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 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 exercise focuses on raising the stakes and exploration of the environment. Please set up a scene.

Description

The players start into their scene as they would any other. When the ‘advance’ is called out the players focus solely on the story, and advance the story. When ‘expand’ is called out the players solely explore their environment. During an ‘advance’ the players would add nothing to the environment, but would introduce constructive new bits of information about who, why and where. They could raise the stakes, introduce a new character, but every offer must make the story move forward. These advances can be done at the exclusion of the environment and even the reality. The goal of the exercise is to make the players keenly aware of when the are advancing a story. During an ‘expand’ the story is completely ignored, characters are not developed and the players engross themselves in their mimed environments. The sink that their character is standing at becomes the focus. The taps are explored, the shape is explored, its taste, etc. Again the story will be derailed by the ‘expand’ but the environment will become much more real.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

Have one player expand while another advances.

Credits

None

 Posted by at 12:58
Aug 022010
 

Synonyms

One sentence, ABC, where-who-what

Introduction

This exercise covers the basic framework of an open scene. It is very structured and requires three people. Could one person set up a scene.

Description

This exercise is very structured. Each player in it has a specific role, and each sentence spoken has a specific role. It is crucial to emphasize that each step represents only one sentence. It is recommended to talk the players through this the first through times. ZERO – environment The first player comes on stage and creates an environment based on the set up of the scene. The environment is created in silence through mime. Once they have clearly defined their environment the second player comes on stage. For the sake of this explanation a kitchen is created. ONE – relationship The second player comes on stage and accepts the environment that the first player defined through her mime. The second player on contributes only one sentence to the scene and NO more. That sentence simply defines a relationship between the two players. For example a simple sentence like ‘hi mom’ would suffice. TWO – conflict The first player in the scene then speaks only one sentence. This sentence creates a conflict based on the ask-for, environment, or relationship. For instance ‘you are late for dinner’ is a simple choice. THREE – raising the stakes Player two now has a chance to speak her second sentence. This sentence accepts all of the previous elements of the story, and makes the conflict worse. ‘I hate your cooking mom’ would be a sentence that advances the story by making the conflict worse. FOUR – resolution The two player have to keep their mouths shut. Keep in mind that this is an exercise and not a scene. The third player now enters the scene, accepts the environment and speaks her singular sentence. This sentence will end the scene and resolve the conflict at hand. The resolution must somehow incorporate elements from the scene that went before. For example, ‘hi honey, lets go eat at mcswiney’s tonight.’ That is the end of the exercise and another three players get set up to do another one. They usually take about one to two minutes each.

Gimmicks

None

Variations

If players cannot keep to one sentence. Try doing the steps in gibberish or have someone offstage speak the player’s sentence.

Credits

None

 Posted by at 12:56