This week in improv it was a lesson all about incorporating three people in a scene. This is an important skill to have in improv because there are many games that require three people and it is a difficult skill to balance a scene out correctly so that everyone doesn’t talk over each other or that it doesn’t become a mess.
We first did some warm ups and we went back to some that we had already done at the beginning of the course – one of them being where we one person is in the middle and sings a random song and then everyone joins in and then someone will go in the middle and take over singing a song the original song reminds them of. Then we played another game where someone would pose as a statue in the centre of the circle then someone would go in and pose a different shape then people outside the circle will name it something. The final warm up game was mind melt again where you have to say random words until someones words match then you sing the mind melt song.
The first game we played had three people sitting in a row, the two on the outside would have a conversation whilst the person in the middle was not allowed to say anything but had to react to the conversations that were going on around them. This game created humour for the audience because its all about the person in the middles reaction that makes the game look hilarious. It is like a mime in the silent film or comedians such as The Boy With Tape on His Face silence creates laughter for the audience.
The next game was to give us training on allowing people to talk in a scene because when there is three people it is harder to create the space to allow others to talk. We did this with a game where each of the people on stage had to do a silly noise or action after they have spoken to create space between the talking. The first group had to lick their lips after everything that they said, the second group had to blow a raspberry with their tongue and the final group had to blow kisses at the end as well.
The next game consisted of rotating personalities, each person on stage creates a personality on stage for their character. So for example, one person could be really angry, another suspicious and another really enthusiastic. They start playing out a scene and then Stephen would ring his bell and then the people on stage would move one space to the left and play the character of the person next to them playing the scene fluidly. This creates humour for the audience because they get to see the improvisers on stage becoming other people and overtaking the roles of the previous improviser.
We finished off the evening playing the narrative game we played last week where someone has a typewriter and tells a story that the others at out.
Case Study – WitTank
When looking at three scene comedy a great case study for this is the sketch comedy duo WitTank and watching how the guys Mark Cooper-Jones, Naz Osmanoglu and Kieran Boyd act on stage. Whilst they of sketch comedy, watching how they all react to a scene is really important to analyse whilst doing three person scenes in improv.
Just take a few minutes to look at their sketches in the video above, now when i say that, I don’t mean look at the scenes i mean look at the guys and how they are playing the scenes. Even when the focus is only on two of the guys the other one will still be part of the scene and act in the background. Whilst the lesson this way was about not talking over others in a three person scene, it is important to look at trip comedy acts and how they present themselves on stage as they can be an inspiration and great to watch.
WitTank are a great comedy trio to watch on stage because their sketches all vary and they all use the stage and make it their own with their unique personas. Whilst the guys all do their own stand up shows and their own individual projects, if they tour near you i recommend going to see them and watching them at work.