Physical comedy is simply storytelling through actions. All the same rules apply: you still have to set up your storyline, develop it, and sell the punch line…but now you must do it almost entirely through body movement. Here’s how to get started:
-What Story Are You Trying to Tell? A great example is in Mrs. Doubtfire, starring the late great Robin Williams. His character, Daniel Hillard, is trying to prepare the first meal for his family in his new role as Euphegenia Doubtfire. While attempting to make a several gourmet dishes, s/he leans over the stove and sets his/her chest (and foam falsies) on fire, then has to put them out with pot lids. The fiasco makes it very clear what s/he must do: s/he’s got to get her/himself out of her/his current situation quickly (s/he ends up having food delivered) and then prepare for next time so he doesn’t risk getting caught and losing the ability to see his kids every day. The entire scene is done with almost no dialog, but you know exactly what he’s thinking and feeling.
-Develop Your Story: This is a PERFECT place to use The 9 Questions of Intentional Acting!! Who’s the most important person in the scene? How do you make it personal? What’s at stake? When you keep these in mind, you’ll create your intention…and your body will follow suit!
-Sell the Punch Line: This is your payoff. The foot caught in the bucket, the slip on the banana peel, the trip over the ottoman. It can be as subtle as eating something awful and trying not to let the hostess see your reaction or as big as a cream pie in the face. Whatever it is, be in the moment 100%!
Next Up: Build your physical funny! #intentionalacting.com
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