To Be Thought Normal – Fast Food Stanislavsky List

To be Thought Normal
Agree with caution.
Ask dull questions.
Check appearance, opinions.
Be concerned about the time.
Dislike bodily contact.
Don’t take up much space – unless trying to imitate others.
Seek reassurance.
Find others strange.
Be formal.
Have a slight smile, or a slight frown.
Have moderate and/or nervous voice.
Keep others at a polite distance (if possible).
Laugh in moderation.
Sit symmetrically.
Small concealed fidgeting.
Speak in clichés.
Try not to make the first move.
Panic momentarily and instantly recover.

Johnstone, Keith. Impro for Storytellers

Lists are ways of giving the players permission to create characters that may be alien to them.

Long ago I directed a play at the Danish State Theatre School and discovered that the students knew hardly anything about the ideas of Stanislavsky (the great Russian director and acting teacher). He believed that if an actor is absorbed in trying to achieve a purpose, automatic systems will kick in (as happened to Tony Curtis, who was screwing up his debut as a messenger-boy until an older actor murmured, ‘Try to get a tip’).

Fast-Food Stanislavsky was my attempt to speed up the learning, and to my astonishment it made the players seem boundlessly imaginative.