Interpretation and assumption keep the player from direct communication. This is why we say “show, don’t tell”. Telling is verbally or in some other indirect way indicating what one is doing. This then puts the work upon the audience or the fellow actor, and the student learns nothing. Showing means direct contact and direct communication. It does not mean passively pointing to something. – from Tips and Pointers, Improvisation for the Theater 3rd Edition, Viola Spolin Northwestern University Press.
When you don’t see where you are, all you can do is talk about it.
You get a suggestion for a scene:
Who – A husband and wife. Where – at Disneyland. What – waiting to get on a ride.
Most players will begin the scene with dialogue something like this.
Husband: Well, well, dear isn’t this nice. Look! There’s the Matterhorn. Hi Mickey!
Wife: Sweetie, Let’s go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride after this.
Husband: Do we have to? I’m tired honey, can we sit down?
What’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing really. Except they told in dialogue what they should have been seeing (and didn’t) and they also told their relationship by calling each other honey and dear. After all, that’s what indicates to the audience that there is a husband and wife relationship, right? Where do you go from here? It is likely you’ll use Yes, And… and add more information. Maybe there’s an earthquake or Mickey starts hitting on the wife – and you’d have a pretty funny scene.
But what if you showed where you were and showed you were married rather than telling the audience what they just told you?