 11:15 pm
Location: San Diego

Postby Spots » June 17th, 2011, 4:01 pm

kaci_beeler wrote:but when someone leans over and I can see their breasts, down to their stomach, it becomes a bit much. Especially when I know they didn't intend to show all of that. Then I feel weird for them, and weird for everyone else watching, because I know the audience's focus has shifted.


This actually happened last night. I agree the focus shifted, and the credibility of the scene instantly came crashing down. (in my mind)

Suddenly I was lost in a train of thought as to why this person chose restricting clothing. And other unrelated thoughts about this person's relationships with people in general. It was, to be honest, distracting. The character they were playing vanished before my eyes.

Kaci, when you said that you put foresight into character choices - my mind exploded with joy. I once used my real sunburn to inspire a character choice. (I exposed my ridiculously red belly) That was a really fun sensation. But it doesn't compare to pre-planning for the possibility of showing panties or other hidden items while in character. I guess most times players don't know the characters they are playing before hitting the stage. But you can always give yourself flexibility.
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

PreviousNext

Return to Improv Theory & Practice

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron