I recorded the session of my Patterns & Games class at The Coalition Theater in which we tackled the My 3 Rules game I’ve previously presented as a warm-up.
One, the camera’s distance makes it hard for the viewer to really track the game in play.
Two, oh, man, looking for a drinking game? Watch me teach and drink every time I say, “Right.”
Three, My 3 Rules – like Kick The Duck, Red Rover – is a game played through iterations. With each iteration, students “get it” more and by the end are fully engaged in the mechanics and they’re laughing.
In the following post, I’m going to share some clips from that night’s video showing the iterative learning process. My hope is that it’ll serve as a teaching lesson, both through how I provide instruction between iterations and how students loosen up and learn as a result of the iterations. Continue reading
Mirroring/repeating language, details and rules heightens a group’s work while keeping it cohesive.
INVOCATION – Players stand in a half circle. On the count of three, a “god” appears before them that they will worship in three phases: First, they will describe it physically; “Oh, God, with your fowl beak.” Second, they will address its less tangible qualities; “Oh, God, who tastes like everything.” Third, they will ask it to do unto them; “Oh, God, henpeck my enemies.”
• Be clear about what “it” is – don’t be vague for artsy sake; the sooner everyone knows what “it” is the sooner everyone can dig deep into the details
• Unite behind an emotional perspective on “it” – “what we hate about Microsoft” will collaboratively heighten faster than “what we know about Microsoft”
• Simplify with mirrored language – switching between phases is clearest when there’s a defining cadence to phase one (“Oh, God”) and a new cadence to phase two (“Sweet, Jesus).
• Callback – What does a detail from phase one signify in phase two and can be used for in phase three?
• Establish rules of reaction – Y follows X: “…who is never afraid,” “You’re a chicken who’s not chicken;” “…who never stops going,” “You’re a chicken who’ll always win at chicken.” I’m the guy who: said, “Eyes as red as flames” so I’ll say, “Heart as black as coal.”
• There are no mistakes – seek to fold in everything; don’t drop things that seem out of place
Performers are Becki Heckman, Ian Johnson, Suzi Makarem, Robert Nickles and Jordan Walker Continue reading
Pasted and attached below are Best Practices for Improv Teachers. From “making the curriculum your own” to “take your class out for drinks the first night,” this document has tips for managing your classes better.
Got any to add? Hit up that Comments space. Continue reading
The link below will connect to a PDF of an 8 Week course designed to prepare improvisers for a long-form performance as an ensemble.
Long Form Performance IAIDB Curriculum Patrick Gantz 2013
Two players meet in the middle of the stage and focus on figuring out the scene together.
I want to return this vacuum.
What’s wrong with it?
I want to see a manager.
Ma’am, he’s on a break.
I bought this and it won’t work.
I’m going to need to see a receipt.
That’ll be five ninety-nine.
Okay, I have ten eighty-eight.
I don’t want to see improvisers question, oppose, negotiate with or engage in transactions with each other. Even written, honed, acted and edited these scenes can prove tedious. But we can salvage these boring scenes with our good friend, the pattern. Continue reading
How do you focus a Ten Person game?
Step right up. Step right up.
I want to ride the roller coaster.
You’re too short to ride this ride.
See the two-headed boy for two dollars.
I’m afraid of clowns.
I ate too much cotton candy.
Where can I buy beer?
I’m on mushrooms.
Don’t miss Smash Mouth at the amphitheater.
Hey, baby, want me to win that whale for you?
We have ten different perspectives. We didn’t build with collective agreement to focus ten players into a One, Two or Three Person scene.
We have ten different perspectives on ten different things. While we’ve expanded the environment of a carnival, we Continue reading
PASS “YES” AROUND – A player points at / makes eye contact with another player who accepts by saying “Yes.” The accepted player walks across the circle to stand in the place of the player who said “Yes.” The player who said “Yes” points at / makes eye contact with another player who says “Yes” so they can exchange physical position. And repeat.
• Choose and accept – don’t waste time worrying, over-thinking or obsessing about looking silly
AWESOME! – Around the circle, students say something about themselves and/or their day to which the rest of class enthusiastically responds, “Awesome!”
• Acceptance is fun – don’t waste time judging; the audience wants to see you enjoying one another
HOT SPOT (Singing or Monologue) – Players stand in a circle. One player enters the center and begins singing or telling a true, personal story. In no particular order, players enter to take the place of the player in the center to sing a new song or tell their own story.
• Hesitate and miss your connection – While players should be encouraged to inspire their moves based on what preceded it, players that wait too long over-thinking their move’s connection is going to miss their chance to enter.
• Just start – A player needn’t know all the words to the song or how the story is going to end to enter the circle. Just get out there and start, and commit to continuing confidently.
• Focus outward and support your fellow player – don’t be in your head thinking about what you’re going to do while a player is standing in the circle suffering through what they’re doing. Make them look good. Smile at them. Sing along.