Game of the Scene – an example

A therapist welcomes her patient into her office and asks him to tell her about his week. He tells her how he argued with his teenage child about a curfew. She tells him about her own truculent child. He tells her how he is frustrated with his spouse in the bedroom. The therapist sympathizes with him and complains about how her spouse refuses to sleep with her. The patient admits to getting too drunk at a work party. The therapist admits that she is drunk right now.

This is an example of a scene with a game.

The Game of the Scene is a term we use in improv (and sketch comedy) to describe what is funny and interesting about a particular scene. Continue reading “Game of the Scene – an example”

IRC Podcast with Will Hines and John Frusciante

Finally, episode #11 of the Improv Resource Center Podcast is ready and uploaded! Will Hines and John Frusciante from the UCB Theatre in New York discuss the game, improv training simulators, an improv sabbath and things to steal from Ian Roberts.

Will and John host the UCB Theatre Podcast and teach at the UCB Training Center.

What is first unusual thing?

The best stories and songs and memories all have something unusual about them. Sometimes it’s slightly out of the ordinary, sometimes it’s absurd.

A common concept in improvised scene work is that at the top of the scene, we should be trying to discover the first unusual thing about the situation or relationship and then use that to create a game for the scene. A few questions were recently posed on my message board about the first unusual thing and here was my response:

The first unusual thing has a lot to do with how our brain works. We remember and are delighted by novelty in general. Lets say you shook hands with 20 people today, and 19 of them shook your hand in a way you expect. If the 20th person shook your hand and then pulled you in close and whispered into your ear, “You are the one, the only one who can save us.” You would remember that handshake long after you forgot the other 19 people.

The best stories and songs and memories all have something unique and unusual about them. Some of these unusual things are just slightly out of the ordinary, some are absurd or ridiculous. I would go so far to say that all great theatre is about unusual things. Plays are not about the days where everything mirrors ordinary life exactly and everything happens just as we would expect. It’s about the days when things go wrong or unravel in unexpected ways or about characters whose ordinary days seem strange to us.

Continue reading “What is first unusual thing?”