Improvisation (Part 1) - Creating Onstage

"Make it Up...and Keep it on the Fly!"

Improvisation can be a really good way to free up the mind of the beginning actor, and is one of the best foundations an actor can have for rehearsal and the creation of believable character.

IMPORTANT: Improv is not always intended for an audience and should be a tool for generating choices on stage.



Greeting Walks:

Learning goal: (understand what it is to build quick interactions through improv)

Everyone moves around the space, walking at a brisk pace trying to use all corners of the room. Everyone should focus on walking so they don't bump into anyone. There should be no talking until instructed.

As they walk - Teacher will give instructions to the group that at the count of three

The Activity

They have to interact with the next person they make eye contact with, and have a short 15 second dialogue.

- Try to have a full exchange
- Don't waste time finding a purpose to the conversation
- It should make sense
- It should conclude 

In between each interaction have the
group go back neutral walking.

Example interactions are:

- The person is your best friend who you haven't seen in years.
- The person is your partner in a secret society 
- The person is someone you just found out has won a ton of $$


Move Toward a STORY


WARM-UP - The Lava Game

Place all the set pieces into the room. Scatter them around the room (all kinds work)  

 Have the actors all standing in one area. (use a taped area in the corner to start them in)

 Actors: “You are being transported somewhere as a group to get something. It’s valuable to the group but only if the group can end up back in this spot can they return and reap the rewards of the treasure.:”

The group will move around the room freely and at some point the LAVA arrives and the actors must quickly get up on the closest piece of furniture.

At his point the teachers places something (a golden teddy bear?) in the room that the group must retain and everyone must end up back in the safe zone, without touching the floor of course), with the item(s)…nobody must be left behind.

(Sometimes we there will be additional added "givens" thrown at some of the actors) 


Follow Up
Deepening thought about the event.

Talk About: The story that was just created on the fly!

Question to ponder:
"What happened that was worth remembering from the story?"




ONE WORD Story (one actor at a time). Down the row or by the teacher pointing at the speaker.

- Must have a beginning middle and end.
- Must have characters.
- Must have a location.
- Must set up a conflict quickly.
- Must keep the style or genre in tact.
- Must make use of the title in the story.
- Keep it grammatically correct (for THAT story).
- Keep it clean (no foul language or potty humor).
- Must have dialogue the characters must speak.
- ALL Characters must be given a voice and that voice must remain consistent throughout (even if the actor changes).

AVOIDING ADJECTIVES. To make students aware that the story moves faster without delaying adjectives/adverbs.

Follow Up

Deepening thought about the event.

Talk About: The difficulty in telling the story this way and why that might be.

Talk About: What is the trick to the game? How do you find success in this format? (we still want it on the fly)

Question to ponder:
"What happened when listening became the most important thing, and letting the story speak to you...instead of trying to come up with something?"





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