A group of improvisers gather pre-show. They take off excess clothes. They empty their pockets. They ask about each other’s day.
One guy tells a story about an out-of-the-blue run-in with an old friend that happened that day.
Another improviser tells her own story about an even more random out-of-the-blue run-in with an even older friend.
And an organic warm-up is off running.
An improviser notices two of his compatriots are bent down tying their shoes so he mirrors them. A fourth follows. A fifth.
And an organic warm-up is off running.
An awkward group of improvisers gravitates into a pre-show circle, wanting to find something organic, not wanting to force anything. One guy starts mirroring another’s nervous hand wringing. A girl coughs so someone else does. Someone laughs. They all laugh.
And an organic warm-up is off running. Continue reading
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.
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.
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 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?
I bet this video is cleaner than your imagination. In fact, this example group game runs on so much enthusiasm and support it’s (almost) downright wholesome.
Player are: Shahenn Ali, Teddy Armstrong, Amber Hendrix, Jesse Hill, Meredith Hughes, Laura Kelly and Christopher May
In a Patterns and Games, success and failure hinged on the collective performance of the group. And…this class succeeded. Watch them all support each other through a performance that runs the gamut of games – rubric and organic, shorter and longer, lots of folks and few folks. The show is well paced, varying the use of moves from scene to scene. Most importantly, as you can see, the group clearly had a lot of fun performing in it. And the audience loved it.
When improvisers follow each other, committing to taking the next step together, confident they’ll find whatever end together, the audience leans in, along for the ride. That’s improv as improv does best. Especially impressive given the size of the group, the level of collaboration shown here by a 301 class is alone worth the watch. Enjoy!
Players are: Gerard Antoine, Sarah Berday-Sacks, Kevin Clatterbuck, Michael Farmer, Patrick Gaskill, Zachary Mann, Shannon Rodriguez, Hannah Rumsey, Max Senu-Oke, Geoff Stone, Vince Sunga, Carter Tait and Elliot Wegman
The embedded clip is an Organic Opening from a Harold.
In it, the group establishes a progression through three vignettes: Frat Boys, Freshman and Senior Sorority Girls
They engage the environment and make interesting stage pictures.
They leverage verbal patterns of call and response.
And they follow each other.
Want to learn more about the why and how of Openings in long form improvisation? CLICK HERE.