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|Eight is NEVER Enough's Improv Study Guides
Too often, new improvisers (and some older) waste precious time asking questions. Most often a question is an act of laziness and forces your scene partner to do all the work. Remember our scene in the pet shop?
Player One: What is that? Player Two: That’s a dog.
Player One: What color is it? Player Two: It’s brown.
Player One: Can I buy it? Player Two: Sure.
We learn something about scene, but this is not that interesting and far less information than the original. Very little exchange off information and the audience is not given anything exciting. Turn your question into a statement OR supply a statement that answers you question.
EXERCISE: THE QUESTION GAME
Perform a scene where every play can only speak using questions. (VARIATION – When a player messes up, replace player with teammate)
The worst thing you can do in Improvisation is to say “NO!” or say or do something that implies “NO!” Sometimes you will get a cheap laugh, but you always kill the forward motion of the scene. Improvisers often call this “Selling out your teammate.”
Now lets see a player block the other player in the same scene:
Player One: I really like that brown-haired dog best.
Player Two: Um that's not a dog. That's a unicorn.
You might get a laugh from this but the scene has nowhere to go. Instead of agreeing with PLAYER ONE, PLAYER TWO negated everything for the cheap laugh. Now we have a scene about what the animal is, learning nothing about the characters, location or situation.
EXERCISE: “NO! But…” – Play the same games from the “YES! And…” but now start every statement with “NO! But…” You will quickly see how difficult it is to tell a story or perform a scene.
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Articles and Improv Handbook by Walt Frasier . Mr Frasier has appeared on film, TV, Commercials and the Live theater and is currently the director of intruction for the COMEDY HALL OF FAME FOUNDATION (www.comedyhalloffame.com)See Walt Frasier live in Times Square and touring nationwide in Improv Comedy Troupe EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH.
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Improv Performance Tips:
Why study improvisation?
I want to improvise
- Getting started
Teamwork in Improv
The Responsible Performer
The Performers Journal
Improv Warm Up Games
Rule #1 "Yes AND"
No Questions. No Blocks
Setting Up Your Scene:
List of Ask Fors
Creating a Character
Creating a Situation
Creating a Setting
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