OK....

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.

HINT

If 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 for.

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.. exercise??

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 your head)

Maid 2: Why thank you. Your daughter gave it to me.

Thinking (She got her taste in hat design from you)

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..........

IMPROV

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 the intuitive.

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


OK

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??

Now. Is that "YES...AND" or what? You can hear it can't you? Now that little .WAV file is taken out of context of course....but you CAN still get it...and I think their work reflects much of what we have been working on so far.

So if you are interested in checking it out further...well here is a link.

You will also find other compilations of their work there...(And no this is NOT all about trying to sell CD's):)


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).

HINT: 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 for now...

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).

HINT:Make 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.

HINT:Make 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 cleanser.

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).

HINT:Have Fun!!