Space Jump – a warm-up for memory and transformations

One Person Scene. Two Person Scene. Three Person Scene. Four Person Scene. Five Person Scene. Six Person Scene. Five Person Scene. Four Person Scene. Three Person Scene. Two Person Scene. One Person Scene.


One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene. One Person Scene.


One Person Scene. Two Person Scene. Two Person Scene. One Person Scene. Two Person Scene. One Person Scene. Two Person Scene. One Person Scene. Two Person Scene. Two Person Scene. One Person Scene.

Space Jump is a crowd pleasing short-form improv game and a great tool for learning memory, focus, pacing and transformation edits

Performers are: David Adams, Guy Chapman, Patrice Deveaux, Micah Head, Alan Hopkinson, Nick Lawton, Megan Lemay, Jillian MacDougall, Tim Magier, Curtis Nunnally Continue reading

Prioritizing Character Over Plot exercises

“I love opium.”

It’s a fine line between a character evoking a plot and a character reacting to their reality. A very fine line. But I believe that attention to that line can mean the difference between a scene where improvisers force a sequence of events dependent on an audience’s satisfaction with a resolution and a scene where characters are engaged in the moment of their reality with an audience reacting to – and investing in – a character’s consistency regardless of “sense.”

The following is a series of exercises geared toward prioritizing characters in-the-moment over improvisers setting-up-situations-to-be-negotiated. Continue reading

Just Act Natural

Acting. Webster’s defines it as: the art or practice of representing a character on a stage or before cameras. Fine. You’re acting when you’re pretending to be someone else. Then what’s “good acting”? Representing that character better. What’s “bad acting”? Representing that character worse. How does that relate to improv where the character only exists in what we do and what the audience sees? What about the 4th wall – so prominent in improvisation – that calls attention to the actor and the audience?
I like this definition for acting: Being convincingly in-the-moment.

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Focus Outward exercises

Focus Outward: There is a ton of material for us to mine in our improv if we are committed to seeing it, hearing it and embracing it. We don’t need to be in our heads worried about making something happen once we learn how we can follow what’s already happening to a collaborative end.

Suggested Exercises:

ACTION PASS – In a circle, a player turns to his left and executes an action, any action. The next player observes that action and attempts to recreate it EXACTLY in turning to the player to their left.
• Do it once through. Then immediately have them do it again focused on slowing down and really noticing all the nuances of a player’s action and working to repeat the action exactly.
• Call out people that are in their head and not focused outward
• Call attention to what makes them laugh – straight repetition, embracing something “accidental”
• Call out when someone tries to force the evolution for a laugh – this will happen after they get comfortable with a few “successes” under their belts
See head to toe – take the time to really see all that players are giving you; Where are their toes pointed? How are their shoulders’ squared? What face are they making?
See more than you’re given – the things a player does subconsciously or accidentally should be noticed and repeated; What did they do before and after the action?
There are no mistakes/There is no “right” – there is only “what has happened” and “what’s happening now.”
Repetition is heightening – we don’t need to create unrelated information when there is already material at play to mine. Collaborative evolution is a fun enough; don’t force difference for difference’s sake.

PHRASE PASS – Like Action Pass, but with a sentence.
• Focusing on exactly what was given to you
• Pick just one thing (one word, emotion, inflection, character, etc.) and heighten it 2 notches
• Even with small things, we create a feedback loop that will heighten everything we do to places no one could imagine or achieve on their own
You don’t have to force evolution – if everyone is concentrated on heightening what they see and hear, the phrase will naturally change. We want to continue embracing small changes to foster evolution instead of forcing mutations that separate an individual from the group.

One Person Walking focus sharing exercise

ONE PERSON WALKING – Students spread out through the room. Without talking, one person has to be walking at any given time. Students have to see each other to know when to give and take focus.
• Now two people are walking at a time. Now three. Build to everyone walking and then work back down to one person walking.
• Make eye contact
• Give and take focus
• Be willing to surrender focus to your scene partner

Split Screen definition

Split Screen – To heighten a two-person scene, Player Three and Player Four initiate a new scene – on the same stage, but existing in separate physical spaces. For example, a scene about a married couple fretting over money can be heightened by a couple of mice fretting over cheese.

These two (or more) separate scenes can continue at the same time (usually on opposite sides of the stage), sharing focus back and forth.  While they do not exist in the same physical space, information from one scene affects the other as the focus shifts.

Or…    The original players can fade off stage as the second set of players establishes their scene, and this second set can fade off as the third set establishes their scene.  This is especially useful with smaller numbers of players in a group and can allow themes to heighten faster with subsequent iterations.

Split Screen