Theater Talkback: Finding Inspiration in Improvisation

David Yazbek, on seeing the extraordinary improv duo T.J. & Dave at the Barrow Street Theater:

I seldom find explosive inspiration in the theater. I like it fine; it just doesn’t usually knock me into enthusiastic work mode. But T.J. and Dave are like jazz musicians at the top of their game. They clearly are naturally gifted, but decades of acting and improvising have honed their considerable storytelling tools so that they’re fully equipped to go to The Place Where It All Comes From, the place that Buddha and Jesus and these days Oprah talk about — The Now.

And Jeffrey Sweet has a great quote in the comments: “The parallels between great improvisation and dynamic writing cannot be underestimated. A lot of the same principles apply, particularly the injunctions to keep the action in the present tense and avoid lazy adjectives.”

My own playwriting aesthetic is improv-inspired, so I completely agree. And I’ll probably be pointing collaborators to this article as a discussion point for years to come.