Learn rigidly. Play loose.
The Johnsons are the most dyed-in-the-wool Improv As Improv Does Best group there is. Makes sense. I coach them.
They were taught the contents of this website. They learned the mechanics of spontaneous collaboration. But the desire has never been for them to conform to one style of improv as dictated by their lessons. Rather the goal is always providing tools unique improvisers can utilize to enhance their personal approach.
The Johnsons are at their best when they Continue reading
I coach The Johnsons, so they’ve been steeped in a rich tea of group games. They know One Person Scenes. They know To The Ether Games. They know Help Desk Games. And they know Hey Everybody Games.
And that knowledge makes them masters of the Organic Game.
And that unfortunately means sometimes they perform games that are hard for me to pick apart in a post in order to showcase the learnings. But this sucker’s a joyful exception.
Check it out.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, “I love me some Johnsons.”
Check out this great example as Improv As Improv Does Best…in the face of “mistakes.”
Improv As Improv Does Best leverages in-the-moment collaborative discovery. And it’s extra special when the audience knows they’re “getting it” at the same time as the improvisers.
Take this example from The Johnsons.
The first time it’s random.
The second time it’s purposeful.
The third time it’s expected.
This progression informs how we build collaboratively in improv, be it in service of a pattern of emotional behavior, a relationship dynamic, a group game, or forging an organic format.
What is necessary to elevate a random occurence into a shared experience? It requires that second move – the choice to make the first move matter.
Derek Sivers gets it.
Ask your troupe what they want to work on. A comment by Alan Volmer during a Johnsons rehearsal led to this move being added to the group’s bag of tricks.
THE BODY SNATCHER: A third player takes over either Player One’s or Player Two’s character. If Player Three chooses to take on Player Two’s character, for example, Player Two then exits.
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The Johnsons hosted a BBQ and everyone came. But they spaced out their arrival to allow time to heighten the sequence between new entries. Check it out.
To clarify: That last line out of Jonathan is “I brought the hounds of hell.”
The Johnsons are: Scott Beckett, Shawn Hambright, Townsend Hart, John Hilowitz, Joe Mack, Jonathan Nelson, Jessi Schmale, Lauren Serpa and Alan Vollmer. Continue reading
Player One stands rigidly on stage, stroking an imagined object on his right wrist and says, “I love my shield.”
Player Two enters stage, stares agog at the imagined shield and says, “Wow-wie! That is one awesome shield.”
The question for you is: If you were told to enter the scene as the third player to establish a group game, what would you do?
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
Here’s an example of a Tag-out from The Johnsons. Notice how they leverage the Help Desk dynamic, repeating/heightening the sequence of dialogue.
I’d’ve preferred they’d’ve never sat down, instead playing out being high on the job. It’s hard to keep a scene active while sitting down. Chairs are a privilege, not a right.
The Johnsons are Scott Beckett, Shawn Hambright, John Hilowitz and Jonathan Nelson.