OK, so now we are ready to do all that improv stuff
- all the forms and games like freeze tag - Transformation and all that
stuff. SO here we go.....
What usually happens at this point -- from my experience
-- is that we forget everything that we have experienced on the previous
pages. SO it is a good idea to warm up any improv session with one or more
of the exercises we did previously. We will also look at what we are doing
here in terms of the elements on the previous pages.
So, what we will be doing first is a series of exercises
that can link more easily with the work we have done previously....and
we will call them
THE LINKING EXERCISE SERIES
Linking Exercise #1- Beyond Yes...And...
Two players stand up and do the same Yes...And...exercise described
as the exercise for RULE #1.
That's right - the same old exercise we did in
a line, only now, two players are doing it. So the two players are up and
saying something like... Player 1: Yes and there is a bird. Player 2: Yes
and the bird is pink. OK. So. Very good. Now here is something important
to get. WE AIN'T JUST DOING WORDS HERE. OK? And here is what we
mean by that.
you have a sound card touch my face
Once again (AS ALWAYS) everytime you are led
into the intuitive....all of your mechanisms will be focused on protecting
you from that UNCERTAIN AND UNCOMFORTABLE world. So here is what to watch
1)Players will be inclined to use the Yes...And...
as JUST WORDS. Now, we know from our experience in the Word Repetition
Game that words are NOT what is interesting. What is? All the intuitive
stuff. AND all this "INTUITIVE STUFF" dosen't flow when we are "COMFORTABLE".
SO don't be COMFORTABLE.
How can you stop being COMFORTABLE in the YES...AND..
1) ATTACK with the YES... Don't pause - Don't
think - AGREE.
2) BE THERE with your YES....(It is not just
a word) Make it mean you are there with your whole being...You are not
SAYING yes - you are LIVING yes.
3) Then ATTACK with the AND.. part. Try not
to pause. Try not to think. Just add whatever comes up.
ALL THIS SHOULD MAKE YOU A LOT LESS COMFORTABLE:)
NOW once you feel (not think) you have all this
going (and you should really be able to FEEL the difference) we are ready
for the next part.
EXERCISE 1 Part 2
The "Leader" coaches "Drop the yes". The
two players continue doing the same thing except they do not actually SAY
the word "YES" but only continue to "LIVE" it.
Yes...You may stop "SAYING" YES now. BUT do not
stop living it.
And HOW DO I "LIVE" ...YES? (You may ask). Well...start
by just saying it to yourself BUT make sure the ENERGY of the "YES" is
still there. Make sense? Well we do it all the time. We don't say a lot
of things out loud that we are saying "very loudly" inside.
In fact this whole thing is included in its
own comic genre : "Comedy of Manners". Typically the scene is set up with
two old maid types that don't like each other but pretend to anyway --
where the conversation goes something like this:
Maid 1: That is an awfully nice hat.
Thinking (It looks like live bird landed on
Maid 2: Why thank you. Your daughter gave it
Thinking (She got her taste in hat design from
Anyway -- that is what living "YES" is even
though you aren't saying it aloud. You respond immediately and with your
whole being -- LIVING the yes. OK? Already? SO...that is what we are doing
in this part of the exercise -- LIVING THE YES -- and not saying it aloud.
OK. And NOW. Guess what? We are finally ready
to do our very first..........
If you have a sound card play the horn
BUT FIRST A LITTLE MORE COMMENTARY
Yes..we have done all this stuff before ever getting
to the place where most people BEGIN learning improv. Nothing wrong with
that. But as we started all this way back in the rules exercises we talked
about becoming acquainted with the "basic rules" and what they mean in
action. Now one can learn to play a game like basketball, football, soccer,
bowling, golf...... by just starting and acquiring the necessary skills
through trial and error. OR one can drill on dribbling, swinging, the approach,
driving....as a part of learning the GAME. And the later method, MORE or
LESS (More I hope) is what we are doing in this approach. So...once again...this
process, up to this point, has been
1)A system of rules that help us get into
2)A system of "hands on" or in this case "cyber-keys
on" exercises to help you discover for yourself what the WORDS DESCRIBING
THE RULES mean in action.
3)And now - a system to aid you in what may
be going right or wrong in your improv work.
END OF COMMENTARY
For this next section you will need to have a
sound card - and it is best surfed using Netscape 3.0+. Sorry.
Now before we talk let's just see (or
hear) if all this stuff we been working on -- really works.
That little bubble you see below you is a sound
wave....and what you will hear is a .WAV file from a recording by Mike
Nichols and Elaine May from the album (now CD) "in retrospect". Why is
that bubble there to hear? Well...because they are possibly one of the
greatest improvisational teams of all time... (Maybe).
