Some personalities think they can get off the hook for show prep and planning because “My talent coach says improv is the key to great performances.” Then they decide to turn on the mic and wing it without show prep. That’s a recipe for disaster. However, a critical skill is mastering the ability to respond spontaneously and being truly in the moment as an active listener. That’s hard for some people, but the improvisational theater concept of Free Association can help.
Free Association is a spontaneous, unrestrained manner of thinking in which ideas are generated without logical or thematic constraints. It’s a flow of consciousness, allowing ideas to connect, drift, and morph. The technique is primarily rooted in psychological practices and was popularized by Sigmund Freud to explore the unconscious mind, but it can be adapted for performers.