Four Corners video example

As a warm-up exercise or a short-form performance game, Four Corners is a fun way to explore two person scenes and subsequent beats.

Check out this wonderful example from The Coalition Theater‘s class showcase.  I am particularly fond of the players’ choice to enthusiastically agree and trust in the power of emotion alone when met with the suggestion of “Trump rally.”

Performers are Sheldon King, Cindy Nester, David Pratt and Britne Walker 

FOUR CORNERS –  Four players stand in a square shape, two facing the audience with the remaining two behind them.  Each pair gets a suggestion to inspire their scene (Suggestions: Relationship, Period in Time, Object, Occupation, Location.)  The instructor shouts “Shift Right/Left” to have the players rotate and switch to the next scene.


  • Initiate these like you would any scene: Feel something about something. Scenes based on emotional reactions are always more interesting than scenes focused on figuring out what’s happening.
  • Focus on heightening personal and scenic games.  In subsequent rotations, heighten what was established in the first scenes by bringing in new catalysts with which to affect characters’ emotions.  Ex: If two characters in the Middle Ages lament how dirty their clothes always are, the next time we see them they shouldn’t still be focused on clothes, but rather they should explore a new endowment – maybe the lack of plumbing – that activates their upset emotions.
  • Use pacing as a tool to build energy.  The game’s moderator should start “shifting” more quickly as the game goes on.  Letting the first rotation of scene’s breath and keeping subsequent scenes shorter helps build the game (and a show) toward an edit.
  • Use tertiary tools to build energy. The game’s moderator should start “shifting” only in one direction, but after a couple rotations s/he can start shifting in the other direction and mixing up the directions to insert energy and help ramp up to a good edit point.


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  1. Pingback: Warm-Up Exercises | Improv As Improv Does Best

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