Accusations: Three Exercises
Okay! I present here for improv nerdy delight and judgment a series of exercises on handling accusations in a scene. Each one evolved out of the previous one, and I think they’re each useful for different levels.
When I say “handling accusations” I mean treating accusations like gifts rather than an excuse to fight or to prove your character “right.”
And when I say “accusations” I mean both:
- Actual accusations, like: “Hey, Jeremy, YOU were supposed to invite people to this party!”
- And the related ‘explain this' statement which is less angry but still makes the other person 'weird': “Jeremy, I hired you to be the clown for my son's birthday party, why are you discussing philosophy with them?”
Both of these things can bait people into either being defensive or deflecting or fighting, so it’s good to practice responding to them.
(Also: great scene ideas in my examples, as always)
EXERCISE ONE: SUPER VILLAIN / MASTERMIND
Saying “No” To Offensive Things
"Improv question! Do you have any advice for if someone makes an offer you don’t agree with on a personal level (for example sexist, racist, offensive, in poor taste, etc), how to accept it and build on it and move the scene forward in a positive way supporting the improviser and keeping the fun going while also keeping integrity and not necessarily agreeing with or implying you condone/accept the nasty thing itself?"
I think this is a really interesting question so I’m going to talk forever about it. Spoiler: My answer is: Trust your gut and don’t do the thing you don’t want to do. A slightly more advanced answer is: trust your gut and push back, but say why you don’t and stay open to discussing it more, in character, for the sake of the scene.
I believe “accept the offer” means “tell me what your character truly thinks of this and why,” not “you have to do this now.”
But let’s use many examples and get into this, it’s a common and tricky thing.