It is so predictable the way most people who are “doing improv” will play children. They immediately start arguing and whining in fake “kid talk” playing annoying, dumb and argumentative, spewing conflict and denial all over the stage.
It’s the most obvious, most boring portrayal of children imaginable. It’s yucky and it’s gross! Once again, as so often happens in improv, when there’s the desperate rush to be funny, there is a separation from your own best instincts, from the other players and from the space. As always, it can only help to focus on what’s your relationship not only to the other players, but to the space. Think about it. You’re a kid. So you’re always looking up. The reality is, most kids are really smart, based to a great degree on the fact that they spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to negotiate their status in a world where even if they’re the smartest one in the room, usually everyone is two or three times bigger than them. Not only that, they haven’t been around as long as us older, more cynical humans. So they’re also exploring a wonder-filled world where there are new discoveries happening all the time, where the other little kids can be your allies as well as enemies. Kids play together. Sometimes they fight, but kids like to get along, to share, trust and feel trusted. Playing the positive qualities in a kid makes for a much more interesting character who can move forward in a scene exploring, agreeing and creating. Every improviser should know that any character you play has to be played at the top of your brains, including playing little kids. And playing that way allows you to truly access the playful kid in you. And isn’t that what improv is really all about?