12Night Forum: Physical Comedy & Biomechanics. Read archives and subscribe yourself!

I do not teach movement, but I teach actors to use space-time... I should I say --CREATE IT! Movement is the changes in this YOUR chronotope, which you build out of the empty space. You establish it (the rules) and then play by the rules you introduced to the public.

What do I mean?

Read about Acting Areas -- the stage zones you, actor, assigned for different emotions of your character. Your motion between them is the DRAMATIC NARRATIVE in movement.

Use the geomentry in your floor plans: line, triangle, circle. The basic movement design for your character, scene, monologue. Make it simple, easy to read -- and stick with it! Everything on stage must be CHOREOGRAPHED! Your movement is DANCE.

If you don't know what you mean by changing your place, don't move at all!

That is why so many scenes and monologues are so static...

Go Biomechanicanical!


Do you know how to walk?
How to enter and exit?

Chicken Act - Act Gateway Page - Go!

If you haven't read the page on Biomechanics, you don't see what I see -- the actor1 and actor2. The Actor-Creator and Actor-Medium.

The photo is from my Russian collection (Interstudio)

I don't like the idea of "classes in movement" -- what is not movement on stage? Perhaps this is the reason why I use the Biomechanics in all levels of acting training. And, yes, I like the "mechanical" aspect of it, especially, when we go through comedy as genre. I like the rule of repetition (e.i. each gesture introduced by actors has to be used at least three times). I impose on them the levels requirement (low - medium - high). like the simplicity of the OUTSIDE approach.

I don't want to start a new page on Improvisation and I will post the basic rules of Improv on this Move Page. Biomech Repetition!


Visualization and Physicalization
We use improvisation for different purposes:

Character Development

Why do you need to do it?

To try different physical designs for your character. The WALK, for example. To HAVE a character is a first goal and rule of Improvisation. Go for a two or even one-dimensional stock character. Drunk, blind, pregnant, total idiot and etc. You can learn a lot about comedy, if you stick to one and only feature.

Two. You have to have some situation. The more extreme, the better. Fire, dying, stuck in elevator, bathroom is very popular.

Unless you're trained to think fast and have a good partner, you'll get stuck in the middle. Before you go into improvisation scene, you have to understand that the end has to be an opposite to your beginning and there is a "twist"! The same law of composition: "1 - 2 - 3"! You don't have to know it in advance, you must know that it is there. The contrast is everything in comedy. Tall and short, fat and skinny, fast and slow. Everything that can enhance the open conflict is good, throw it in!

Script Development

To help a playwright to see the potentials of the text. Again, don't improvise for everything at once. Set a goal. Is it a "situation" defining improv? Character? What side of the character you want to explore?

Actor's Mental Development

To help you "loosen up," to think on your feet, to respond, to train yourself on Re-ACTING. This is the skills development exercise. Could be an accent, a speech pattern, a walk and etc. Be specific. If you work on your "master gesture" -- get it, keep it, and only then you can move on other target. It takes a step-by-step development to get your character shaped.

If you feel weak in certain areas, identify them and keep working separately on each.

I use Entrance & Exit exrcises to define the roles assigned in class. The door is your tool. How do you open it? How do you step in? Establish the stages of this process.

Every book on acting could give lists of suggested situations. I ask students to bring in class no less than five (5) of their own. Then we pick the best. Now you know the criteria for selection.

First assignment for Monologue 1 is Character "History" development. In class we improvise different situations, when you try to stay "in-character" and find how YOUR CHARACTER would react (outside of a situation of the monologue).


Improv for character development is different from improvization for scene development or script development. Don't mix those different tasks.




Bring in class 3-5 situations for improv. 3-5 ideas for the characters.