Aug 152010
 

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 door is a door, or that she has a limp, your audience will be quickly dismayed at the chaos that is taking place on stage. If there are troubles with accepting  the following exercises may be of use.

     Posted by at 23:58
    Aug 152010
     

    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 have to be a sledgehammer, it can be subtle. The following improv structures can help improvisers raise the stakes to the conflict in their scenes.

       Posted by at 23:57
      Aug 152010
       

      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 is not happening at all, it is often because the characters are immediately solving their problems on stage. The structures listed below may assist in developing conflict in scenes.

       

       Posted by at 23:57
      Aug 152010
       

      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 scene. The more they connect with the scene the funnier they will find it.  The following improv structures may help develop relationships on stage.

         Posted by at 23:56
        Aug 022010
         

        Synonyms

        Shared worlds

        Introduction

        In this scene two players will be in the same scene, however each player will believe that she is a different environment. If one player believes that she is in an air traffic control tower, she will respond to everything that the other player does as if she were in an air traffic control tower. However the other player will believe that she is in a batter’s cage. [get two contrasting and physical environments]

        Description

        In this scene the two players interact as described. Each must maintain her reality as strongly as possible, and react to what the other player does as if it were in her reality. Now that I have repeated that often enough… If the player that is in the batter’s cage says, ‘okay let them fly.’ The player in the air traffic control tower might give clearance for take-off. If the player in the air traffic control tower types at her console, the other player might think that she is doing special pre-batting finger warm-ups. Etc. It is a very hard scene to do. There are enormous payoffs when the players listen, accept and advance within their own well defined environments. Does this sound familiar?

        Gimmicks

        None

        Variations

        None. I have never seen this done with more than two players.

        Credits

        None

         Posted by at 14:17
        Aug 022010
         

        Synonyms

        None

        Introduction

        Anytime during this scene the players can be interrupted by you [audience]. If at anytime you don’t like what they have said you make them change their sentence by yelling, ‘should have said.’ It is important to give the players a chance to build a story, but if you don’t like the way that it is going then yell, ‘should have said.’

        Description

        Build a scene like any other. Give a bit of extra pause between your comments to allow for the audience to interject. Listen closely for the audience’s input. They will hear the ‘should have said.’ If you miss one expect to be eaten alive. When you are expected to change what you said make a strong choice that alters the course of the scene. They have yelled it because they don’t like what is happening, so change the way the scene is going.

        Gimmicks

        Replace long drawn out comments with short ones.

        Variations

        The callers can be limited to one or two audience members is chaos is imminent.

        Credits

        None

         Posted by at 14:11
        Aug 022010
         

        Synonyms

        Living set

        Introduction

        In this scene the participating players will create an environment of your suggestion.

        Description

        The players rapidly fill the stage, each one taking up the role of another essential part of the suggested environment. The players should offer themselves as props: trees, tables, rocks. They can supply sound effects as well. This is obviously a warm up game, and it is a good one for breaking the boundaries between improv and ‘regular’ theatre.

        Gimmicks

        None

        Variations

        Once one environment is set the players are given another one, and they must transform into the new environment without leaving the stage.

        Credits

        None

         Posted by at 13:43
        Aug 022010
         

        Synonyms

        CSI, Body Count, Sherlock

        Introduction

        Our investigators have come across a crime scene and proceed to explain every last detail.

        Description

        It is recommended that two improvisers are set as detectives and two or more improvisers act as the crime scene. It works best to have the detectives face the audience downstage while the players creating the crime scene throw themselves around the stage. This is also a great scene for some audience participation. Once everyone is in position the two detectives turn to the stage and start a detailed account of what had gone on before. The improvisers that are miming the crime scene can be bodies or props. It is all about building the story.

        Gimmicks

        None

        Variations

        None

        Credits

         Posted by at 13:35
        Aug 022010
         

        Synonyms

        Rewind scene, reverse scene

        Introduction

        In this scene the actors will tell a story backwards. They will not be talking backwards, or moving in reverse, but they will present the components of the scene from the ‘end’ to the ‘beginning.’ This is a very hard scene.

        Description

        The actors start with an ending to a story. Then each actor must ask herself what would have happened immediately before this event and then portrays the most likely thing that would have preceded. Actors will find themselves frequently asking themselves, “she just said…so I would have…” Very hard stuff. Keep it very simple and never talk in the future tense, that already has happened!!

        Gimmicks

        This game is hard enough already. One can get really cocky by starting the scene with a lights down signal, and end the scene with an introduction.

        Variations

        None

        Credits

        None

         Posted by at 13:32