Ensemble improvising is only as good as how well the improvisers work together as a team. Here are some exercises that focus on getting improvisers to work together.
Alien, Tiger, Cow Blind Stalker Falling Group Stop Leaving the Couch Massage Redirection
Most improvisers get their laughs from things that they say. We get hooked on saying witty things that make people laugh. The early symptom of this is saying funny things on stage instead of “saying things funny.” Getting laughs is usually what hooks someone into verbal diarrhoea, but some people just can’t shut the frick . . . → Read More: Less Is More
Listening takes place on four levels in improvisational comedy. Scenically players have to be listening to the physical environment. If they are not listening to the mime, they walk through walls and tables. Listening to the words are crucial, the humour of ‘mishearing’ things only goes so far. The players must also listen to the . . . → Read More: Listening
Accepting has a very special term in improvisational theatre. Accepting is predicated by listening, and means that one character has incorporated what another character has created on stage. The most common reason that characters fail to accept is because the actor portraying them is not listening. If a character does not accept that a mimed . . . → Read More: Accepting
Most scenes need to some to an end. Even a conversational character based environmentless babble fest will need to have a resolution. Killing the scene with lights is one way, but the audience will be much happier when scenes end organically by themselves. Characters may fall back in love, evil will be destroyed, or the . . . → Read More: Resolution
Go big or go home. There are no bounds to where we can go with strong mime, and our unbridled imaginations. The choices we make on stage will either add to our characters, or add to the conflict. Making the conflict bigger is a way to make the scene better. Raising the stakes does not . . . → Read More: Raising the Stakes
Conflict is most often what makes a scene interesting. It is rare that there is a lack of conflict in improv comedy scenes. It is more often the case that there is a proliferation of argumentative interpersonal conflict. It is important to explore other conflicts, such as internal conflicts, or conflicts with nature. If conflict . . . → Read More: Conflict
Relationships in an improv scene are the most powerful way to connect with your audience. Everyone has relationships in their lives. Strong relationships between the characters on stage need to be built in a realistic fashion. The stronger the realistic relationships are between the characters on stage, the more the audience will connect with the . . . → Read More: Relationships
Characters are what differentiate a scene from two assholes talking on stage. If you really want to learn characters you should take an acting course from a qualified acting coach. It will do worlds of good for your improv. The following improv structures can help with developing characters.
Hunting the Whatsit Leading
Environment is the base for all improv comedy scenes. There may be the odd Dadaist free form scene that doesn’t need a solid mime environment, but almost every scene will benefit from a strong environment. The following improv stuctures will help strengthen environment.
Corridors Environment Build Environment Scene Environment Shift Split Environments Touch It