Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

The following musical will be based on a general theme.

Description

This long form starts with the accompanist getting a series of notes drawn from a box of audience suggestions (A, c#, g-major) and creating a musical motif based on the random suggestions. Immediately following that the other players in the show launch into a montage of scenes for three minutes total. The scenes are loosely structured on the exercise 1-2-3-4. After the musical and scenic montages are complete the musical begins. The characters, locations, music and conflicts that are used in the musical are used in the 45 minute musical.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

None

Credits

J. Wilkinson, J. Rosen, T. Pettigrew

 Posted by at 14:43
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Time travel

Introduction

We will first present a simple neutral scene that is based on a suggestion from the audience. Then we will see a series of scenes that led up to or were consequences of the first scene you saw.

Description

The first scene must establish some strong characters. Following the first scene the host will start to call out time references: five minutes ago, ten years from now. Each call out from the host is a signal for a new scene. Each scene will somehow be connected to the initial scene, through either characters, location or consequences.

Gimmicks

Call out zero seconds from now, or 5 million years in the past.

Variations

Let the audience call out time lines.

Credits

None

 Posted by at 14:42
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Show me.

Introduction

Get an ask for that will allow the beginning of an open scene.

Description

Sometime during the first scene one of the players must make a reference to something that has happened or is going to happen. When this happens the host will call out ‘show me that’. The players will break out the scene that they were in and jump to the scene in question. For example, if one of the players says, “you know what happened the last time you brought in the milk.” Show me that would cause the players to switch to that scene immediately. Show me that can also signal a dimming of the lights to facilitate a scene change. The is a very hard long form to maintain a connected story. If no temporal reference comes forward the host can simply call Show me that and the players will respond accordingly.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

Allow the audience to call out show me that. See the long form Meanwhile… which is quite similar.

Credits

None

 Posted by at 14:41
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Musical

Introduction

What is something that you would like to see a musical about?

Description

The pimped musical is very similar to the handle Musical. The difference is that there is more dialogue between the songs and there should be a structure to the musical. The musical director is the accompanist. The players and the accompanist must have some mechanism of communicating when a song is going to start. Players can signal an impending song by taking a step forward, changing the cadence dialogue, or simply saying that they are going to sing a song. For the accompanist she must be able to differentiate for the players whether she is doing background music or she is pimping a song. It is crucial that the accompanist be a skilled improviser in every fashion that improv has to offer. The songs must be discrete within the dialogue. A pimped musical will typically have a song from each character, songs describing the plights of the protagonist and antagonist. The musical must also end with a chorus line, fireworks, and choir.

Gimmicks

Many

Variations

Sing me that, is a version of a musical where the audience can call out sing me that and a song must seemlessly start about that topic in question. Musical styles can be written down by the audience and kept in a bin beside the accompanist.

 Posted by at 14:40
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

This scene will involve location directions from your host as the scenes progress.

Description

Meanwhile is simply a mechanism to change scenes. Meanwhile is called in the form of the classic comedy gag, “MEANWHILE, back at the fort grandma is beating off the attackers”. The meanwhile is added when a scene has ended, or starts to slow down. The meanwhile is usually a lighting cue to dim the lights while the players change location. The lighting cue is not a blackout, a blackout would indicate the end of the long form itself. The meanwhile can be used to introduce new characters, “meanwhile Jackie’s date waits patiently near the briar pits”, introduce a new location, “meanwhile back at the rocking chair factory.” The meanwhiles must be properly spaced and eventually must bring the story back to its origin.

Gimmicks

Calling a meanwhile that described the exact scene, location and characters that is presently on-stage.

Variations

Get a bunch of meanwhiles written down by the audience and interject them as needed.

Credits

None

 Posted by at 14:40
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Day In The Life, Life Story, This Is Your Life

Introduction

We would like a volunteer to give us a few stories that they can remember from the key points in their life. Commonly one from their childhood, adolescence, work, marriage, parenting, etc. (once this info is required move onto step two) Could someone visiting with our brave volunteer please describe her in one word.

Description

The set up of this long form is quite important. Many troupes use this long form for stags, does, anniversaries, or retirement events. Often most of this information will have been gleaned before the show, as the unsuspecting person will have been set up to have their life on stage. Choose your protagonist well. Explore their life with each scene. Be sure to use the main offer from each stage of their life. Colour each scene with the single word that can be used to describe the protagonist. Be careful not to make too much fun of them. Going over someone’s life in a humorous fashion is great, a forty-five minute roast by strangers does not go over well. Like most good stories have the protagonist come out as the winner. The protagonist need not be in every scene. Her potential employers can talk about her before and after that key job interview scene. This long form allows for handles to be worked in throughout the story. For instance, the protagonist might be pimped into singing her love for her favourite kind of ice cream.

