Improv!

Jul. 16th, 2011 10:30 pm
eclectic_boy: (Default)
[personal profile] eclectic_boy
Ethan and I are hosting an improv games afternoon tomorrow. It's been a long time since I've done one, so I'm both excited and a little nervous -- will people get into it? Will they have fun?

I'd love suggestions for improv games we could play; I don't know very many, and while there are lists around the web they don't give me an idea of which ones would work well for 6-8 largely-inexperienced people. What improv games do you find fun?

Date: 2011-07-17 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ruthling.livejournal.com
chain link murder is always my favorite. I also like "freeze" where people tap into a scene and continue it in another direction.

you can play "genres" where you have to do a scene in a specific genre like soap opera or scifi channel and then switch.

There's one I've seen where one referee chimes in to make the current actor edit what they're doing until they get something good.

there's the party guest where one person is the "host" and they have to guess what each party guest's secret or occupation is.

Date: 2011-07-17 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sammka.livejournal.com
"scratch that" is a variant of [livejournal.com profile] ruthling's "referee" game (or possibly is what she's talking about?): two characters are engaged in dialogue, like so:

X: "What do you want to do today?"
Y: "I thought I'd stay home and watch TV."
Ref: "scratch that"
Y: "I thought I'd go to the zoo."
Ref: "scratch that"
Y: "I thought I'd go to Mars."

If the Ref lets that stand, the skit has to keep going until they go to mars.

Other fun games include ones where the players have to say lines that are pre-written by the audience. In "strangers on a train," two people each have a secret, pre-written line (assigned by the audience) that they have to work into the conversation as seamlessly as possible. At the end of the game each player tries to guess what the other one's line is and gets points if the other player doesn't guess theirs.

In another game (I forget what it's called), each player has five slips of paper in their pocket, each with a line written by the audience. They must use all the slips and they can't see what's on the slip until they take it out and read it, e.g.:

X: "I would like a cheese pizza, please."
Y (pulling out slip of paper): "'A slotted spoon holds no soup.'"
X: "Huh?"
Y: "...I had to warn you of that because we only have slotted spoons here at this restaurant. But since you're eating a pizza, you'll be just fine!"

Another fun game that works ok with beginners is the shortening game: give people a scenario (e.g., professions/quirks, a scene, and an activity). Give them, say, one minute to act it out. Then make them act out the same scene, but in thirty seconds, then the same thing in ten seconds, then the same thing "all at once." It's kind of hilarious!

Date: 2011-07-17 03:47 pm (UTC)
irilyth: (Only in Kenya)
From: [personal profile] irilyth
I really like to watch "scratch that", which I've heard called "rewind".

I've also seen one that I liked in which the players' objective was to get offstage. They're stranded in the desert: "I'll go look for water!" "No, don't go that way, there are snakes! I'll make a phone call... Hmm, not getting good signal, lemme try from the top of that hill." "Wait! Don't forget your hat." etc.

I also like N-line vocabulary, in which you only have N lines you can say; I played a character in a one-shot once with this quirk, and it worked really well. As an improv game, I've seen it on Whose Line with three players, two of whom have two or three line vocabularies, while the third is unconstrained, and it's probably funnier if the third is good at steering the conversation so that the first two end up with particularly funny lines.

Sounds like fun! Do it at Alumni Weekend some year? :^)

Date: 2011-07-17 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eclectic-boy.livejournal.com
Great suggestions, all; thank you very much! And Josh, I'll make a note to add improv to the schedule of events at Alumni Weekend 2012.

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