University of Southern California
  Modeling Creative and Emotive Improvisation in Theatre Performance







Experimental Designs


Our approach is based on studying improvisation by the actors following the active analysis framework, guided/loosely constrained by a script where we monitor evolution as they “fill the gaps”. We will also have variants on a two-sentence exercise.

Stanislavsky's Active Analysis

In Active Analysis, the actors play conflicting forces that jointly interact. The balance of the forces determines the direction of the play. The scripts play the role of guiding the events (skeleton). The course of the play can be close or different from the script. This degree of freedom gives us an opportunity to work at different level in the improvisation spectrum.

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    The basics of Stanislavsky's Active Analysis

  • Identify the context
  • Determine who carries Action and who plays the Counteraction
  • Determine what is the event that ends the scene
  • Each actor picks a playable verb to use for the Action or the Counteraction
  • Rehearse before presentation
Human-centered Technologies Laboratory

VICON Motion capture system with 12 cameras

Detailed body motion information

Recording of two-person interaction

Body motion is modeled with a 45-marker skeleton

Experimantal company

Experimental company of actors from the Drama Deparment at the University of Southern California, directed by Dr. Carnicke and Natalie Peyser

Current actors

Karan Soni   Kylie Sparks
Rachel Lear   Alessandra Masciarelli
Silvija Padjen-Pajovic   Rina Cohen
Jonathan Langley   Lisa Dring
Dan Lippert   Julia Mellvaina
Rose Leisner    
Stephanie Matsuba    


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(c) 2004 Speech Analysis & Interpretation Laboratory

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