Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sentence by Sentence

This is a really basic concept, so we won't dwell on it. Improvisers need to take turns speaking. Here are a few common trappings:

  • Interrupting each other: this is a) tough for audience to pay attention to for longer than 20 seconds, b) annoying, c) hard on scene-development--how can you yes,and somebody when you didn't hear their offer.
  • Long stretches of speech: Sometimes an improviser gets on a ramble. Although this might be funny, it also forces an epic amount of listening from the other members of the team, and gives multiple offers to choose from. Which offer do I choose?
  • The one-sided conversation--when one improviser dominates and the other more-or-less listens. A lot like real life, but it doesn't progress the scene (or the real-life relationship?).
A simple way to avoid these 3 problems is to practice exercises where improvisers take turn saying 1 sentence, developing a scene that way. Another helpful exercise is one where improvisers finish each others' sentences, which forces them to listen and help develop each other's offers.

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