Gimmicks

Have the protagonist accidentally killed at birth and end the show.

Variations

Documentary form the protagonist is being studied by erudite sociologists. The protagonist can be in the show, starring as herself, if handles and structures are used that protect her from cruel embarrassment and make her look good on stage.

Credits

None

 Posted by at 14:39
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Herald, Sheila, Binkey

Introduction

We are about to perform a series of scenes loosely connected to one theme. May I get a general theme please.

Description

The Harold is simply a series of scenes that are connected by a common very general theme. The theme must be asked for very carefully. Nouns are generally discouraged, but you may take the closest ‘theme’ associated the noun and do a Harold based on that. For instance, ‘toothbrush’ could be a set up for the theme ‘cleaning’. This would allow for all kinds of cleaning to take place: cleansing of souls, janitorial jobs, erasing disks, etc. The scenes in a Harold are almost all open scenes. There is no rule that a game based on the theme could not be played, but there should not be a set up for the handle within the Harold. When a series of open scenes are being played it important that all the players understand how to signal a scene change. The easiest way to signal scene transitions is to have someone else do it for the players. This can be done by dimming, but no blacking out the lights. When the lights dim it is a signal that a scene has ended, and players should be up to start a new scene immediately. The next method is to have players from offstage clap their hands to end a scene (this is probably where the synonym ‘Herald’ arose from). When someone claps their hands off-stage the players on-stage cut out and are replaced. Probably the most sophisticated method is where the players simply block each other out on-stage. Players that are coming on to start a new scene enter down-stage (in front of) to the players that are doing the scene. Players that are joining the scene arrive from upstage (behind) the players doing the scene. How does a Harold end? Hopefully the scenes will organically start to flow together with recurring characters such that one story is dominating all the scenes and new scenes are in support of the singular story. So the Harold will end when the story ends.

Gimmicks

Many

Variations

Many

Credits

Many

 Posted by at 14:38
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Spoon River

Introduction

Can we get from the audience the name of a fictional small town, and an occupation for each of the players on the stage please. You will now see a long form scene that will tell the stories of these people and their interactions in their small town.

Description

This is a very structured long form. It can only really work well as a handle if it is given the time to develop as a long form. The premise is that all the players weave a story about how all their lives interact in this small town, and how that interaction leads to their untimely death. The players are all lined up on stage. The first time through each player takes a minute to introduce themselves. They must be sure to cover all aspects of their character, it is a good choice to develop a physicalization that represents your character when it returns to your chance. The next wave through the players tell a little bit about their day and start to mention other characters on the stage. These will be the only characters mentioned. The characters come on in no particular order, but it is essential that all the characters speak. The next wave through some conflict is brought up, or there is some kind of foreshadowing of gloom. Whenever an event takes place most of the characters should comment on how it impacts them from their perspective. This can go on for sometime as long as the story is interesting. Ultimately the last words from all the characters either describe the death of themselves or another character from the story.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

Obviously it does not have to end up in death. If your troupe is big enough the players may speak their pitch while other players act out the scene.

Credits

This is a take off on a piece of literature called Spoon River by Edgar Lee Masters.

 Posted by at 14:38
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

Minstrel, musical mc

Introduction

The follow improvisation will be longer than usual. It will be directed by a balladeer, yet remains entirely improvised.

Description

The structure of the balladeer is a very simple one. The accompanist and the singer start off with a simple song that may introduce a character, a location, or foreshadow some event. The musical bits are meant to be short. Thirty seconds to a minute is usually enough to pass on some information from the story. Simultaneous to the ballads the players are acting on-stage. They work silently while the balladeer sings, and start to vocalize as the ballad ends. The ballad is used as a chance to change scenes, rescue a scene that not working out, or to bring closure to a scene that has come to some kind of conclusion. There usually are no blackouts during a balladeer, all the changes are made by the balladeer. The players should also recognize that if the balladeer gets into trouble then the players need to step in with a scene. A smart group will put their best storyteller as their balladeer, not the best singer.

Gimmicks

A new musical genre can be used for each new ballad: rap, rock, opera.

Variations

None

Credits

None

 Posted by at 14:37
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

None

Introduction

We will get five suggestions from the audience for five scenes.

Description

Five entirely unconnected scenes take place in succession based on the five offers from the audience. The next wave of scenes will consist of continuations of only four of the previous scenes. The four can be chosen by audience vote, host’s choice, or by random. Those four scenes are done in succession. These scenes can start to generate loose connections between the each other. The next wave of three scenes will exclude one of the developing plot lines. This wave of scenes should be quite heavily interconnected. The process of elimination is repeated again, and then two heavily connected scenes are played out. The last scene will tie everything up. Good luck.

Gimmicks

Start with one scene and work backwards up to five scenes.

Variations

None

Credits

 Posted by at 14:37