Mirror, Action, Object’s Scenic add-on

Personal Games are the focus of the base Mirror, Action, Object warm-up exerciseMAO1 Engaged in either how they feel about themselves, how they feel about what they’re doing, or how they feel about a mimed object, players build progressions of emotional reaction triggered by active endowments. As examples: A player loves his outfit, and as he scans himself toe to head he grows more and more impressed with himself (Mirror). A player grows more insane with every monotonous saw stroke. A player becomes more and more vain with every bite of the apple.

This add-on expands the warm-up to practice Scenic Games as well. 


Scenic Game Add-on

Play it through regularly once to acclimate players. Then the player who steps out of the Object position – farthest stage left – stays on the left wing. Have the three players on stage go through the base activities phases: Engage active elements, feel emotion about those endowments that ratchets up with each observation/interaction, and vocalize that emotional reaction – sound and/or Self Contained Emotional Statement.

Now the player enters from the stage left wing to enter each of the established characters’ space. The Player is to have an emotional reaction and vocalize it. One line to each player. And you’re done. Rotate.

It’s fun to see this character heighten though one emotional lens, despite the potentially very disparate content of the Mirror, Action, Object set-ups. It’s a way to practice the idea explored in “Silver Eclipse Model”: A progression of emotional reaction can make “sense” of any sequence of Details.

Here’s an Example

  • Player in Mirror position is noticing a pimple and freaking out.
  • Player in Action position is cutting boards with steadily more lustful motions.
  • Player in Object position is progressively pissed off by things she sees in her newspaper.
  • Mirror Player moans with each dab at the pimple. His SCES: “I’m hideous.”
  • Action Player oozes out an ” oh, yeah.” His SCES: “Doing it and doing it and doing it well.”
  • Object Player growls through gritted teeth. Her SCES: “Lies!”
  • Our Scenic Player does her rounds –
    • Object: Ooh, you know what you think. I like that.
    • Action: Rrrrrr, you can do what you know. I llllike that.
    • Mirror: Heyyyyyy, you’re in my league. I realllllllly lllllike that.

There was no clearly apparent relationship between the Mirror, Action, Object nodes. The Scenic Player doesn’t need that relationship to be consistent herself.

Practice with this exercise can help drive home two ideas:

  1. While ideally when initiating subsequent beats we attempt to bring an endowment aimed at heightening an emotional reaction, we don’t have to worry so much. We can make anything work.
  2. Brought into any situation, a player can trust in the “sense” borne out of a consistent emotional perspective. Committed reaction makes disparate Details related. Wherever you’re taken trust in You and when in doubt heighten a reaction you had previously, despite “sense.”

Patterns of emotional behavior. Details that cue reactions more than they drive plot. Improv as Improv does best.

One thought on “Mirror, Action, Object’s Scenic add-on

  1. Pingback: Mirror, Action, Object an exercise in personal active stakes | Improv As Improv Does Best

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