Directing Comedy

by Sacha Kyle | 1 September 2014

Absolutely nothing beats the feeling of being in the middle of a room filled with laughter.

“Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It’s the sweetest
thing one can do for oneself and one’s fellow human beings.”
Maya Angelou

I have been a fan of comedy and all things comical for as long as I can remember. Some of my first memories are from around the time when I was about five years old and living in Scotland. Our family gatherings always involved singing and storytelling and I can vividly remember the atmosphere as each person took centre stage in the living room to present their “piece”. Each family member, and sometimes neighbours or strangers off the street, always seemed to be naturally funny (I’m sure whisky may have helped in these situations) and the wonderful effect that a room full of laughter had on everyone was imprinted in my memory. Comedy brings people together. It’s a force that unites people instantly and one that can cross both social and language barriers. Travelling with ISTA around the world has proven this to me time and time again. As a director I really love working in comedy and have gathered a few helpful rules along the way:

Comedy rule #1: trust your instinct
My work as a director has always involved comedy. It’s in my blood. I wouldn’t say I have funny bones as I can never seem to remember a punch line, but I somehow instinctively know the difference between what is funny and what is not within the way a line is delivered, a look, a beat.

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