“a wave of excitation transmitted through tissues and especially nerve fibers and muscles that results in physiological activity or inhibition” *
It reminds me of lightning and thunder. A build up of energy, hidden within stormy clouds. Sounds and sparks appear from no where, but they fit. These sounds and lights have been building and brewing. An internal struggle that one can feel in the air, but cannot see with the eyes. Then in an instant, dramatic action happens, and it’s raw and intense.
“emotional in a way that is very extreme or exaggerated; appealing to the emotions” *
In improv I strive to let the energy build on stage much like a thunder storm. I want every opportunity for lightning to strike and to do that, I must bring my own elevated energy onstage as well as follow any impulse. The result of following these unknown sparks may produce thunder or they may produce lightning. But if I wait for the “appropriate” time to follow that impulse, if I decide that it would affect the audience more if I wait just two minutes, I could possibly lose the bolt and fall into melodrama, because I’m thinking of what’s “best” instead of allowing what could be.
For me, that’s what I want my improv to become. I don’t want to dictate where I think a scene should go. I don’t want to plan my character’s arch. I want to follow the primal part of me that I deny in real life.
Melodramatic acting is making an appeal to the audience’s emotions.
“Love me.” “Feel my pain.” “See my anger.”
Impulse acting is making an appeal to my actions.
A long drink of coffee. Touching your partner’s face. Coming into a revelation.
So maybe what I do isn’t improv. It’s impulse.
*Definitions from Merriam-Webster