If we’re ever on stage together please ask me a ton of questions. You may be hesitant to put the burden of creation on me, your scene partner, but know this: every time I step onstage I plan on making things up. I even rehearse making things up sometimes. I love it. When you ask me questions I get to improvise more. Thank you.
You can ask me a bunch of questions in a row or a weird questions or you can ask me, according to the context of our scene, a dumb question. Be prepared because I may tire of answering you and ask a question right back. Such as, “Why are you asking me so many questions?” or “Are you okay because you are asked me a really dumb questions.”
Questions are a part of life. People who ask dumb questions are also a part of life. Rather than looking at your coach and shrugging when some one asks a question play the reality of the moment. If you have an answer, say it. If you don’t have an answer, say, “I don’t know.” If you don’t like the question, say, “Shut up.”
While most players have a healthy relationship with questions I still encounter a reluctance or a “professionals only” attitude surrounding them. Even among talented players there is an attitude that questions should only be asked when you can’t make a statement. I get a bit chaffed when I hear this. Questions aren’t a problem for authors, playwrights or poets, so why for improvisors? Again, questions are a part of life and any reluctance to incorporate questions and answers into our improv only makes our improv less like life.
I’ll write about this another time but I truly believe that more scenes are ruined by unasked questions than by asked questions.