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Acting 1 - Improvisation Unit

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by

Jo Beth Nicklas

on 6 October 2014

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Transcript of Acting 1 - Improvisation Unit

Improvisation
warm up games
"Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater... If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he chooses tolearn, and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach him everything it has to teach. ... 'Talent' or 'lack of talent' have very little to do with it."
--- Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater
"Theater Games are a process applicable to any field, discipline, or subject matter which creates a place where full participation, communication, transformation can take place."
--- Viola Spolin
These games and exercises are meant to get everybody in a cheery mood, establish trust between the players, and sharpen concentration. Apart from that, most have no performance value, and are rarely used to teach any particular skill. These games and exercises can be used for improv training, these games would just as well work to entertain the kids on a rainy day at the girl scouts.

You`d use these games at the start of a rehearsal, or as part of the preparation for a show.
Description

Fun warm-up. One player offers something, e.g. I am a slice of cheese. 2nd player jumps in and adds something to the offer, e.g. I am a slice of bread. 3rd player jumps in and again adds to the setup, e.g. I am a pickle. First player leaves, taking one of the others with him. Restart from the remaining player, who restarts by saying what/who she is.
It takes three
Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves
Description

Excellent warm-up. Everyone in a circle. We are going to establish a rhythm, by saying, all together `Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves`. Keep repeating this.
One person starts making a gesture to this rhythm, say, tapping your head with you left hand. When the sentence is repeated, the player next to her takes over this gesture, while the first one starts a completely different new gesture. Third time the sentence is done, player three does the first gesture, player two does the second gesture and player one invents a new one again. And so on.

This is also a concentration game, though it`s not really difficult. All one has to do is watch the previous player, and next time, take over her gesture. When you`re watching what everyone else is doing you`re going to get lost though.
Boppety Bop(2)
Description

This is a variation on Boppety Bop(1) : all players in a circle, one player in the middle who is `it`. This player picks a player in the circle and yells `bippety-bippety-bop` at her. If he manages to get to `bop` before she can say `bop`, she becomes `it`.
Other possibilities are:

Just say `bop` if anyone else reacts, that person becomes `it`
Say `kamakazi`,
Say `jello`:
Say `cow`
Improv terms
What does this mean in improv?
Accepting: Embracing each Offer made by other players to advance the scene. A good thing.

Denial: We have Denial when players are not Accepting each other`s Offer `s. Obviously not a good thing.

Focus: The center of the attention of the audience. Focus should be in one place at any time - if more than one action/plot is going on simultaneously the focus is split. Less experienced improvisers often tend to steal the focus (i.e. split the focus and draw it to something unnecessarily new they introduce).

Audience Suggestion
To some extent, the lifeblood of improv comedy. The audience may be asked for a location, a relationship, an action, an object, something about themselves, or just about anything! The goal is to provide a seed for the rest of the show.

Bulldozing Bulldozing is moving through a scene with attention to the other players` Offer `s and to push only your own ideas into the scene. Not a good thing.

Short Form Style of improvised theater in which short and typically unrelated scenes are played. As opposed to Long Form , Short Form Improv is often more gimmickey and more based on silly games or handles, and less based on solid narrative and characters.
Terms for Today-write them down in your folder

Bulldozing: moving through a scene with attention to the other players` Offer `s and to push only your own ideas into the scene. Not a good thing.

Short Form: Style of improvised theater in which short and typically unrelated scenes are played. As opposed to Long Form , Short Form Improv is often more gimmickey and more based on silly games or handles, and less based on solid narrative and characters.

The focus of these games and exercises is on building characters. These games and exercises can be used for improv training, but are useful in any drama and theater education environment.
Character Building Games
Mr. So and So
Description

This is an improv game that`s more suited for rehearsal than for performance, though I can work on stage as well. Here is how it works.
Players call for new characters, by giving them names that refer to character or physical traits. Things like: Ah, here comes mr. Bad Irish Accent; I think we need Mrs. Pathological Liar for this one; Dear dear, if that isn`t Sir Eats-People. And so on.

The idea is to challenge the other players with weird and unexpected suggestions, and forcing htem to come up with an extravagant character right away.
Communal Monologue
Description

All improvisers in a circle. One player in the middle, and that player starts improvising a monologue. At any point in time, any other player may step (or rather glide) in and take the middle's player's place, and continue the monologue. The transitions should be smooth of course
Evil Twin
Description

You need 4 players for this improv game. 2 will improvize a scene. The other players are the other`s evil twins. At any point, the `twins` can shout `freeze` after which they tag out their twin, and continue the scene and do something evil. After that, they move out again, and the original twin brother needs to justify the evil, correct or repair the damage done and continue the scene.
Notes
Freeze
Description

4 actors start an improvized scene. At any point in time another player can call Freeze. This player then tags out one of the 4 actors, and takes his place. Both players then start a new scene, justifying their positions.
Party Quirks
Description

One player plays a character that is having a party. The other players will be the guests, and the audience provides us with who the guests might be. Of course the host does not know who the guests are. His task is to guess who the guests might be, based on hints the guests offer.
The games is over as soon as the host has guessed all guests.
Spontaneity
These improv games help you blank your mind, and train players to acknowledge the things they subconsciously think. These games and exercises can be used for improv training, but are useful in any environment in which spontaneity is to be encouraged.
performance
you could perform these in public
what's my line?
Long Form Category of improvised theater, in which a long play is improvised. As opposed to Short Form .

Narrative The actual story told by the scene. Scenes should generally have a decent beginning, middle and end.

Offer Any action or dialog that may advance a scene. Usually a good thing. Offers are supposed to be accepted. A strong offer is an offer that clearly gives a direction into which a scene might evolve. An Open Offer is an offer that leaves a lot of possible directions for the scene to evolve in.
advancing:
the process of moving a scene
forward.

conflict:
makes a story and advances a scene

endowing:
assigning attributes to another performer's character
sit, stand, bend
excuses
ends in death
bulldozing
focus
narrative
denial
conflict

accepting
endowing
long form
suggestion
short form
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