Whiteboard; always whiteboard. Yes, “Whiteboard” is a verb.
Objective: Players entering a scene in progress should always seek to heighten the games already in play. Heightening those games with concentrated pattern mechanics will increase the impact of those tertiary moves.
The following outlines Tertiary and Polish moves with supporting video of me actually teaching a class those moves:
Want to learn more about these moves and/or lead a class based on these moves? Continue reading
Pop quiz, hotshot. When do you add on to a two person scene in progress?
A. When you have a funny idea
B. When the scene needs to be saved
C. When there are holes in the information on stage
D. When you want to get in on the fun
E. When you can heighten the game in play
Think about it. Now realize the question is flawed because its answers are not mutually exclusive.
Here is the proper pop quiz: When do you add on to a two person scene in progress?
A. To serve yourself
B. To serve the show
Hopefully now the answer is more obvious.
Entering a two person scene in progress, you are a tertiary player. The scene’s not about you and you shouldn’t make it about you. Continue reading
We enter a scene only to serve what is already in play. We enter to heighten a Personal Game. We enter to heighten a Scenic Game. We may help our fellow players by focusing them on one aspect of the scene when they’re juggling too much, but in that effort we are focusing on what is already an aspect of the scene.
We don’t enter with a self-serving funny idea that risks derailing the central players’ progression. We don’t enter with totally new information that players on stage now have to address and deal with. We don’t enter just to selfishly get in on the fun because the scene might have been fun precisely because you weren’t in it. We don’t help players on stage by changing the direction of the scene; if players were struggling with what they have, they aren’t likely to seamlessly adapt to your idea however brilliant.
We wield a slew of tools: Walk-Ons, Cut-Tos, Tag Outs, etc. Brandishing these tools in service of what’s already in play we recognize that we must also be ready and willing to draw out Walk-Offs, Cut-Backs, Tag Back Ins, etc. Entering a two person scene in progress, you are a tertiary player. The scene’s not about you and you shouldn’t make it about you.
An improv team should agree to this Tertiary Player Good Faith Mantra: I will only enter a scene in progress to serve what has already been established. And I will react to those who enter my scene in progress on the assumption they seek to heighten what has already been established.
If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Being Tertiary
* Tertiary Moves Drill
* Establishing Personal and Scenic Games
Scene Painting/ “We See” – we can come in from offstage to describe (and physicalize) a previously unseen “visual” aspect of the scene. For example, a pompous character is painted with a monocle, “#1 Boss” button, etc. For another example, a scene with a child bemoaning having to do his/her chores is painted with a window showing a beautiful day outside, an Everest of dishes to clean, etc. This type of move is typically executed by a player entering the scene, not as a character, but, with a verbal aside directed at the audience. “These people are in clown costumes.” “We see this man has a hole through his torso.”
These are Detail moves, but they work best when they are delivered emotionally and when they connect with a character’s emotional behavior. That emotional perspective helps enhance the pattern we’re establishing – we can heighten it with agreement One Person Scene style and/or heighten a progression of emotional perspectives To The Ether style.
Sometimes, while contributing his verbal add-on, Player 3 will wave his hand generally over or toward the area of stage he’s referring to; but a better Player 3 will often define what he’s describing in mime as well as words. In conjunction with “We see this man has a beard,” this Player 3 shows how big and bushy the beard is by cupping and fluffing it with his hands before exiting the scene.