Make a choice the moment you enter stage. Choose to feel. Feel something about something – an imagined object, mimed activity, and/or your scene partner. Allow both you and your scene partner to be dynamic.
Here’s the final scene from a class building out that progression and its value:
And here’s the class’ outline with video of me teaching it. Continue reading
Friends, it’s 2018! Luckily all the bad stuff from 2017 has been tidied up nicely and we have a brand new start!
Well,… how about updated improv curricula in lieu of world peace and universal sanity? Continue reading
I’m wishy washy about improv class showcases.
On the one hand, if the point of going through classes is to learn to do performance-ready-level improv, then it seems sadistic to make 101 students “put it up on its feet.”
But on the other, nothing informs an improviser like improvising and all it entails – collaborating to build something out of nothing in-the-moment before a live audience. And so practice in front of a live audience should be part of each course.
So the in-between place becomes preparing each class for a performance that showcases – in grand improv style – all that they learned in class, on top of everything they’ve learned before, within bounds that keep them from stumbling into unknown territory.
Here are examples of how to do it…from 101 to 401… Continue reading
Exercise for practicing building organic group games collaboratively and ensuring everyone steps up to participate. Continue reading
Objective: Collaboratively building something out of nothing on stage requires Confidence and Support. An improviser needs to be able to make bold choices and to stand by those choices. An improviser needs to accept and embrace each other’s choices. Make your fellow player “look good” should be an improviser’s guiding principle. Continue reading
NAME THUMPER – Going around the circle, each person (teacher included) associates their name with an action or adjective – “Punching Patrick,” or “Pouting Patrick.” Go around once more so everyone knows everyone else’s name and action. Then play progresses with an individual doing their name/action and then another person’s name/action; that person then does their name/action and then another person’s name/action; etc. You can introduce them to the starting chant – Everyone pats their thighs. You say, “I’m going to say, What’s the name of the game?”, and you’ll say, “Thumper.” Do it. You say, “I’m going to ask, Why do we do it?”, and you’ll say, “To get warmed up.” Do it. You say, “I’m going to ask, how do we do it?”, and you’ll say, “Fast!” Do it.
PASS “YES” AROUND – A player points at / makes eye contact with another player who accepts by saying “Yes.” The accepted player walks across the circle to stand in the place of the player who said “Yes.” The player who said “Yes” points at / makes eye contact with another player who says “Yes” so they can exchange physical position. And repeat.
• Choose and accept – don’t waste time worrying, over-thinking or obsessing about looking silly
AWESOME! – Around the circle, students say something about themselves and/or their day to which the rest of class enthusiastically responds, “Awesome!”
• Acceptance is fun – don’t waste time judging; the audience wants to see you enjoying one another
HOT SPOT (Singing or Monologue) – Players stand in a circle. One player enters the center and begins singing or telling a true, personal story. In no particular order, players enter to take the place of the player in the center to sing a new song or tell their own story.
• Hesitate and miss your connection – While players should be encouraged to inspire their moves based on what preceded it, players that wait too long over-thinking their move’s connection is going to miss their chance to enter.
• Just start – A player needn’t know all the words to the song or how the story is going to end to enter the circle. Just get out there and start, and commit to continuing confidently.
• Focus outward and support your fellow player – don’t be in your head thinking about what you’re going to do while a player is standing in the circle suffering through what they’re doing. Make them look good. Smile at them. Sing along.
FREEZE, THANK YOU – Two players assume frozen positions on stage. From the wings, another player says, “Freeze,” confidently enters, taps a player on the shoulder to indicate that they should go to the wings, and assumes a new frozen position in relation to the remaining player.
• Confidence sells – Don’t worry about making “sense” with your stage picture. Whatever you do confidently appears purposeful.
• Acceptance is the easiest choice – Mirroring is a great default. Whatever Player One does, if Player Two also does it, too, it appears purposeful.
• Take inspiration from others – Mirror exactly what they do. OR, complementary mirror what they do (she’s banging a drum; I’ll air guitar). OR, contrast – without opposing – what they do (he’s stretching; I’ll make myself small).