Convergence

By | April 15, 2019

Synonyms

None.

Introduction

Please form a circle.

Description

Convergence is a warm up that focuses on listening, support, taking risks and getting a group in synch. The goal is to get two players to simultaneously say the same word without preparation.  When it happens it is magical, however it can take a long time to happen.

The warm up starts by having one player step into the circle and proclaim, “I have a word.” A second player will immediately step into the circle and proclaim, “I have a word.” The two players face each other, count to three and simultaneously say the word that they are thinking of. The players need to speak simultaneously and most often no one will understand the word they said, unless they both say the same word. It is good for the players to recap their words after they have spoken simultaneously. It could sound like this.

  • Player One “I have a word.”
  • Player Two “I have a word.”
  • Both players count down “Three, two one”
  • Both players at same time “walzuruchini!” (may sound like this)
  • Player One “I said walrus.”
  • Player Two “I said zucchini.”

The process continues with another two players stepping into the circle, proclaiming “I have a word” and repeating the process. The goal is to have the next players simultaneously say the same word. This would be considered a success. The players have been primed to listen to the words and to try and find a single word the converges the previous concepts. For example, if players were to call out words like limousine, space ship or laptop one would wonder how this would lead to a convergence of words. The warm up is a good opportunity to point of the benefits of not trying to be funny, and letting the comedy happen by accident. While naughty words can be funny, they do not necessarily contribute to the goal of the exercise. Convergence also helps players work with expansion versus explosion. Small expansions of the words given is more likely to be successful and is good practise for making small expansions on ideas in scenes. So the second wave could sound something like this

  • Player Three “I have a word.”
  • Player Four “I have a word.”
  • Both players count down “Three, two one”
  • Both players at same time “sesalidion!” (may sound like this)
  • Player Three “I said sea lion.”
  • Player Four “I said salad.”

There is a lot of failure in convergence. New players must step forward and commit to a word knowing that they are most likely not going to hit the goal. It can take a while for the group to converge. As the process goes on there is much opportunity to fail with grace and laughter. Encouraging the group to move faster with their guesses helps with commitment to their ideas and accepting that while there is a framework, there is no script.

  • Player Five “I have a word.”
  • Player Six “I have a word.”
  • Both players count down “Three, two one”
  • Both players at same time “sea cucumber!”
  • There is much rejoicing.

Sometimes this convergence feels like it is never going to happen. The players will cycle through rotation after rotation. The leader can use this opportunity to point out how close the ideas are but they are never exactly in synchronization. This is often the best that a connection can be during scene. Yet the players will soldier on remaining positive and working together. Improv comedy is most often the process of looking for success.

Some groups will automatically converge every round. They are clearly mutants with telepathy, and they should be reported to the appropriate local authorities.

Gimmicks

  • None

Variations

  • Two Hander – Pairs of players instead of a circle
  • Elimination – For a large circle players that don’ match sit down or step out of the circle

Credits

I knew you were going to say that.

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