Here’s a bit of improv theory:

As outlined in the “Relationship to the Audience” entry, if your job as performer is not to show the scene to the audience, and not to enact or perform the scene for the audience, but only to feel the energy-and-emotions which are the underlying structure of the scene, then what is your relationship to the audience? How do they make a connection to the scene?

As I wrote in that previous entry, your job as performer is to feel the energy of the scene as a physical sensation. You feel it in your body. You use words to feel it physically with your voice. The more you feel it as a physical sensation, the more visible it will be to the audience. The more you feel it physically with your voice, the more audible it will be to the audience.

Therefore, a goal of good technique would be to feel the energy of the scene in as physical a way as possible, using your whole body. A good sentence to say to yourself as part of your preparation for the scene would be “My goal is to experience the flow of feelings-and-energy which constitute the scene as physically as possible, with every cell in my body.”

But what does it mean to “feel the energy of the scene as physically as possible?” Suppose the mood, the energy you feel underlying a certain moment of the scene, is a mood of anxiety, of expectant dread, as if something awful were about to happen. If you tell yourself to “feel the energy more and more physically,” does that mean that you will hunch your shoulders, squint your eyes, dart your glance rapidly at all the corners of the room, and in general act like an extreme caricature of paranoia, straight out of the Yiddish Theater?

Only if you misunderstand the instruction. “Feel it more and more physically” does not mean “do all sorts of physical movements and gestures which represent the concept which you associate with your idea of that energy.” Note that, like all of the improv instructions which I use in my technique, this instruction is not an instruction to do anything at all: not make gestures, not make movements, not anything. It is a “feel this” instruction, not a “do this” instruction. All you need to do is be present inside of your body, and feel the dread and anxiety which are the underlying mood of that particular moment, and concentrate on feeling that this anxiety and dread is a physical sensation, flowing through your arms, legs, torso, your entire body. The slight, involuntary movements that you perform in order to maximize how much you “feel” are more than enough to convey your character’s state of mind, and in a suitably underplayed style.

And speaking of style: suppose you were in a similar situation in a scene, but you could feel that the entire energy of the scene was grossly farcical, exaggeratedly ridiculous and comic? In telling yourself to “feel the energy” of the underlying dread “as physically as possible,” you would, in this case, be led naturally into allowing your body to take on all of the ridiculous, farcical and comic exaggerations of posture and gesture which you wouldn’t have done in a more naturalistic, dramatic scene. The reason for this is that the difference between two scenes, which have essentially the same characters and plot, where one is a naturalistic drama and one is an exaggerated and farcical comedy, is precisely this difference in the physical energy. In the farcical version, the emotions are allowed to overflow into the most grotesquely exaggerated physical form possible. (The words and the character’s reactions to the situation are likewise permitted to overflow into a larger-than-life style.) Intuitively, if you feel that you and your scene partner are both feeling the scene in this comic, farcical style, you will naturally allow your body to take on a more and more exaggerated version of the mood of the scene. Style, too, therefore, is something you and your partner feel as a physical sensation.