Once again my clarifications are in Blue

Exercises for Rule #1  YES.....AND..

Exercise #1 - Line  Yes...And...

This is an exercise we use at the begining of each of our classes. It is a great warm up to get "Yes..And.." embedded in your sub-conscious.

Line up and tell a story... 
So everyone stands in a line facing the "teacher, coach, leader".

Use "YES" as at the beginning of each  statement followed by the "AND" to make a new statement.

Ok this is easier to do than describe...The "leader" begins the story with any statment....i.e., "There is a bird"....."there is a truck"

HINT:= It should be a noun. 
Now....the first person in line responds......"Yes" and adds to the story with an "AND" statement - i.e., "YES... and the bird is a brilliant blue color".  OK?  Then the next person in line says "YES....It is a brilliant blue color and it is honking furiously."  OK. Got it?  That's it.

HINT:for the "leader" = Stay "focused" on the original noun.

i.e., "the bird"- The tendancy will be to "go off" focus....i.e., "Yes...and the bird is a brilliant blue color" followed by "Yes....and the brilliant blue color is like my mother's eyes" 
See? The focus has switched from the "bird" to "my mother's eyes".  The leader should watch for this........it will happen.
Ok....this exercise feels very constraining and controlled...."Just like the first time you learn to swing a golf club or baseball bat or learn how to hold a knitting needle."  But it is probably the exercise we find the most valuable and use the most often.  It places us into a world where we accept the previous moment with a "yes" and add to THAT moment with our own and...... The key here is add to THAT moment ("the bird")......WITHOUT creating a new focus (my mother's eyes).

Exercise # 1 (Variation)
Hey. Here is another fun approach to the exercise. Instead of using a noun, i.e., "bird"..."truck"...Try using a name, i.e., "His name is Harry" or "Her name is "Janet"...You will find yourself creating some pretty complex, and unique folks.

NOTE: I have found that this exercise is an efficent way for us to experience the difference in "adding to" rather than "questioning" or "negating" an offered statement. After experiencing this exercise most players will easily develop an awareness of their natural tendencies to negate or question a partner's statement. 

Exercise #2 Circular Yes

This one uses what you just did in exercise #1 but takes it a step further. So, everyone forms a circle with plenty of room between you.

One player begins Yes...And...(just as you did in the line) In this exercise the statement is made to anyone else in the circle.

So now we are doing the same thing we did in the line except now each player is walking up to any other player in circle, making eye-contact, and then communicating a Yes..And... statement. Now, that player walks up to someone else in the circle and, in the same way, communicates a new Yes...And statement.


Try to keep the pace of the action moving past the point where you feel comfortable and in control. As the exercise progresses continue to work step-up the pace.

So now we are taking the Yes...And... exercise out of the line and actually making contact with other players in the line. This is the first step toward biulding a scene!


Here is what to work for. When a player is communicating to you in the circle concentrate all of your energy to LISTENING AND ONLY LISTENING. What you will want to do is only half listen while you are trying to THINK of something to say on your turn. DO NOT THINK only LISTEN. Amazingly,you will find that it will be much easier to make your statement through FOCUSED LISTENING then through thinking. TRY IT. You'll see.

Yet another important (helpful) HINT

Edited 3/15/98 after a class when this problem became blatant

Use this exercise as a warm up to STOP THINKING.....

The "YES" is an IMMEDIATE AFFIRMATION of the former statement. "Yes" follows the previous statement WITHOUT A BEAT OR PAUSE.


Player 1-Yes...and the bird is swimming in soup.....

Player 2-(pause) Yes...and...(NO NO NO)


Player 1-Yes...and the bird is swimming in soup.....

Player 2- YES...and pecking at the alphabetical noodles (YES!)

The point here is to use "Yes" as the tool to use your mouth without thinking - An IMMEDIATE AFFIRMATION - a FULL COMMITMENT to the previous statement........after that the "AND..." becomes the follow-through of that AFFIRMATION - COMMITMENT. See the difference?:)