Dan Rumney sent in his ideas on “Frames” and they are given below for your reading pleasure! For your greatest reading pleasure, don’t forget the English accent.
I just read your blog post on frames; it got me thinking and, since you solicited email responses, I thought I would respond.
While I know that no article constitutes a complete survey of a topic, I noted that there was an implied assumption that artistic endeavours have some kind of intrinsic value that should be recognizable by all. The performance of Joshua Bell was, presumably, very good, but as a person who is no great fan of violin virtuosity, I was left unmoved. In addition, I am a *great* fan of Mozart, but I know there are many music lovers who can’t abide him. Indeed, Eric put up some comments about 19th century music that ruffled a few feathers.
I guess my point is that the capacity for an individual to enjoy art is bound up with both external framing (as you covered in your post) and internal framing, built on experience and education. If the internal frame is broad enough, it may lead to ‘appreciation’, which I think differs from enjoyment. Appreciation can complement and heighten enjoyment, but it can also exist on its own.
I think this extends to long-form improv. I think it’s an art-form that can be the victim of its own success when played to a mass audience. Truly great improv can be indistinguishable from sketch comedy and an uninitiated audience may be unable to appreciate what they’re seeing and so miss out on levels of enjoyment. As you mention in your article, there is no televisual platform for long-form improv; I would submit that this is because the best improv would look just like a sitcom, with the added risk that some episodes might suck (i’m not saying that improv must look like sitcoms to be considered the best… just that flawless improv ends up looking scripted).
That said, the canon of Christopher Guest would be a counter to that. Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind and other such, highly improvised films, do show that there is an audience for this… but i do wonder how many people appreciated quite what they were seeing.
Anyway… that’s all a bit of waffle; I hope you found it interesting/engaging/distracting/mercifully short. I really enjoyed your post and this isn’t really a point or counterpoint. But, as someone who clearly has a joy of improv and thinks about it a lot, I wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.