Neil Casey 401 Notes Day One

These are only for the improv inclined.

I am taking a level 4 class with Neil Casey right now at the UCB. He’s generally considered to be one of the strongest players there and he seems to teach improv relatively infrequently nowadays. I had his first class today and will have it continuing throughout the next four weeks.

I found his notes to be well expressed and direct so I’ve decided to post whatever notes I take each class near verbatim here on my blog, for those interested. Please forgive the shorthand and I hope someone might be interested.


401 Day One

It’s alright to do a bad scene (Transaction, Pitching Ideas, Teaching) try to get out of it. See you’re in it and get out. “Sandtraps not bottomless pits”

Honor the funniest thing in the opening.

Sex is natural, titters from the audience, but not actually unusual not ultimately playable.

Believe these people are real people, real reactions. I will forgive anything else and you will succeed as long as you are real.

Don’t try to be funny. When you try and fail the audience hates you. Even when you succeed, you’ve broken the reality.

“I can’t believe I’m going to do this”
You’re never going to step out with out hesitation, but don’t talk about the scene. (I.e: “This is so hard”, “What if people don’t like this?”) as an initiation.

In life, we avoid conflict, that’s a fact of life, so when you’re playing characters saying fuck you at the top of the scene you’re usually not playing real.

No means “I’m not ready” at the top of the scene or displeasure at improv or the class. Don’t reject the offer.

It’s ok to not be funny, you only fail if you’re not real.

Worst thing is to play a goofball/desperation. A big turnoff for the audience.


One Response to Neil Casey 401 Notes Day One

  1. Lisa says:

    Interesting! Sounds like you will learn a lot and he is very, very good and articulate–a terrific combo in a teacher.

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