Is it my imagination or did a lot of the famous improv teachers yell at their students? Sounds like Viola did.
People said Del Close was often a huge dick to his students.
Keith Johnstone was famous for calling a student’s work horrible and telling them to get off the stage. I’ve heard other stories of popular teachers being mean.
Am I missing something? I would never yell at my students and I think even the worst scenes usually have some crumb of quality that can be noted.
Should I start being meaner?
I took Viola’s yelling to be her passion. She never once used the word good or bad or horrible or any other judgmental word. She was all about what you did – Objectively, not subjectively, albeit with a raised voice sometimes.
Paul Sills on the other hand could be more scathing. He had Viola’s temper but not the same awareness that evaluation in a loud voice is meant to help rather than hurt.
I once asked Paul why he did that. He told me “I don’t know what to tell them. I’m a director, not a teacher. I want to shake them up and maybe something will happen.”
He was indeed a teacher but his manner had some anger in it. I took that to mean ‘you are trespassing on the sacred’ and it angered him more than prompted him to solve the problem of the unaware student.