Yes And…- part 5 – Modern Times

This week I went to the drop in again at The Nursery with C3Something and it was Shem teaching again! This was the last drop in i am able to go to in a while as we are going back to rehearsals next week so it was great to have Shem teach us some new and interesting concepts I havent really considered before.

We started with a warm up name game in standard Shem style, the first thing we had to do was say our name and then impersonate someone doing an impression of us. We then played the game Zip Zap Zop to get us warm up even more.

The next warm up game was Dance orientated and consisted of music and movement. The idea was that someone would go into the middle of the circle and do a random dance move and then everyone else would start copying that move and then someone would stand opposite that person and then change the dance move to what they wanted to do and the pattern continues.

The next part of the lesson was to include the Dance moves within a scene, the idea was to start the scene with any of the dance moves you liked from the last game and see what happened. The idea was to start with a random dance move and to not associate the scene with that move and not to think of it. It was interesting to see the ways the scenes played out.

The next game was another warm up to get us in the mood fot the next set of scenes. We had to get into pairs / threes and then create the letters that Shem was calling out. This was a help in the next game as we did these before the scenes and then whatever shape we were placed in last we had to then play out a scene with it, yet again not focussing on the object but on the scene playing out.


We then revisited the painting the scene exercise where you go into a room and paint it by interacting with the scene, however this time it was not about what we were saying about each of the items it was about the way we interacted with the items silently so that the other improvisers had to work out what room we were in.

The final game of the evening was all about music and actions. We did scenes in pairs where we were not allowed to talk and just use the music to create a scene. This was so fun to play. I ended up doing a scene with my improv troupe buddy Kevin and it was so easy to do because we work well together that it ended up being a scene about being competitive about dishwashing. The music was quite heavy with a good beat so i was not just reacting to what Kevin was doing in the scene I was also listening to the music and trying to time my movements to the beat to give perfect comedy timing. It must of done the job because we got lots of laughs.

The final part of the lesson was to start doing the music themed actions above and then halfway through start acting out a scene that would evolve around the actions that we were making. I didn’t like this as a game as I felt it wasn’t something I enjoyed and personally think it didn’t work – it may do with more practise but I just didn’t really enjoy the concept of it, but you can’t enjoy everything with Improv!

Case Study – Modern Times

There was loads of Charlie Chaplin films that I could of used as this weeks case study, however when I went on holiday at Christmas, I downloaded this to watch on the flight over and I am so glad I did because it really is a funny and entertaining film to watch.

This film compared to his works before, was a bit more nitty gritty and more of a political point in regards to the working class and the Unions, however it has some fantastic scene that make it a great case study when talking about music and improv. Before we go any further an interesting fact about the film – Chaplin created the music for the film himself and it was criticised for the way the music was by other professionals in the industry at the time. However, it is one of the silent films where the music has lived on and was even made into the famous song Smile which people still associate with Chaplin to this day.

If you watch any Chaplin film, the action is perfectly timed to the music and there are areas of this film such as the jail scene, the roller skates scene and the song and dance in the restaurant where these are highly noticeable. His ability to make comedy go in time to the perfectly composed music is amazing to watch and has a lot of inspiration for any improviser.

The music related scenes that we did in this weeks lesson were harder to work to as we were guessing what the music was going to come next as we had never heard of it as with Chaplin it wasn’t always the case. He is a great here of mine and from doing the music related improv scenes this week its easy to see how much he has inspired me as all i was thinking about was Chaplin the whole time.

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