1.4 – To The Ether Games

TO THE ETHER Games

I like Frisbee.
I like hacky sack.
I like hitting this one stick I wrapped in ribbons with these other two sticks I wrapped in different ribbons.
I like the Grateful Dead.
I like acoustic guitar around a beach bonfire.
I like blowing into this diggerydoo I crafted in the company of native Aborigines during the Australian leg of my Peace Corp stint.
I like tie dye.
I like white-girl dreadlocks.
I like the hemp clothing, ropes and cleansing products I handmake and sell in open air markets and on commune tours with all profits going to Amnesty United.
Man, I just like being stoned.

In a To The Ether game, the progression of personal games establishes the pattern, and the scenic game is heightened in that pattern’s evolving repetition.

For focus sake, the pattern is emphasized over any need to contextualize or justify where the players are or who they are to one another. Players can literally deliver their lines into empty spaces without expectation of a conversational response. Thus, “To The Ether” games. Continue reading

Heightening Emotional Agreement exercise

HEIGHTENING EMOTIONAL AGREEMENT CIRCLE – A player makes a Self Contained Emotional Statement. It can be as simple as “I love it here,” “I hate the arts,” or “I’m uncomfortable.” Then progressively each person to the right heightens the perspective by agreeing with it – essentially with a “Yes, and.” “I love the beach.” “Yeah, I love the white sand.” “Yeah, I love getting my tan on.” Etc. The initiator gets the final addition. And then the person to their right starts a new SCES.
Lessons:
• Repeating Agreement is funny – what’s better than one person who believes something strange? Two people who feel that same way.
Agreement fosters collaborative building – many people united behind one emotional perspective will be able to heighten creative details to apexes beyond the reach of any single person.

Agree (even if you don’t). Heighten that emotion (even if you don’t personally feel that way).  I love this clip and its players enthusiastic agreement.

Performers are David Pratt and Cindy Nester. 

Emotional Initiation exercises

Emotional Initiations:  The sooner we identify how a player feels the better – because that feeling can be heightened by the player and played to by the player’s teammates.  The sooner we can identify how a player feels about a something the better – because that something can be heightened by the player to heighten the player’s emotion and that something can be referenced/heightened by the player’s teammates to force the player into a reaction.

Suggested Exercises:

SELF CONTAINED EMOTIONAL STATEMENT CIRCLE – Around a circle, everyone makes a Self Contained Emotional Statement.  It can be as simple as “I love it here,” “I hate the arts,” or “I’m uncomfortable.”
Lessons:
It’s a statement. Not a question shifting the responsibility of providing information to your partner. There’s a period. It’s definitive.
It’s an emotional statement. Emotional reaction is one of our three key tools; let’s get to it. You need to feel and, for the reaction, you need to give that feeling a direction. Give X the power to make you feel Y.
Being self-contained, the statement places you on solid ground without dictating the scene to your partners – Mick Napier urges us each to “take care of yourself” without confining the scene. Allow your partner the choice of whether to mirror you in some fashion or to take on something entirely their own. Being self-contained is increasingly an imperative the larger a group you have on stage.

 

ANNOYANCE-STYLE SCENE STARTS – Have the class form a line across the back of the stage.  Call out one name.  That person should immediately take the stage and “take care of themselves” with a choice about their emotion, posture, environment, activity, etc.  The moment you call that name, another improviser should be coming out on stage as well.  That person must also “take care of themselves” with a choice.  Players expand on their choices, most importantly establishing and heightening their emotional perspective.  Run through this several times until you are confident everyone will take care of themselves right out of the gate and, eventually if not immediately, get to emotion.
Lessons:
• If I’m picking my nose, what does that say about my age?  If I’m forty-five and picking my nose, where am I?  If I’m forty-five and picking my nose in a restaurant, am I embarrassed?
A scene needs information.  But expand on what you’ve already got.  Commit to it.
You don’t need motivation to have a feeling

Self Contained Emotional Statement exercises

Self Contained Emotional Statements: Emotion should be the base of all the improv we do. A “Self Contained Emotional Statement” establishes a stable starting point without dictating a direction and therefore is the initiation most conducive to patterns’ possibilities.

Suggested Exercises:

SCES CIRCLE I – Around a circle, everyone makes a Self Contained Emotional Statement. It can be as simple as “I love it here,” “I hate the arts,” or “I’m uncomfortable.”
Lessons:
It’s a statement. Not a question shifting the responsibility of providing information to your partner. There’s a period. It’s definitive.
It’s an emotional statement. Emotional reaction is one of our three key tools; let’s get to it. You need to feel and, for the reaction, you need to give that feeling a direction. Give X the power to make you feel Y.
Being self-contained, the statement places you on solid ground without dictating the scene to your partners. Mick Napier urges us each to “take care of yourself” without confining the scene. Allow your partner the choice of whether to mirror you in some fashion or to take on something entirely their own. Being self-contained is increasingly an imperative the larger a group you have on stage.

 

SCES CIRCLE II – In a circle, one person leads with a Self Contained Emotional Statement. Then progressively each person to the right heightens the perspective by agreeing with it – essentially with a “Yes, and.” “I love the beach.” “Yeah, I love the white sand.” “Yeah, I love getting my tan on.” Etc. The initiator gets the final addition. And then the person to their right starts a new SCES.
Lessons:
• Repeating Agreement is funny – what’s better than one person who believes something strange? Two people who feel that same way.
Agreement fosters collaborative building – many people united behind one emotional perspective will be able to heighten creative details to apexes beyond the reach of any single person.