Anyone who has taken an improv course with The Second City will be able to tell you the most important phrase: “Yes, And”. Rather than being simply two words strung together, it is a state of mind that all of the performers adhere to. Learning how to say “Yes, And” will help your performances, as well as your life outside of improv class!
The Process of Saying Yes
On the first day of your improv class in Level A, your teacher will discuss what “Yes, And” means and how that mentality will carry you through any and all improv classes you take. The basic concept of these two words is that you are up for anything, and will go along with whatever gets thrown your way. Essentially, you don’t use the word “No” in improv very often! The “And” part comes in when you are in a scene and can add to what your partner started rather than detract from it.
A large part of improv is that you are always there for your scene partner or partners, and, in turn, they are always there for you. This is the goal of “Yes, And”! By saying yes to your scene partner, you create something much more entertaining. If you start a scene by saying that you are an alien, and your scene partner completely commits to also being an alien, being abducted by an alien, etc., both of you know you can count on the other person. On the other hand, if you start by saying you are a puppy, but your scene partner says “Wait, I thought you were a cat!”, the scene is compromised. Not only do you feel less confident, but also the audience is less entertained.
“Yes, And” in Real Life
While “Yes, And” is the cornerstone of improv at The Second City, this phrase can also become a part of your real life. It is important to take risks, and one risk you can take is signing up for improv courses at The Second City! Even if you have no acting aspirations, these classes can teach you a lot, whether you are in marketing, teaching, finance, etc. Aside from learning how to say yes, you’ll be able to just be a kid for a couple of hours each week, and just be silly and have tons of fun!
These lessons are more than how to perform short improv scenes, they can help those with anxiety, bring people out of their shell, encourage people to take on new challenges in life, and more!
If you are interested in learning how to say “Yes, And”-both in class and in real life-sign up for one of our many classes, especially Improv Level A today!