Improv Corner – Pushing Scenes Forward

There is a saying in improv that if you put a bunch of improvisers in a car then they are not going to go anywhere – and this can happen in scenes. What this means to people who do not improvise is that sometimes when you do a scene you can spend a lot of the time saying you are going to do something and not actually do it – so for example the car theory is – improvisers get into a car and say they are going somewhere but then they actually don’t go anywhere!!!!

One of the main things that really make a scene successful at times is pushing through that barrier of actually discussing something and actually doing something. The audience want to see you attempt to do that crazy thing in improv – so give the people what they want!! In short form especially, it is important to do this as people expect the wacky and it is the perfect time to justify it.

There are many ways to get past this barrier and one of the easiest ways I personally found was to attach it to a short form game and giving it a new rule so that you have to push through the talking and focus solely on the action.

The alphabet game is used a lot in short form as a warm up or to get people used to the concept and world of how improv can go. It is one of the very first games you learn and when you first play it, it can be quite hard to do. However, after you play it a number of times, it becomes easier and easier and you can find it quite a good game to use as a warm up for any sort of improv. However, the most problematic part of this game is that it can turn into a scene where people just talk to each other and do no action. That is why it is a good game to mix up the rules a bit and get used to going somewhere with a scene.

Instead of asking the audience for a suggestion like a location or a relationship you instead ask the audience for a scenario where you want something to happen or see something such as Landing A Plane, Building a Shed, Going on a Rollercoaster.

The aim of this version is that you HAVE to do the said task and complete it by the time you have got to the end of the alphabet. It may seem a bit intense only having 26 lines between you to get to the finale but having that time constraint means that you get to the point and actually do the action instead of trying to discuss or justify why you have to do it and how you are going to do it in the first place. It will help you train in getting the action that everybody wants to see in your scenes available and ready.

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