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  • Writer's pictureFeña Ortalli

Refining the terminology

Impro. Improv. Improv show. Improvised Theatre. Improvisational Theatre. Improv Comedy. Improv Festivals. Is it all the same?

Do we have different names for the same thing, or do we use the same name for very different things?

Is impro (or improv) a tool or the application of such a tool? Do we teach the technique and philosophy of improvisation as a general concept to apply to whatever our students want?

Can we teach impro without teaching theatre? Do we know enough about theatre to teach it?

Is an impro show the same as an improvised theatre play? How do you “sell” it? Is it absolutely necessary to use the word impro(v) in our marketing?

Do we organize impro festivals, conventions, congresses, gatherings? What are the characteristics of each event? Should I pay or get paid to attend these events?

Is it all comedy? Are there dramatic impro “shows”? Should we call them differently? Should we add the word “dramatic” to our marketing strategies?

Should an impro show/play be 100% improvised? Can we have some scripted parts? Are we betraying the impro gods by doing so? Are there any impro gods at all?

Does our audience know what you mean by short form or long form? Do you? Is it important at all? Is one thing better than the other? Can they all coexist in the same universe?

Does using a format (Harold, Armando, Match, Catch) mean that you have to play it the same way as everyone else? Should we use already existing formats, or should we create our own?

Questions. I love them. I love them more than their answers. Because they open the conversation, and the arguments, to eventually arrive at a consensus and definitions. Answers.

So, I leave the last question.

Should we have a worldwide convention where we discuss these matters and eventually reach a consensus to refine the terminology we use in our community?

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