Yes, when approaching Tag-Outs it can be helpful for the sake of focused heightening to only tag-out one side of the scene – keeping one character consistent and heightening his/her Personal Game. And yes, when choosing between two players to tag-out it is often advantageous if you replace the catalyst and keep the character reacting to that catalyst.
But there are no “rules” in improv, just tools and considerations.
Sometimes what feels “right” in the moment goes against a standard guideline. The game below is one of those times.
Inspired by earlier scenes about inappropriate conduct at work, Jonathan and Taylor start as a child and parent both admitting that they don’t understand the sexual talk they’re overhearing, at school and at work respectively. It’s a funny idea and a solid set-up for a Tag-Out.
Anthony tags Jonathan out and takes Taylor to school where he makes an obscene gesture while asking about Geometry. Funny bit.
Wonderfully, Jonathan tags back in, knowing Anthony’s bit is never going to be funnier than it was initially. And resetting to the parent/child scene is a clear call for Nicole to…tag out Taylor and take Jonathan to work and play the same “obscene movement/ generic conversation” game as Anthony played with Taylor. Funny. And it’s heightening the Scenic Game originally established. Great.
THEN a very fun organic thing happens. Anthony tags out Jonathan and establishes that his character from before is Nicole’s child! And of course there’s an obscene gesture. This heightens those two characters’ shared Personal Games.
All in all a really fun organic progression and a solid reminder that serving the moment is always more important than following any improv “rule.”
Check out these other great videos from The Johnsons / Detective mash-up:
- Walk-on/off with Split Screen: https://improvdoesbest.com/2019/03/01/walk-on-off-with-split-screen-video/
- Tag-out Pivot Run: https://improvdoesbest.com/2019/03/01/tag-out-pivot-run-video-example/
- Detective’s Hey Everybody Game: https://improvdoesbest.com/2019/03/01/detectives-hey-everybody-video/
- Detective’s Opening: https://improvdoesbest.com/2019/03/01/detective-opening-video/
- Linked By Patterns: https://improvdoesbest.com/2019/03/01/linked-by-patterns/
The Johnsons are: Scott Beckett, John Hilowitz, Jessi Schmale and Lauren Serpa
Detective is: Sarah Ahmed, Anthony Brazeau, Jesse Hill, Angela Massino, Jonathan Mostowy, Nicole Nielsen and Taylor O’Sullivan
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