Looking for an exercise to help with creating characters and embracing endowments? Here’s one for you.
ALWAYS, NEVER & ALSO – Everyone up in a circle. Player One indicates Player Two to his or her left. Player One’s job is to name Player Two and endow him or her with something they always or never do. For example, “Brandon, here, he’s always losing his keys,” or “Kelly’s a sharpshooter; never misses a shot.” Player Two’s job then is to immediately accept the endowment. With a character voice and posture inspired by the endowment, Player Two responds with agreement that he or she then heightens with an “also.” For example, “Brandon” might say in a dopey voice and slouching posture, “Gosh, dang, that’s the truth; that key ring just rolls out of my pocket. I also lose my car a lot; swear the dang thing moves on me.” Or, “Kelly,” with a slight drawl and confident stance, might say, “The Deadeye Dame they call me; could shoot a flea off a dog at forty paces. I’ve also sunk every free-throw I’ve ever attempted; never miss a shot.”
Remember that “yes, yes, I do,” in acceptance of another player’s endowment is funnier than a clever contrived line.
“Doing something” is about the thing. “Always” or “Never” doing something is about the character. The “also” even further emphasizes “the type of character who does types of things” over the thing being done.
And – as it should always be at the core of all the improvisation we do – emote. Feel about your endowment.
Have fun and enjoy!