Thank You Robot member Matt Little shares his thoughts on making assumptions over asking question in improv.
It’s a common thing to do – when we’re presented with an idea that’s foreign to us, we request clarification. We ask what the person meant. We ask if we can do a thing. We ask what the rules are. We ask we ask we ask. In life, an inquisitive nature is fantastic, even encouraged (sometimes it even gets you a million dollars).
But when we’re on stage, that’s not the time for questions OUT LOUD. It’s the time for assumptions.
I watch a lot of very talented performers stop scenes dead in their tracks to ask questions. In essence, what we are doing when we ask questions on stage is asking permission to present the idea we have in our heads. But here’s a secret – you already have permission to present that idea by the very fact that you are on stage.
An improv audience is great because they ASSUME that you know what you’re doing when you step up. As such, you should ASSUME that you have the answers to any question you are about to ask. You may sound a little more forceful on stage than in IRL, but hell, if you can be a bit of an asshole anywhere it’s on stage, right? Also, by making an assumption, congratulations! You’ve also made a DECISION.