Project Description

Focus on Reflection vs. Content

Mirror Speech gives a good example of true improvisation. It is not turn-taking or mimicking. Rather it allows both players to explore ideas and let the story (such as it is) go where it will. It will often become a flight of fanciful ideas. Listen to the explanation Viola Spolin makes after the exercise.

Things to Help Mirror Speech

  1. Avoid lists – Old information, mentally treading water, regurgitating what one already knows, keeping the conversation ‘earth-bound’ and makes flights of fancy harder.
  2. Avoid questions – other than rhetorical questions it is not a dialogue but a reflection
  3. Avoid using the word “I” – Again, Old information. It makes for separate opinions (subjectivity) and keeps the players from merging into one voice. It will also keep the players ‘earthbound’.

Throughout Orientation, pleasure and enthusiasm must set the tone. If players are apprehensive and anxious, constantly looking to see if they are doing “right,” in your urgency you may be a pedant rather than a leader or guide of the group. You may be giving too many problems in one session, not allowing players to have the experience of flow as they would from a game.

— Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater