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

    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 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

    None

    Introduction

    Can we get one person up to act as a help desk clerk in a major department store.

    Description

    Once the person at the info desk is in place the players approach the desk and ask for things that one might find in a department store. They are expected to make strong character choices, and make enquiries related to their characters. Ensure that each player draws from physicality, voice and intent to create their character. The help desk person is neutral and helpful to all the players that come along.

    Gimmicks

    None

    Variations

    Personnel manager hiring a string of different people, mountain guru offering advice to passing wisdom seekers.

    Credits

    None

     Posted by at 13:09
    Aug 022010
     

    Synonyms

    Diving bell, confined spaces, closet

    Introduction

    This is a character exercise.

    Description

    The players each get onto an elevator at different floors. Each character uses the step of getting on the elevator as a vehicle for demonstrating their characteristics. Without speaking the character should be clearly defined by how they move, how they push the call button, and what noises they make. The next character on should make a choices that compliment the character that is already on the elevator. These characters all interact as they see fit. Keeping in mind the confined space of the elevator, and the eventual need to exit. It is important that all the players accept and help define the environment of the elevator.

    Gimmicks

    Have the elevator break down and leave them stuck in it for some time.

    Variations

    None

    Credits

    None

     Posted by at 13:04
    Aug 022010
     

    Synonyms

    None

    Introduction

    This warm-up breaks one of the major improvisational rules, however it allows us to start getting in the moment. Everyone into a circle.

    Description

    Once the circle is formed one player goes into the circle and starts to mime a simple activity. Once the activity has been established one of the players from the circle jumps in and asks “what are you doing?” The player doing the mime responds with some activity other than the one they are doing. If they are mowing the lawn they might say ‘filleting a soul.’ The player that asked the question starts the activity that was answered (i.e., filleting a soul) and waits to be asked what she is doing. This continues until all have tried the exercise.

    Gimmicks

    None

    Variations

    Get players to ask ‘what are you doing?’ in different accents or moods.

    Credits

    None

     Posted by at 12:44