This week I returned back to the improv lesson of advanced Short Form. I couldn’t attend the lesson before because I had to go and film celebrities for my job and met the one and only Ross Kemp – I am not a fan really of his but made me laugh as there was an improv game we used to play up in Newcastle called Eastenders (i am sure there is another name for this game but don’t know the name). if you want to pass the slap to the left you go “Ave ITTTTTTT” it you want to block it you say “LEAVE IT AAAATTTTT”, if you want to pass it across the circle you go “YOU’RE FAMILY” and if you want everyone to move in the circle someone goes “YOU AIN’T MY MOTHER’ and everyone shouts “YES I AM” and then everyone moves as fast as they can to a new spot. It was nice to meet Ross Kemp and he was a lovely chappie and really interesting to talk to but this kept in my mind the whole time i saw him and now wish in some ways I had told him.
Anyway onto this weeks lesson, it was great to be back amongst all of my eight weekers and nice to be around some people that i really enjoy improvising with or watching perform. This week was all about narrative and was a really fun lesson to be a part of.
The first part of the evening was all about warming up and playing a few warm up games. The first was similar to the Eastenders game I told you about above but had different words to say for each action. After this game we played one where we have to walk towards someone else in the circle saying three random items and then they have to walk into the circle using the last word of what the last person said to create three items more that are related.
The next game we stood in a circle and had to make up a story each creating a sentence using these sentence starters:
Once upon a time
And every day
Until one day
And because of that
And because of that
And because of that
And ever since then.
This was to give us an exercise to show us that listening to a whole story is important to make the scene flow better and stronger. The next game was a story based one as well where someone would add a sentence at the beginning and someone would be the sentence at the end and then the rest of us would have to add random sentences to make it form a story.
The next game we did a game all about directing someone in a scene which was quite fun to be a part of. There is three people sitting on the side as ‘Directors’ and one person on the performance area. The Directors have to tell the people of stag what to do and they have to do exactly what they say. Once we tried it with one person we then had two team of directors and two people on the stage creating a scene out of what is being dictated.
After a few games of this we went onto the final game of the evening. Someone would be the ‘author’ and then the rest of the improvisers will act out what is being said – both the people and the props that are called in the story to create a scene. This turned into a long form type of game with a story being built up about a date at the opera going wrong.
It was a fun lesson with a lot being learnt in the form of narrative in new and exciting ways.
Case Study – Choose Your Own Adventure
This weeks lesson reminded me of the books that you used to read when you were children, Choose Your Own Adventure. These were a variety of books where at the end of each chapter the reader has a choice as to what happens next, so for example if you are faced with a Dragon you have a choice to either slay the beast or to run away from it, depending on the choice you choose depends on what page you turn to in the book.
The last game that we played reminded me of those books because the route of the story was in the hands of whoever took the role of of the author. There were many routes in which each of the scenes could of played out but the person who decided to tap out the author and become it themselves would have the power to manipulate the way that it went and what the other improvisers did in the scene.