Grabbing Onto Mistakes

I was doing a scene with a guy once (I think in a pre-show warm-up) and he said he was headed off to the job. Then, probably remembering our teacher’s weekly admonishments that “specificity is key” he immediately added factory. It created a slight bobble in his speech, a mistake.

“Honey, I’m headed off to the job. Uh, factory.”

I can remember the moment very clearly. One of those moments that cemented itself into my mind. I had a second of indecision, a second of wavering. Should I call out the mistake or let it go? I probably hesitated too long but at any rate, I choose to risk being a jerk, snatched the opportunity, and said, “The job factory!”


I remember he gave me a look and I felt like I was still on that edge of jerkiness, but from there I had this idea to keep going, mentioning how great it was that he had such stable employment these days, since jobs were in steady demand.

It turned into a fun scene. Enough that I can still remember it a year later. And it tagged out to another scene set at the factory.

I’ve heard people say that everything in a scene is a gift, there aren’t any mistakes. Use it all. On the flip, I’ve seen people (mostly in jams) be real pains and make a big deal out of someone making a blunder in their speech, clearly using it as a weapon. I don’t want to be an ass, but I also don’t want to miss great opportunities to make interesting scenes by glossing over things.

Maybe it comes back to attitude/intent? Am I pouncing on the weird/interesting/wrong thing you said or did because I know it leads to new and fun things? Or am I doing it to try to make you look bad and/or me look smart? Is my goal to build something with you, or it it to make sure I come out on top?


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