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  • katybateson

Conscious conflict


What is conscious conflict?


Conscious conflict is when the improvisers on stage make a conscious choice for the scene to have conflict in. The conflict doesn’t come from a place of fear or not knowing what else to do in the scene but a choice to advance the story and raise the stakes.


Conflict is absolutely essential in improvisation and storytelling but it needs weight and importance.


When we see a scene with 2 strangers arguing about waiting for a bus it has no emotional weight, there is nothing at risk and the audience simply don’t care about the 2 characters.


But if we see a scene with 2 life long friends arguing about one friend forgetting the others birthday. How one friend feels like they are growing apart, that they’re scared of loosing their friend and they don’t know who’d they’d be without them. If scenes contain conflict that contains vulnerability and emotional connection and advances the story line they are interesting to watch.


This scene would be even better if the previous scenes involving the 2 life long friends had been positive and conflict free. If the improvisers had taken the time to develop the normality of that relationship, showed the love and kindness of the friendship, allowed the audience to connect and care about them. Then the conflict scene would have meant more, the audience are invested and the characters have more to loose.


We need to make conflict a conscious choice and choose when characters disagree or argue because it’s right for the scene and the story.

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