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Takeaways from Zlatin's workshop in March 2019
By warming up you get loose (forget your everyday problems, to be here and now), connect with other people and warm-up your body for the movements
- We don't have to allow people to play scenes without warming-up because they oft say no to the ideas of the other ones
- Applause with one person in between crunching and deciding if the applause is up or down and in what direction it continuous
Simple Rules for creativity
If we have endless choices, decisions become difficult. In Improv games some simple rules to provide a structure for the creativity. Breaking this rules don't mean failure, they are there to boost our creativity and invite us to take risks
- “Name three things”: game to show this. First round: Name the things that you see. 2. See an object and name the previous object which you have seen 3. See an object and name any other object. What is easier?
Yes and ... principle
It means no only to accept other people's ideas adding something but more or less to build a cathedral together (collaboration). Everyone is 100% responsible for the outcome and puts everything on stage. Less ideas is more powerful, than too many ideas. “Yes and” includes accepting the intonation, body language and point of view of the scene or story given by other players
- Make pairs. Player A says a word (like “truck”) and player B adds and adjective and says “Do you mean the old truck?”. Then player B start. On the second round, player has to add a whole idea “Do you mean that old truck which was stolen last month from the neighbours?”. On the third round each player takes a word from the last sentence “Do you mean those neighbours who live up in the mountain and we met every Sunday at the cinema?”. The next player can use mountain or cinema
Give and Take
Everyone likes players how are supportive. They not always have an idea but they go on stage to help other players. Always try to be supportive
- Game “Speak and stay” where there is no moderator because the group has to moderate itself and the talking-time of every person must be equal
- One player starts doing an abstract action in the middle of the circle. Other players go to the centre of the circle and imitate him. Then each player has to say an sentence related to that action. One can be supportive by saying “I will do it for ever”
- One player goes to the centre of the circle and starts singing a well-known song. The other player on the circle sing the song. When he gets stuck, a new player comes and starts singing another song
- Count as a group using numbers, the alphabet and non repeating cities. Every player has to ask himself “Does the group needs me to say the next number, letter or city?”. Listen and calm down. To go back to 1 isn't a punishment for the group but a rule of a collaboration exercise
Story telling and describing characters
Start with simple beginnings without much absurdity and make your characters human. It has to be the introduction of the story and the description of the characters. Don't introduce too much ideas from the beginning. The audience has to love the characters
CROW (Character, Relationship, Object, Where-Place)
- Traits and objects in two rows: It an be trained with two rows of players. The first player has to name a traits (Character) and the second one has to accept the traits, ideally related to behaviour. The second player starts then using an object. Afterwards he continues using the object and having the traits and offers a second traits to the other player who has to start using an object. It can be done with professions and objects, places and traits, activity and places, relationships and traits and every two aspects of CROW. When they finish they change rows
Games for describing places
By taking all the details of simple actions into account, the audience starts believing in the objects.
- All the players walk randomly around the room. Then they walk and feel your foots inside their shoes, then they feel their shoes covering your foots, their body inside their clothes, their clothes outside their body. Now they are walking through a substance, it keeps their body together, now it is liquid and the bodies are solid. Then the other way round. Now each player stops and starts feeling the substance around his body again. After a while they start making a tunnel into the substance around. Then they step into the tunnel, turn around and see the space left where their bodies were. Then they start building something with the substance. They take into account the texture, the weight and the space. Finally they you get in triads and build something with the other players. At the end everyone comments on the experience.
- Six players are in the same place (like a beach) and each of them gets on stage and start doing something taking the details into account
- “Painting the scene”: Six players enter one after the other into the same place (an artist studio). First the describe different corners of that place. At the end they play taking all previous objects into account
- One player does a simple action with all the details. After one minute, he must say one sentence and freeze. A new player replaces him/her and start a new action from the last position. When one minute is over, he can say one sentence and the games continues. This trains using body language to describe places
- “Your obvious is always your best” and each person has its own obvious. This can be shown by playing “Word per Word”. If everyone says the obvious is fast pace while interesting the audience
- You can not make everything important. Make only some aspects of the game important.
- Charisma is made of confidence, positive thinking and being here and now. Being only confident, you become an arrogant
- People has to realize on their own what can be improved in a scene or game. If they see the mistakes, they will understand them better. The moderator must ask the whole improv-group like Zlatin did
- “Mistakes are promoted” can also be an excuse to make mistakes and don't bother about them
- We want to play short-form games well. People coming on Saturdays and Thursdays want to have fun, improve their social skills and make friends
- We could develop a long-form small group and train there. We have to learn what actitude, motivation and commitment we need for long-form
Improvements to the current workshops
- Add more reflection after the games
- Explain more the why of the games, not the how
- We don't have to prepare for the shows, we only go there and act on stage
- Read books, go to improv festivals and training workshops
- We don't want to earn a living with improv, just have fun and improve our skills
- We could divide the groups, once we stop renting three rooms. In three months we can decide.