Structure of Sponteneity

Structure of Sponteneity - The Structure of Spontaneity...

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The Structure of Spontaneity from Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell One Saturday evening not long ago, an improvisation comedy group called Mother took the stage in a small theater in the basement of a supermarket on Manhattan’s West Side. It was a snowy evening just after Thanksgiving, but the room was full. There are eight people in Mother, three women and five men, all in their twenties and thirties. The stage was bare except for a half dozen white folding chairs. Mother was going to perform what is known in the improv world as a Harold. They would get up onstage, without any idea whatsoever of what character they would be playing or what plot they would be acting out, take a random suggestion from the audience, and then, without so much as a moment’s consultation, make up a thirty-minute play from scratch. One of the group members called out to the audience for a suggestion. “Robots,” someone yelled back. In improv, the suggestion is rarely taken literally, and in this case, Jessica, the actress who began the action, said that the thing that came to mind when she heard the word “robots” was emotional detachment and the way technology affects relationships. So, right then and there, she walked onstage, pretending to read a bill from the cable television company. There was one other person onstage with her, a man seated in a chair with his back to her. They began to talk. Did he know what character he was playing at that moment? Not at all; nor did she or anyone in the audience. But somehow it emerged that she was the wife and the man was her husband, and she had found charge on the cable bill for porn movies and was distraught. He in turn, responded by blaming their teenaged son, and after a spirited back-and-forth, two more actors rushed onstage, playing two different characters in the same narrative. One was a psychiatrist helping the family with their crisis. In another scene, an actor angrily slumped in chair. “I’m doing time for a crime I didn’t commit,” the actor said. He was the couple’s son. At no time as the narrative unfolded did anyone stumble or freeze or look lost. The action proceeded as smoothly as if the actors had rehearsed for days. Sometimes what was said and done
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2011 for the course MBA 590 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Ill. Chicago.

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Structure of Sponteneity - The Structure of Spontaneity...

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