Making It Up vs. Sticking to the Script

What’s more fun to watch? A group of rag-tag actors improvising in hopes of making you laugh, or a fully-realized performance with every aspect perfected to a T?

There’s something absolutely impressive about a group that can improvise. And do it well. The natural ability to pull quick-witted phrases from the air? Enviable. The way they make it seem like it requires no effort at all? Never fails to impress.

Mute Button Skit from Improv Everywhere

In reality, I don’t think the two are comparable. Both can be brilliant in their own right.

“The Glorious Ones” seems to argue that improvisation requires more skill. The troupe transitions from their rowdy, improvised street performances to a more static, scripted version of their shows. This shift demonstrates that although the scripted play may be technically beautiful, it lacks the heart that was once found in their work.

You can see a perfect example of this stilted-style of performance in this little gem from Moulin Rouge. The lovers sing-shout at each other, barely touch – and yet it’s supposed to convey some version of reality.

The last line of this scene always kills me…but the only clip I could find wasn’t in English

…I kinda love it even more.

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2 thoughts on “Making It Up vs. Sticking to the Script

  1. Improv and scripted performances really cannot be compared. Both can inspire if done well, or just about kill you if done poorly. Unfortunately, some improv troupes put crap on stage and say “well, that’s improv!” I hate this. Who would create a crappy stage performance and then excuse it with, “well, that’s acting”? Improv can be amazing, but one does have to actually work at it.

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