Fast Humorous Interpretation POPS!

Humorous Interpretation is an event with much to learn.  Between voices, physicality, and characterization alone the average HIer will be busy.  One of the first things that every Novice to Humorous Interpretation wants to know is how to quicken their pops.  Polishing pops so that they are smooth, fluid, and lightening fast is a skill that requires devotion.  Polished pops can also be a distinguishing feature that places your Humorous Interpretation above another.  Pops can be improved by:

  • PRACTICE.  Your pops will not get any better unless you take the time to practice.  Even when you know your piece cold and feel that your pops are beautiful, fail to practice and retain their crispness and they will begin to get sloppy.
  • Keep it tight.  A trick to having Humorous Interpretation pops look clean is to make them easy for you.  Instead of having these HUGE positions to pop into, why not keep your stances modest?  This is not to say that characters should have little variation between them!  It just means until you gain the speed to transition from a character who requires much space to one who is drawn into themselves, perhaps do not exaggerate the spacial difference as much as you can. 
  • Plan your pops.  Know exactly where you are popping to.  It's kind of like Apparition in Harry Potter.  You have to know precisely where you want to go in order to pop there successfully.  Go through your Humorous Interpretation script and mark out your pops.  Memorize them.  It might even help to label a character and their stance with a number or letter (like the forward, "normal" stance of the narrator is position 1 or A).  This method could help while in rehearsals if you get stuck on a line/pop--all someone could call is 2 and that might be all you need to pop back into the script.  Also, creating a written road-map of pops is yet another method to help you remember and study the pops before you even begin to polish.
  • Know the next line and character's voice.  This is a bit of an elaboration on the previous advice, but it has been said that some people learn their pops better when they can flawlessly deliver the next line with the proper vocalization (tone, pitch, volume, accent?, dynamics, etc.).  This is all a part of knowing where to go because vocal memory is beneficial to muscle memory as well.  If your brain remembers a character's voice without question, then it helps make it easier for you to remember the choreography that goes with it.  Actors learn the lines (and thus vocalization) of a piece first, so if you have part A then part B will follow; a particular line will be associated with a particular bit of movement.  Bottom line? LEARN YOUR SCRIPT!!!!     
  • Know your character's physicality.  Be sure to plan, and instinctively know, the position of your character's feet, their facial expression, what sort of posture they have, how they hold/move their arms, gestures, what direction they face, and any other note of characterization you have created.  Fail to memorize this and pops will take an eternity to learn.  See here for more details.
  • Begin s l o w.  Humorous Interpretation pops are hard because for humorous effect they tend to be very swift and alter from one extreme to another (LARGE to small for instance).  Do not expect to master pops immediately.  Instead, start by transitioning slowly and take in the movement.  Say the line as you do so to cement that cue in your mind.  As you memorize the change begin to increase speed.  Do so gradually and soon you'll be amazed to find yourself as quick as The Flash.
  • Heals?  Ladies, heals and popping have a "it's complicated" type of relationship.  They are noisy on hard surfaces--which can become annoying.  And many schools have tile floors.  They also offer an increased danger of lost balance.  If you are unsure of yourself in heals, DO NOT WEAR THEM.  The last thing you want is to fall over mid pop because of a heal.  If you do feel the desire to wear heals then it is suggested to use a wider one for some stability.  If you are a heal-popping master then congratulations!  Not only do your pops look good, you look good while doing them.

Becoming the cheetah of pops in your Humorous Interpretation round is no small feat.  You must strive for perfection, know your piece thoroughly, and be willing to spend the time and effort required.  Pops may be devised to be unseen transitions that allow for characters to flow, and mediocre pops might suffice, but polish pops to near invisibility and when an audience member judges your technique you will stand apart.