Scene Work By Numbers – Saturday February 27th
by Piero Procaccini
Have you ever been lost in a group scene – not exactly sure when to speak and when to hold back? Have you ever watched or participated in a scene that felt great but you couldn’t figure out why? This is the class for you. In this course, students will be introduced to techniques developed to navigate 3-person scenes and then those fundamentals will be used to explore the rhythm and musicality of dialogue and scène work. It’s as simple as 1-2-3.
PIERO PROCACCINI has been studying and performing improv and sketch comedy in Chicago for 10 years. He has taught classes at IO and Second City and offered workshops at theatres around the country. He was Assistant to the Director for “From Fear to Eternity” in the Second City ETC Theatre and has directed many improvisors who have gone on to perform in the touring company and on resident stages in Chicago. While in Chicago, he spent several years performing with Johnny Roast Beef and American Dream and coaching Otis and Carl and the Passions. Most recently, he has been cruising the high seas performing for Second City aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Notes for posterity:
Piero did a great job of breaking down the anatomy of group scenes and how to transfer focus from two people to another. It was an easy way of recognizing how to work your way through a group scene by knowing which number you were in any given scene. The person that was number 1 in the scene – the scene was about that person. The 2nd person had to make the scene about person 1 and the third person would be active “scenery” (in the scene but not participating in the discourse – until the numbers were re-distributed within scene context). The most interesting part of it for me was the idea that you didn’t have to be involved in what was taking place between the main characters (#1 and #2) but could relax and just interact with your space work. With the shoe on the other foot, it was great as well, because when you were a main character, you didn’t feel the need to “include” in your conversation the 3rd person onstage. Everyone onstage was aware of each other but didn’t feel pressured to interact immediately with each other, so the scenes could play out naturally.
New Exercise highlight:
He also introduced us to a new exercise of talking without self-editing and blurting out the first thing in our head. Two people would sit in chairs, and he would be right in front of them, “directing” them to elaborate on certain things that they said without stopping to think or themselves from editing their dialogue. The talking was non-stop, no pause in style. So in all likelihood you didn’t have time to think.