"The Impro Teachers Kit"
"The Games Box"
Below are free samples of impro exercises from “The Impro Teachers Kit”
Whole Group Exercises
Place four or five chairs in the performance space. Tell the players this is a bench overlooking the sea, next to an old people’s home. Select one person from the group to start. Tell everyone the focus of the scene is to represent old age. The physical and vocal characteristics; the ideas and attitudes; the fears, concerns and prejudices of old people should be explored within the context of the beach and ocean. The first person is asked to enter the performance space, in character, and in the process of sitting on the bench and going though a sequence of actions, establish what sort of a character they are; age, temperament etc. When the first character is established the second enters, then third, then fourth etc. Each character needs to be clearly established. There should be lots of vocal interaction with other characters because they are well acquainted with each other. Characters should enter and leave at appropriate times. The whole point of the exercise is to try to represent a ‘slice of life’ of an ocean front bench frequented by old people. Actions should never be forced and must appear perfectly natural.
This improvisation involves the whole group or it may be better to divide into two depending on the size of the group. The players are to create a TV News broadcast where there is an incident that creates ‘breaking’ news. Eg. A terrorist attack, an accident, an assassination, a celebrity drug bust etc. Two of the news team can be anchor people in the studio. Others can be, on site reporters, eyewitnesses, victims, those providing expert opinion, government officials etc.
(1) Have players discuss department stores in general; what they are like, how they operate, sales and promotions etc. Ask them to choose whether they want to play the roles of customers, managers, sales people or cleaners. Make sure each member knows who s/he is, how old, what they are doing there, which part of the store they would be found in etc. Also what it’s like when there is a big sale on.
2) Create the store by arranging furniture items in the room and clearly identifying, perhaps with masking tape on the floor, where doors and aisles are. You may even have signs made indicating where each department is. Then have people take their places for the big sale. Do the ritual of opening the doors and letting people in.
3) After a few minutes stop the impro and ask the group how well they think they portrayed the reality of the scene. Get them to re-do the scene incorporating the suggestions.
4) As a final stage ask they students how they could structure the scene for an audience so that the focus moves from one place to another to pick up the action. Discuss the sort of dramatic tensions that could be portrayed in the scene.
Required: an assortment of furniture items and equipment that could be used to establish the store, chalk or tape to mark the aisles.
For a comprehensive set of cards of impro exercises for every age group, every occasion, buy “The Impro Teachers Kit” .