Clap Out. Freeze.
Please form a line with two volunteers front and center.
After the pithy aphorism of Yes And, there is no greater staple of the improv teaching than Freeze Tag.
The leader encourages the two front and center players to begin a scene which involves some level of physical activity. Some of the classic ones are two characters fishing, two characters working on some chore. While there will be dialogue between the characters Freeze Tag depends on physical action.
At some unexpected moment the leader will call out freeze and the two players will instantly freeze in place. A player from the line will immediately approach either of the two players and tag them. The tagged player goes to the back of the line. The new player assumes the exact physical pose that the player they tagged was holding. The new player is tasked with initiating a completely new scene that reflects her acquired pose. This process can continue indefinitely.
By encouraging the players to assume the exact pose of the player tagged out this exercise can help improve their listening skills. There is an element of spontaneity encouraged as often players will find themselves in poses they could not have imagined themselves in.
The leader should watch for players changing their pose to reflect a preconceived idea. It is an opportunity to support spontaneity reminding the players that they need not judges their ideas and they will be supported on stage.
There are many default scenes that allow a player to justify any pose that they find themselves. Experienced players should be discouraged from from employing these standards. Implore them to take risks and commit to random ideas instead of safety.
- Adhesive accidents
- A model being painted
- Store mannequins
- Psychotic episodes
- Dream episodes
Freeze Tag is often treated like a throw away exercise to fill space or end a workshop. This exercise is also used as a performance handle as an audience or player warm up. When Freeze Tag is played with attention to detail every aspect of improv comedy can be reviewed.
Players must be listening to the pose and words of the preceding scene. The must accept the offer of the pose they are striking. They must commit to their first idea with decisiveness. The offer must be expanded upon, and this offer is often a physical one. Freeze Tag offers lots of teaching opportunities as many LACE elements are missed or demonstrated with this exercise.
Freeze Tag is often and excuse to dispense with narrative elements. In an exercise that feels hurried the players, and audience, will still benefit from Settings, Ties, Explorations, and Propels. The scene is usually frozen before it gets to Sorting out.
- Don’t call freeze and let the players run through a scene.
- Rapidly call freeze before players can change the scene.
- Hold players in a compromising position by not calling freeze.
- Endowment Freeze – Each freeze is endowed with a location, emotion or genre. May actually be easier than standard Freeze Tag for some.
- Structured Freeze – Player must always pick the stage left pose.
- Eyes Closed Freeze – The next player in faces away from the scene or closes their eyes to they have even less information about the pose.