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Commit to the moment and leave your emotional response lead you through your scenes
This page is based on Ella Galt's workshop What comes next?. Ella is passionate about the structure and theory behind drama and is always showing how small changes can have great impact on your scenes.
Length: 2 x 3 hours
Punctuality: Due to the nature of the topic, every participant must do exercises to be in the moment and say yes to the offers of the other players, I recommend to close the door after 20 minutes.
Make choices with confidence and your scenes will flow! Discover that listening to your emotional response, yes or no, at its basic level, will easily lead you to next action, dialogue or focus change. Those overwhelming infinite possibilities improv offers will become manageable and your scenes won't stall when your team is unsure of what to do next.
The key skills to learn are:
- Accept other's players offers with confidence
- Respond emotionally
- Reduce the choices to binary ones (yes or no)
- Give your scenes a simple structure to relax and stop thing about what to do next
- Ask the students to explain their expectations before starting the workshop. This helps you understand what they are looking for
- Ask for feedback after each games to see if the students grasp the goals of them
- A short break of 5 minutes after 90 minutes gives smokers the opportunity to go outside and reloads the energy of the group
Punctuality Gift (Group ritual, not part of the workshop's topic)
First three hours
Being in the moment
This goal of this game is that students get into the mood of thinking more about others than themselves.
- Circle saying yes: All players stand in a circle. One player calls other one by name (or eye contact if he don't know the name). The called player says “Yes” when he hears his name. Then the first player start walking towards him and takes his place. The second player they calls a third one and waits for the yes to start walking. After a while the game is speed up. The main point here is that everyone waits for the yes before walking.
Warm-up to be fearless about mistakes
Students learn not to care about making mistakes.
- Clapping in triplets: Player A clap to B. Then C has to clap to A or B. If a mistake is done, the game continues
Training listening to the "no" feeling
Students learn to hear to their emotional response
- What comes next?: In pairs one player tells a story full of actions. The second player makes the action and asks what comes next, when he established it.
- How it feels to lead and to follow?
- “Yes”, “ok”, “too short” and “I come along with that”: In pairs the players do scenes. One of the players can only answer with those sentences. He can put emotion and intonation to convey more information about how much they like to direction where the scene is heading
- Dream storytelling: One player describes a dream the second player is having. The second player lays on the floor and can say “no” any time he wants. The story teller has to get some rejection after a while
- Advancing, standing up and sitting in pairs: All players are standing in pairs in front of their partners. They can only move in an imaginary lane backwards and forward, stand up, sit and crawl. For some minutes they move and react to the other players movements without talking
- What comes next? With no: In pairs one player tells a story full of actions. The second player makes the action and asks what comes next, when he established it. He can reject the idea saying no
- Responsing emotionally on stage: The players make to rows. Player A always gives an offer with a place, a character, an object or a relationship (CROW). Player B will:
- says emotionally yes or no. (1. Round)
- says emotionally jam or jak. (2. Round)
- talks normally emotionally (3. Round) Player A may add a final line of dialogue
- The goal is to allways accept the offer and to also accept it with agreement or rejection
Last three hours
Be in the moment
- Sign saying circle: Every player introduces himself to the circle saying his name and inventing a sign. After one round in which everyone presents his sign, the players start calling each other with the name and the sign. After a while, they call each other only using the names
- Emotional improv circle: One player chooses an emotion and does a vowel sound. He/She makes eye contact and advances to the chosen player whom imitates the emotion
- 2. round: Player B answers with a line after imitating the emotion. Yelling the emotional sound gives us time to think about our response line.
Use bits and turning points as the structure of your scenes
Bits are ideas completed as a whole which lead one moment of the scene. “I want to marry you!” (happiness), “Your parents are against it” (worry), “We will make them an offer they can't resist!” (hope) are bits. During those bits the background emotion increases until the next bit. The next one establishes a new emotion. These bits lead to a turning point where the players finish the scene, one of them leave the stage or a third player enters.
- There is one director and two players: Divide the participants in triplets. The director proposes an emotion and the two players start a scene. The director must say “bit” when the topic changes and “turning point” when one player could leave the stage or the scene could finish.
- Two players on stage and now the audience is the director:
- The audience put their hand up when a new bit starts
- Or the players themselves make a signal when a new bit starts
- Bits with four different positions: Two players are on stage and each one chooses four different body uncommon body positions in different areas of the stage. Afterwards they start a scene and each bit means a change of position. They have to justify the change.
- Be true to your emotional response always saying yes to the offer
- Listen and wait during the silences
- The players have to commit to each bit without worrying about what comes next
Games to play if there is enough time
The following games will be played taking bits and turning points into account:
The group enjoyed these games