BUT what is important is that you hear
them working with some of the same elements we have been working with in
all the preceding pages and exercises. If you "RIGHT CLICK" on the bubble
thing a menu will appear and one of the choices is PLAY and other control
kinds of things...... OK. Ready to give a listen??
Linking Exercise #2- WHO?...WHAT?...WHERE?
Did you know that what you were actually doing
in the last exercise was......IMPROV? Well it was. So now we are ready
to do IMPROV--(since already have). So now we need to look at the BIG THREE
elements we need for an IMPROV SCENE.
1)WHO are you?
2)Where are you?
3)What are you doing?
You will discover certain variations
of these elements depending on where you look......but they are really
all about the same....and we will look at some of those differences in
detail later. OK. But--according to ME anyway these are the BIG 3--OK?
And we will look at them one at a time begining with..........
a)WHO am I?
The Players choose (or are given) who they are
in the scene. They then do Exercise 1 Part 2 (Yes...And...with the leader
coaching -"Drop the yes") using the "who" they chose (or are given).
For now: Make WHO someone who is close to you -- brother, sister, mother,
father,... someone that you know.
Now...What is the reason for this HINT? Well...because
it will be the tendency of most players to chose (or give) a WHO that is
more like these - Doctor, Teacher, Garbage Collector, etc.. The PROBLEM
is that these are NOT WHO's - they are PROFESSIONS. To live these PROFESSIONS
would cause us to give or act an IMPRESSION of what these PROFESSIONS might
represent. To do this we would be forced to THINK...and we know by now
that to THINK (need we say more??) We will learn how to handle this later...but
Pick a WHO that is close to you....SO you aren't
forced to create a THINKING (stinking) IMPRESSION.
b)WHERE am I?
The Players choose (or are given) "WHERE" for
the scene. They then do Exercise 1 Part 2 (Yes...And...with the leader
coaching -"Drop the yes") using the "WHERE" they chose (or are given).
sure the "WHERE" you work with exists in reality.
Now what is that HINT all about? How can you
chose a WHERE that does not exist in reality? Well that is the tendency
of most players. Most often they will tend to want to pick a WHERE like
- a baseball park, a department store, a park. Well...what is wrong with
these WHERE's? Well just like the WHO example above they aren't really
WHERE's at all...but they define a CONCEPT that contains a whole bunch
of good WHERE's. Here are some examples.
1)A baseball park (no) - A hot dog stand in
the lower deck in the third inning. (yes)
2)A department store (no) - The fishing pole
aisle in the sporting department. (yes)
3)A park (no) - A rowing pond next to the boat
rental concession. (yes)
Ok...so we get it. Be sure to make your WHERE
one that is not a CONCEPT but one that exists in REALITY by making it SPECIFIC,
SPECIFIC, SPECIFIC. OK.
c)WHAT am I doing?
The Players choose (or are given) "INITIAL WHAT"
the scene. They then do Exercise 1 Part 2 (Yes...And...with the leader
coaching -"Drop the yes") using the "INITIAL WHAT" they chose (or are given).
First a little bit about these elements. This
is one that you probably won't find in most Improv set ups - Yes it is
one that I found good to use. SO it MUST be great....right? Well anyway....It
is really a first thing to DO in a scene - since it seems that the first
moments are so important....(like a first impressions are lasting kind
of a thing).
It's really an INITIAL POF OBJECT. It gives
you something to focus on immediately when working a new scene.
sure it is something that exists in reality.
Another one of those silly hints? Well the
kind of INITIAL WHATs that most players tend to pick are things like washing
the dishes, watching tv, washing the car. And what is wrong with those
we might ask? Well just as it is a danger to pick a WHO or WHERE that is
a THINKING trap....the same is true of INITIAL WHATs. The ones listed are
really concepts of action that CONTAIN a whole bunch of good INITIAL WHATs.
Here are some exmaples.
1)Washing the dishes (no) - Drying a salad
fork with a blue and white striped towel. (yes)
2)Watching TV (no) - You are so deeply moved
watching the "FREE WILLY" video that you are chewing your nails (yes)
3)Washing ther car (no) - You are scrubbing
the chrome spokes of your hub caps with a yellow brush and an abrasive
OK already.........so you get it........be
SPECIFIC, SPECIFIC, SPECIFIC...because that is what you do in REAL LIFE--a
whole chain of SPECIFIC things from birth till death.
FINALLY - This is called an "INITIAL WHAT'
since it is the first POF of the Scene. A POF OBJECT, no less, which can
be incorporated into the scene or not. It is just meant to be something
you can get your teeth into. An INITIAL WHAT.
d) WHO, WHAT, AND WHERE.
The Players choose (or are given) a"WHO, WHAT
and WHERE" the scene. They then do Exercise 1 Part 2 (Yes...And...with
the leader coaching -"Drop the yes") using the "WHO, WHAT and WHERE" they
chose (or are given).