Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

This exercise emphasises over accepting and supporting other players on stage. Two people up.

Description

In Yes And the players are constantly saying, ‘yes and’. The mechanism goes something like this. One player may start off with, “Your coat is so lovely.” The response of the other player could be, “YES AND I made it for you.” The other player responds, “YES AND I have a thousand dollars for it.” “YES AND I am going to use that money to make a hundred more coats for you.” The players must always have the ‘yes and’ at the beginning of their sentence. This seems contrived and it is. It is remarkable how much easier it is to notice players that insist on controlling the scene. They cannot bring themselves to accept the offer. The most common response is, “yes and but.” These scenes have a tendency to accelerate into the stratosphere.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

There is a version called, ‘yes but’

Credits

None

 Posted by at 13:21
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

This exercise works on the shared process of building a story together. Everyone into a circle.

Description

Each player in the circle contributes a word into the story. If the first person to speak says “Johnny” the next person could say, “set”, the next person would say “out”. And so on. This is the most commonly used of all the improv exercises and handles. It is also one of the most misused. There is more information about this exercise at the handle Word At A Time. The best way to help the players build stories is to try and keep them in the present tense. In improvisation present tense always works the best. The word at a time stories should also make sense. The players need to be listening to the story so far. Instead of offering the witty word that will make everyone laugh, they should add the next most logical word. This exercise takes control away from those players that tend to drive scenes. If you are finding that sentences are going on too long allow for any of the players in the circle to call out ‘period’ to end the sentence. Banning ‘and’ and ‘but’ are also good ways to keep people from prolonging things and leading to formed sentences.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

None

Credits

None

 Posted by at 13:21
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

This is an environment building exercise that helps players work on making the environment part of their story.

Description

This is essentially an open scene. At any time that the players are not using their environment, or they are doing the talking heads thing someone calls out ‘touch it’. When the players hear that they must interact with their environment is some fashion. This could be picking up a coffee cup, moving a chair, or lighting a cigarette. The call to ‘touch it’ can be directed at players that are blabbing too much. The players must interact with the environment that already exists, and not create too many new things out of thin air.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

None

Credits

None

 Posted by at 13:20
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

One brain, one voice expert, the slow family

Introduction

This exercise develops listening and sharing focus. Five people up in a row all linked together arm in arm.

Description

The object of the exercise is to have the group speak as if they were one person. This is done, not by having one person lead the pack, but by having the pack share each word as it is formed. The players need to all be looking at each other and sharing the focus. It helps to get several groups each speaking in one voice, and having them act out a scene together.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

None

Credits

None

 Posted by at 13:19
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

So what you are saying is.

Introduction

Everyone into a circle for a very structured one sentence at a time story.

Description

This exercise forces listening and gets players taking smaller, more logical steps with their story building. It also helps players when they draw a blank in a performance setting. The first player makes any kind of statement. For instance, “It is a lovely day out.” The next player in the line says, “WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS THAT–It is a lovely day out, SO I WILL–go for a walk.” The goal is to say the next most logical thing in the story. The next player would say “WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS THAT–I’ll go for a walk, SO I WILL–get my shoes.” The story that builds should be a logical one. It will not be a story that will win Pulitzer prizes, but it will make sense. This a great way of combating troupes that are suffering from ‘offer suffocation’ in their shows.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

None

Credits

 Posted by at 13:18
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

This is a silent scene. The players will set up an open scene, but there will be no talking during the scene.

Description

What more can be said. The common pitfalls in the silent scene is to start to use frequent gesticulations, lip reading, and pointing to get concepts across. It is not a charades scene, it is a silent scene. Everything thing is the same as any other scene, except the information is conveyed without speaking aloud.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

This scene can work great as a handle in any show.

Credits

 Posted by at 13:18
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Columns, justification

Introduction

Everyone into two columns.

