Montreal Improv: l-r Bryan Walsh, Kirsten Rasmussen, François Vincent, Marc Rowland (photo credit: Jeremy Bobrow)
Post-traumatic Show Syndrome
A little piece of advice for those times when a show just didn’t work
by Marc Rowland from Montreal Improv
Let’s face it, not every show you do is going to be amazing. Sometimes the actors aren’t clicking, the lighting cues are slow, and the audience seems weird and awkward. You might even get off the stage cursing the day you started performing. But what do you do when a nice audience member approaches you afterwards and says, “good show”? Do you argue or agree?
In this situation, we usually want to explain how much better we can do and how terrible tonight was in comparison to our usual work. I know I do. But Jill Bernard, an improviser and improv teacher in Minneapolis, cautions that this is probably a bad idea. Disagreeing implies that either the person is lying or has poor taste. Her simple suggestion is just to say, “thank you” and think in your head “for saying that”.
Saying ‘thank you’ even if you disagree is such an easy and elegant mantra! Let the audience make up their own minds. If they see a better show from you down the line, they’ll enjoy it even more, and hopefully, will forget that one bad show they saw.
If you want to see more musings on improv from Jill Bernard check out this video.