There seem to be such big differences between how one theater's school of improv thought approaches scene work and another theater's school of thought.
When I watch UCB, they often initiate with a very clear game.
When I watch many other theaters, they seem to initiate with their focus on how they connect to their scene partner's character.
I think all theaters focus on the same elements within a scene, what seems to differ is what they focus on the most and how they focus on it.
There's also talk about pace. UCB is considered fast, and they are lightning fast. Others, like say people form iO, are considered "slow," for lack of a better term.
When I visited UCB recently I thought what I always think when I see UCB people perform, "My gosh they are so fast." Meaning, "How did they come up with such a well crafted hilarious line so fast?"
I also visited Magnet and saw Kornfeld and Andrews. One might think I wouldn't exclaim at how fast they were. Much to the contrary I was still amazed at their speed, but in a different way. The first words out of Louis Kornfeld's mouth made me say to myself, "My gosh, how was he so fast?" Meaning, "How did he get so present in the world he was in so fast?" Kornfeld certainly is "slow," for lack of a better term, and deliberate, but he is super fast at rooting himself in to the world of the scene.
Maybe the difference is game work vs. character work. Again, this is not to say that UCB doesn't focus on character at all or that Magnet and others don't focus on game at all. I just think from which they choose to expound upon to create scenes is a different element within the scene.
A big part of the reason I think about it is because I'm in a theater with a curriculum that utilizes thought from various improv theaters. This leads to some people in the company having one approach and others having another. When they end up on the same team it gets tricky for the coach to know how to come up with stuff that best suits them.
I'm a nerd and this is a boring, indulgent thought that gets me thick into the culture of improv and I generally don't like getting super culture-y about anything. So, bye, end of the blog!