Description

The players at the front of the columns step forward. The player on the right turns away from the player on the left. The player on the left begins to do a repetitive activity that uses at least three limbs. The player on the right cannot see this activity. Before turning around to look, the player on the right endows the player making the repetitive motions with some role (profession, person, relationship). The job of the player on the left (the wiggly one) is to justify their activity in the context of what character they were endowed with. It goes something like this. The player on the right turns away so she cannot see the player on the left. The player on the left begins to pump her legs and ring circles around her head. The player on the right makes her offer and endows the player on the right, “Constable Flaherty the gnomes are on the grass again” The player on the left, who is pumping her legs and ringing circles around her head, must justify what she is doing within the context of her character. Her reply is, “I am tracking them with my radar officer Corkley.” The exercise is good for getting players away from planning and driving scenes. It also helps work on strong commitment to something that is obvious completely wrong. Both players return to the back of the line that they were not in. Once everyone has tried both endowing and justifying the exercise is done.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

Rope is a variation where the main goals are learning commitment, and being fearless on stage. The remainder of the workshoppers decide if they liked the justification or not. If not they all scream rope and are generally abusive. The player getting harassed must step forward and bow to the crowd, not being concerned at all with the abuse they are receiving. If the player flinches in any way she must immediately repeat the exercise. This version is not for the faint of heart.

Credits

Gary Austin, Groundlings

 Posted by at 13:16
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

none

Introduction

This exercise gets people thinking and asssists with improvisation and working together.

Description

One person stands somewhere and freezes in a position doing something. One by one, people join in to make a photograph. At the end it is worked out what the photo is of and what everyone is doing.

Gimmicks

none

Variations

Make to the photo come to life at the end with everyone doing what their charcter is doing.

Credits

none

 Posted by at 13:15
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

This is a character exercise. Could we have one player sitting on a park bench.

Description

The first player on-stage sits silently, displaying as much about their character as they can without verbalising it. The next player in makes a strong complimenting character choice. A complimenting character may be contrasting or supporting. The player coming on should make strong character choices as soon as they are off their seat. This means the character should be embodied in their walk, voice and intent. The two characters interact for about thirty seconds and the player that was on the bench first finds a reason to leave. This leaves the second player on the bench alone for a while. The next player creates a character and joins the player that is on the bench. This continues until all in the workshop have done one or more characters.

Gimmicks

Lock the players into the characters that they create, and have them meet again on the park bench.

Variations

Info Desk: a series of characters approach a department store info desk, and each request causes the person behind the desk to leave.

Credits

 Posted by at 13:14
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Queen, king

Introduction

We need one player on stage to act as a royal monarch. Everyone else will try to win favour with the monarch.

Description

The monarch sits proudly on stage and is persistently approached by all of the other players in the workshop. The players approach the monarch making strong character choices and making offers to please the monarch. Offers such as “a box of chocolates for your royalness” or “a new necklace for my monarch” are common. The role of the monarch is to accept the offer and decide whether the offer was worthy of that player sitting beside the monarch in an exclusive place in her court. Other players are constantly coming forward in an attempt to gain that exclusive spot by offering better and better goodies for the monarch. An ideal monarch will not base her responses on the goodies themselves, but how well they are presented by the player. If a player offers the monarch a rock, but does it with a strong and committed character the monarch will place them at her side. Only one player may be in the monarch’s favour at any one time. Like all good royalty no commoner may touch the monarch (this keeps the monarch from getting a 10 minute massage instead of accepting new offers).

Gimmicks

None

Variations

If the monarch is bested with an offer she is dies and the new player becomes the monarch. Saint Peters Gate, each player approaches Peter with a reason they should not get into heaven, and Peter finds a reason to get them into heaven. If Peter cannot find a reason to get the player into heaven he is replaced by that player. Beware of these competitive games, the improv rules of story and making everyone else on stage look good must still apply. If things get to competitive just stop the exercise.

Credits

None

 Posted by at 13:13