Step 1: Everyone who participates will be put into random groups of 10. You will be asked to play in a series of improv games in front of a judge who will give you points based on specific criteria (see below).
Step 2: If you get over a certain number of points, you will be placed into a new group of students. You will then be lead by a team facilitator who will help you get to know your team members better and help build a group dynamic. It is important to be able to work well with your team members, so the better you know them, the more comfortable you will be and the more fun you will have.
You will then enter a second round and again be judged based on your performance. Depending on your score, you will advance to a new round with a new team and so on until a final team is chosen.
Step 3: If you get under a certain amounts of points after any round, you will be placed into a workshop team, where you will have the chance to take drama workshops throughout the day where you can gain valuable experience and practice in drama skills and techniques.
1) Say ‘Yes, and…’
It is important never to say no to your partner. If the players don’t agree, the scene cannot move forward and you make your partners feel stuck. Always say ‘yes’ and suggest what to do next.
2) Establish Who/What/Where
For a story to be built, the players need to establish who is in the story, what they are doing, and where they are. This way, the audience knows what’s going on from the start.
3) Don't Block
Don’t turn your back to the audience and don’t stand in front of each other.
4) Tell a Story
Storytelling is probably the easiest rule to remember but the hardest one to do. The real magic of improv is when we see the players take totally random suggestions (like a plumber and a cab driver selling shoes in a shikumen) and somehow continue a dialog and make things happen in a chronological order with a beginning, middle, and end.
Games played at each competition round (tentative)
Questions Only, Taxi, Freeze Improv
Pan left-Pan right, Change, Party Quirks
Game Show, Dubbing, One Minute Scenes
Party Quirks, Questions Only, Late for Work
Form two lines, one person wide, facing each other. Have a conversation with your partner only consisting of questions! If a person says a statement or hesitates too long they get buzzed and have to go to the back of the line. The new person always starts the conversation.
Two chairs are set up facing the audience. One player begins in the stage left chair, driving the taxi. They pick up the first hitch-hiker (with a wacky personality). The driver then assumes the hiker’s personality for about 30 seconds when he then finds a reason to leave. The hiker then jumps into the driver’s seat and picks up the next hitch-hiker and so on.
Two people start a scene, the rest watch until they see something that gives them an idea—usually an interesting physical position. When someone from the audience calls, “freeze,” the actors freeze and the person who called ‘freeze’ taps one player out and assumes their physical position. They then start a completely new scene using that physical position. This game can also be played using a verbal cue instead of a physical one. After the new player calls, “freeze,” he taps one of the players on the shoulder and uses the last line of the previous scene as a first line to the new scene. The new player is always the one to start the new scene.
Pan Left-Pan Right
4 players make a square like in four-square except they all face the audience. The host gets suggestions from the audience on basic 2-person relationships (doctor/patient, mother/son, etc.). The host assigns the front pair a relationship and then instructs them to either pan left or pan right and the next two are given a different relationship until every combination (4 in total) are assigned a relationship. The game begins with the two front (most downstage) players playing a scene within their given relationship. The host (or audience if you wish) can call ‘pan left’ or ‘pan right’ at any time so that the two front players play their scene, picking up where they left off the previous time they were in the front.
In this 2 or 3 person game, the host can call “change” at any time, and the last person that spoke has to change the last thing he/she said. For example:
A: “Do you like my new shirt?”
B: “I love it.”
B: “I hate it.”
B: “Can I have it?”
4 players, one is a host of the party and he leaves the room. Meanwhile, the audience chooses personas for the three party guests such as a loving Frankenstein, a French kleptomaniac, and a cowardly lion. A good way to coach the audience to think of creative persons is for the host to say, “May I have 3 descriptive words like adjectives, verbs, or character traits? Then may I have three things like occupations, animals, or objects? The crazier the better.” Once the personas are decided and distributed, the host is brought back into the room and begins the scene by setting up for his party by talking to himself or doing things. After about 10 seconds, the first guest arrives and through his interaction with the guest, the host must guess his persona. Leave at least 30 seconds between each guest’s entrances. Once the host correctly guesses the persona of the party guest, that’s the party guest’s cue to leave.
5 person game: a host, a bachelor/bachelorette, and 3 contestants. There is a host to introduce characters and manage the game like on TV. The bachelor leaves the room while the audience decides on 3 personas for the contestants: there is always one celebrity, one superhero, and one quirky person. (i.e. – Taylor Swift, a woman with extendable arms, a man who says every word twice.) The questioner returns, the host introduces the game, and the bachelor proceeds to ask 3 dating-related questions to the contestants. At the end, the bachelor must first announce who they don’t want to date by stating their persons and then declare who they want to date by stating his/her persona.
4 person’s game. Two players act out a scene using gibberish; two players stand to the side on either end of the stage and translate after each line.
One Minute Scenes
Usually done with three players (but can also be done with 2 or 4), after getting a suggestion from the audience, the players do a timed one-minute scene. They then have to repeat that same scene in 30 seconds, then in 7 seconds, then in one second. Focus on the physicality and telling as much of the story as was told in the initial scene.
Late for Work
In this scene there is one boss, three employees, and one employee that is late for work. Before the game begins, the late employee leaves the room and the audience decides why she was late. The better suggestions are something ridiculous and physical such as ‘an elephant sat on him.’ The game begins with the late employee entering and the boss questioning her. The late employee must guess the reason based on the charades (pantomime movements) of her three co-workers who are standing behind the boss. If the boss turns around and sees the other employees “goofing off,” he may fire one and hire a new employee to take his place. The game ends when the late employee correctly guesses why she is late.