In learning Tertiary Moves an improv student is taught that “the first move is trump” (a reference to card games not our shitty president). In practice this means that if the first tertiary move is a Walk-on then the next tertiary move should also be a Walk-on to heighten the game at play.
While there are no mistakes in improv if you do two different tertiary moves that just requires more additional moves to make sense of the larger pattern.
If Player Three does a Walk-on, Player Four does a “We see,” and Player Five does a “Cut to,” while “success” is “possible” you can watch an audience fold its arms and legs, showing they have no faith in what comes next.
But experienced/aware improvisers can mix tertiary moves if they own them and their Triggers. So it is in this clip Continue reading
Not a super fan of a scene? Don’t sweep it under the rug – you may want to forget about it but the audience may not be able to. Better then to double down on it. Use the Help Desk dynamic to heighten the interaction and turn a “not great” initial scene into the base of a beautiful run of collaborative pattern play.
That’s what The Johnsons do.
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.