When I first learned improv, I was very concerned with supporting my scene partners. So concerned that when someone edited a scene I was in, I’d stop in mid-sentence and bolt off stage like I was being pursued by bath-salt zombies.
But then I saw other shows where that happened, and I realised it was distracting, and in most cases, unnecessary.
When your character is mid-sentence and suddenly stops, it’s like yanking a needle across a record (if you’ll forgive the old-timey metaphor).
You’re actually denying the audience a sense of closure, leaving your unfinished thought hanging like a question mark over the next scene.
It’s OK to finish your sentence.
Even if you say it while you’re moving swiftly off stage, it shows the audience that your scene is important. Not more important, but just as important as the one coming after.
As an added bonus, by completing your thought, you’ll often elicit laughter from the audience they’d otherwise miss out on.
Just don’t do a soliloquy while the person who tagged or swept you is standing there, waiting.
A Couple Of Exceptions…
• If a series of rapid-fire tag-outs breaks out, it’s better to keep the energy and momentum by exiting quickly, even if you don’t finish what you’re saying.
• You can also use ellipses within a scene where no one is trying to edit.
In that case, an unfinished thought can be a way to create intrigue and tension, as in this example from David Razowsky:
“I have a tattoo.” (pauses) “Anyway…” (trails off)
Try it at your next show or rehearsal.
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