Washington Improv Theater offered a workshop last weekend led by Bobbi Block, artistic director for Philadelphia improv troupe Tongue & Groove. One of her key points was that to ground our characters we must work from an Emotional Point of View (EPOV). We all do this every day, though in general I’d say most of us are pretty good at putting our real EPOV aside most of the time in order to play nice in the real world. Well, as usual with improv vs. “real life” we get to drop the bullshit and be real.
The exercises we played that addressed Bobbi’s principle led me to the conclusion that many of us have very small “emotional dictionaries” from which to pull an EPOV for a scene, or even to name our own real life EPOV at any given time.
How are you feeling right now?
Fine? Me too. So… do I want to see a scene about a bunch of people feeling fine? Not really.
I googled Emotions. Here is a tidbit from Wikipedia I liked as a start.
Plutchik’s wheel of emotions
|Basic emotion||Basic opposite|
|Advanced emotion||Composed of…||Advanced opposite|
|Optimism||Anticipation + Joy||Disappointment|
|Love||Joy + Acceptance||Remorse|
|Submission||Acceptance + Fear||Contempt|
|Awe||Fear + Surprise||Aggressiveness|
|Disappointment||Surprise + Sadness||Optimism|
|Remorse||Sadness + Disgust||Love|
|Contempt||Disgust + Anger||Submission|
|Aggressiveness||Anger + Anticipation||Awe|
How might these basic sets of emotions or blends of emotions might inform a character and inform his/her reactions to the situation and other characters on stage?