“Hey, Everybody,” we say as our initiation in some form. Maybe it’s “Team, take a knee,” “Soldiers. Attention!,” or the Zhubin Parang special, “People, people, [important person] is ready for your questions.”
The potential for trouble in a “Hey Everybody, get out here” initiation is high. Players may rush out on stage to support the initiation with disparate reactions that then battle for dominance; chaos ensues and awkwardness follows. Or, though players may rush out on stage to support the initiation, they await to take their cues from the initiator who becomes the facilitator in a stiff and slow series of interactions that typically revolves more around thinking and problem solving than feeling. Hey Everybody game mechanics allow a group to quickly build a focused direction out of disparate parts.
The Keys to success following a “Hey Everybody” initiation are:
The team isn’t behold to the sequence of contributions – they allow their characters to react in-the-moment as inspired – but you can see the sequence is loosely maintained and it helps the overall flow. Improvisers clearly stick their character’s silos – Sarah’s corrections, Taylor’s obsession with killing Voldemort with a stick, etc. Improvisers play emotional characters – like Jesse’s gruff-voiced reactor. And the stage picture isn’t just a line or “bandshell of death.”
It’s a great example of a game that uses the tools of the Hey Everybody game but isn’t confined by them. Continue reading →
Hey Everybodygame mechanics allow a group to build a focused direction out of disparate parts. They are so named because, though they have wider applications, they are useful to a player in navigating a scene initiated with a rush of players to the stage.
When Townsend Hartstarts The Johnsons‘ group game with “Emergency meeting,” we get a rush of players to the stage. Now, instead of quickly establishing a sequence in which every player gets to contribute in the scene’s early goings, this particular Hey Everybody game starts off in the call and response category of initiator as facilitator that I caution against – Townsend speaks, then Scott speaks, then Townsend again. The danger here is that with the initiator interjecting between each other player’s comments, it can take a long time to get through players, which can seem stilted. And an audience’s eyes start to drift to s/he who hasn’t contributed yet, which can both be distracting.
How do The Johnsons surmount this potential obstacle? Watch.
1. Repetition is heightening. Laura didn’t need to do anything more than repeat “I’m a North Carolina State Mom” to get a laugh at the start of the second pass of the game. In fact, the audience also laughs with a sense of relieved release – it has been made clear to them that the sequence they witnessed is being made into a pattern. With the rigid repetition they know they’ve been here before and they’re along for the ride. Continue reading →
A two person scene grows into a Two Person group game: Archaeologist and Bones. The evolving yet consistent sequence of contributions gives it a Hey Everybodyflavor.
From my 2014 District Improv Festival “Boldly Go, Boldly Follow” workshop featuring Coonoor Behal, Pete Bergen, Jamie Bingner, Christine Crocker, John Heiser, Scott Holden, Jeff Hughes, J.J. Jackson, Patricia Kostiuk, Scott Kostiuk, Colleen McKenna, Ellen Reiterman, Sara Rouhi and Kate Symes
Hey Everybody Games:The potential for trouble in a “Hey Everybody, get out here” initiation is high. Players may rush out on stage to support the initiation with disparate reactions that then battle for dominance; chaos ensues and awkwardness follows. Or, though players may rush out on stage to support the initiation, they await to take their cues from the initiator who becomes the facilitator in a stiff and slow series of interactions that typically revolves more around thinking than feeling. Hey Everybody game mechanics allow a group to quickly build a focused direction out of disparate parts.
HEY EVERYBODY – A player initiates to bring a crowd on stage; “Team, take a knee.” Players join and players make choices quickly in succession – reacting, agreeing, emoting – to establish the sequence of contribution. The initiating player restarts the next sequence by heightening through the filter of their initiation. Players contribute in the order of the initiating sequence, heightening through their personal filter.
Don’t wait; react – wait and nothing will happen or you’ll be stuck negotiating. The sooner a player reacts, the sooner they’re taken care of, and there’s one less player to “figure out.”
Facilitate, don’t dictate – the game’s facilitator is just another player, who happened to start the scene. The facilitator can and should find a personal filter and not feel the need to speak any more than anyone else.
Play your part – trust that if you continue heightening through your personal filter at your established place in the group’s sequence then an edit will be found. You may not be “the funny one” this time, but your consistency will allow what is funny to pop.
For more than contrived scenes – any scene where a group needs to focus chaos can be aided by Hey Everybody dynamics. Have one player initiate a scene with a Self Contained Emotional Statement and have a crowd join that scene quickly, and quickly establishing a sequence of contributions. Restarting and repeating a sequence of contributions can focus even the most disparate parts.