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Eight is NEVER Enough's Improv Study Guides


How To Improvise: THE WHERE


In the exposition of a story, we also get to know the locations. Great writers spend entire pages describing landscapes, rooms, dark alleys etc. Set designers for movies and plays pay a lot of attention to details (Most often) in creating play spaces for actors and to get audiences in the mood of a scene. In Improvisation, we have a blank canvas to paint as we see fit. But we are wonderfully aided by our imaginations and those of the audience. If you see and believe it, so will they. Review the section on pantomime. http://waltfrasier.com/blog1/2010/11/14/how-to-improvise-pantomime

So many environmental factors can effect us and help shape a story. Close your eyes and imagine how the following could effect our scenes and characters.

Location: Are we inside or out? Big open space or Closter phobic? In a house, office, train station, police station, restaurant, gym, street, sewer, cemetery, church, desert, meadow, forest, jungle, swamp, etc etc etc. Is there furniture or other objects in the space. How crowded is the space?

TIME:
Time of day can greatly effect the location and characters. Early morning, rush hour traffic, late at night, etc

WEATHER:
Hot/Cold, Rainy/Damp/Dry, Cloudy/Sunny, Windy/Calm etc

EXERCISE 1) BUILD A ROOM:
One player enters an imaginary room, pantomimes a task, placing one piece of imaginary furniture (set-piece) and imaginary one item (prop). Player two enters the same room, respecting everything established by player one and adding new items. REPEAT with players 3,4,5 etc. Try this for various rooms, office etc. Put most of your objects on the DOWNSTAGE area so that you do upstage yourself.

EXERCISE 2) STARTING A SCENE:
Player one pantomimes a physical activity (job, hobby, sport etc). Player two starts dialogue based on the activity. Establish a strong WHO and WHERE in the first 2-3 lines. NO QUESTIONS! NO BLOCKS! This is a great way to start any scene game. Keep physical activity going. Need an example, go all the way back to “YES! And on page 6. Our pet store scene has a clear definition of WHO and WHERE without anyone ever saying “My name is…” or “We are in a Pet Store”. Just a couple lines establish all of this. Or try a simple line like, “Hey sister, I am happy to help clean up before mom and dad get home.” Already we have clearly defined characters, relationships and locations

FURTHER STUDY:
Start to notice how you and others react to the environment. Try using these observations to inspire great scene work.

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. (www.eightimprov.biz)
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