Davidson Theatre Improvisation
Listen to morning announcements or check the CallBoard outside room 70 for the first meeting of this troupe. See Mr. Crawford with any questions or ideas.
Improv Games...Improv Night
Through out the year, we host improv competitions. Any Central Ohio school may field a team or teams and enter at no cost. Audience members pay to watch the hilarity. For more information call Trace Crawford at (614)921-7200 or e-mail him at email@example.com
Below are descriptions of many of the improv games we play at our improv nights!
Please Note: The following material may not be reprinted and distributed without the express permission of the author. If you are interested in doing so, you must contact Hilliard Davidson Theatre for permission.
185 – 185 ____ walk into a bar. A game about telling really, REALLY bad jokes.
Actor's Nightmare - In this scene one actor will read all her lines from a script, while the other actor must justify those lines and a scene will arise from this chaos.
Alliteration - Players ask for a letter, usually a consonant, and incorporate into the scene as many words beginning with that letter as possible. Variation - Each player can have their own letter.
Alphabet Scene - Starting with 'A', each line spoken in the scene must start with the next letter of the alphabet. Scene must come to a logical conclusion when the team reaches 'Z'.
Arms - One player provides the arms for another. Can be a monologue or scene.
At The Movies - Two critics review either a single film or multiple films. As they review, clips from the fictitious movie are acted out onstage. Variation: Can be done as a “tribute” to a fictitious actor or director.
Boris - Boris is an invisible torturer in an interrogation scene.
Categories – Each player is given a category (i.e. cars, foods, etc) They must incorporate as many examples of that category into the scene as possible
Chance of a Lifetime - A person is picked from the audience and questioned about something they have always wanted to do.
Conducted Story – The players form a line across the stage. When the host points, the player must tell part of a story based on a subject provided by the audience.
Counting Words - Each of the players in this game will be assigned a number between 1 and 10. Each sentence that the player speaks must contain that given number of words.
Crime Endowment - A player will leave the stage. The player offstage has committed a crime and is willing to confess, however she cannot remember what the crime is. If her interrogators can let her know what the crime is she will confess. When the criminal is close to getting the crime you (audience), must ooh-aah to let her know. When she gets a part of the crime clap. If she confesses to the crime completely go wild.
The Die Game (usually a tie breaker or end of competition revelry) - All participants (usually many) form a line across the stage. The referee gets a story style from the audience. The group in the line must make up a story in that style one at a time, the referee switching the person who has to talk every paragraph or so. The next person must begin right where the previous left off. If someone does this in a manner that is less than perfect, they must die in a manner of the audience's choosing (ie death by vacuum cleaner, death by chocolate, etc.)
Variation - The referee gets a question from a member of the audience (ie Why is the sky blue?, What's in a McNugget?, etc.) and those in the line must answer the question, each person contributing only one word at a time. If the sentence does not flow well, the person hesitates, repeats a word or says more than one, then they must die in a manner of the audience's choosing.
Double Talk - One player does the voices for all of the other players in a scene.
Dubbing - Two players act out a scene onstage. Two other players are their voices offstage.
Emotional Boundaries - In this scene the stage will be divided into three zones. Each zone will be designated with a particular emotion, as the players move about on the stage they must adopt the emotion of the zone that they are in.
Entrances and Exits - In this game each player is assigned some word that might come up in casual conversation. Whenever that word is spoken by another player in the scene they must enter or exit. If the player's word is spoken and she is offstage, she must immediately come on-stage and justify her entrance. If her word is spoken while on-stage she must immediately exit and justify her exit This scene can get quite chaotic. Remember to build a story and justify the entrances and exits. Saying your own word does not count.
Experts - One player becomes an expert on a topic or two selected by the audience. Another player then interviews the first player in a talk show like format about the subject.
First Line, Last Line - Improvisers are given a first line and an unrelated last line of dialogue. Scene begins and ends with these lines.
Fortune Cookie - A fortune cookie is opened and read aloud. Scene must use the fortune in some fashion (eg: philosophical base, an event that takes place during the scene).
Freeze Tag - Two team members begin a challenge. Once the scene has been established, another team member yells "freeze" and those performing freeze in their positions. The team member who yelled "freeze" then replaces one of the members performing and begins a new scene. This process repeats until a logical ending is reached.
Gibberish - Scene using only gibberish, an unintelligible language.
Half Life - A one minute scene is played. It is then repeated in thirty-seconds. It is then repeated in fifteen seconds. It is then repeated in seven seconds, then three seconds, and finally in one second.
Hat Game - Each player wears a hat. A scene begins in which no reference is made to the hats. The winner is the first person to get the other's hat. A missed grab is a loss. A very good elimination scene.
The Hitchhiker - The point of this one is to develop a character quickly. A driver picks up a hitchhiker who is a stereotypical character (ie old man, stoner, etc.). As the hitchhiker speaks and shows his character, the driver slowly begins to take on the attributes of the hitchhiker. Eventually the driver figures out a reason to pull over and exits the car. The hitchhiker (still in character) then slides over and becomes the driver ready to pick up a new hitchhiker. The scene continues indefinitely.
Human Prop - One improviser runs around playing all of the props in a scene.
Infomercial - Two players are given a relationship by the audience (i.e. brothers, couple arguing, etc.) and act as the hosts of an infomercial for a product that the audience chooses. The remaining players are assigned attributes by the audience and must demonstrate those attributes as they give testimonials for the product.
Last Letter/First Letter - Last letter of Improviser 1's dialogue becomes first letter of Improviser 2's dialogue. Improviser 1: "Love those pants." Improviser 2: "Stop, you're just saying that. Improviser 1: "Trust me, those pants are YOU." Improviser 2: Unfortunately, they have a big hole in the knee."
Media Challenges - Scene is based on some kind of published material. May be in the form of a newspaper headline (real or imagined), personal ad, letter to Dear Abby, TV Guide Synopsis, Movie or Video Guide Synopsis, entry from Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Guinness Book of World Records, etc.
Modern Fairy Tale - The players will combine a well known fairy tale with a genre of movie or specific movie. This scene involves altering a known story with characters and genre clichés from commercial film. Players can introduce topics from either genre.
Moving People - Two players are moved around by two or more team members. They may not initiate movement on their own.
One Word Scene - One word is obtained from the audience and this is the only word used in the scene.
Options - At various points in this scene the actors will be asked to freeze. At that point we will ask you [audience] for some vital piece of information from the story. The players must immediately incorporate the suggestion into the scene.
Panel of Experts w/ Arms – Two players become experts on topics of the audience’s choosing. Two other players provide their arms. The fifth player acts as the host of the talk show they are guests on. The audience is often asked to provide questions for the guests.
Party Quirks/Endowments - One player goes offstage. The remaining players are given occupations or another distinguishing characteristic by the audience. The first player then has to guess what the others are in the context of a scene. Time: 2 minutes.
Playbook - Using a book of plays, an improviser asks for a page number. The improviser "holding book" must take all of their dialogue from one character’s consecutive lines of dialogue in the play, beginning on the assigned page. Teammates work to justify the dialogue.
Props - Two members from each team must come up with as many uses of a prop as possible.
The Purloined Letter - One letter of the alphabet, chosen by a member of the audience, no longer exists. It is replaced by a different letter chosen by a different audience member.
Radio Stations - Each of the players on stage will represent a certain type of characteristic radio channel. Each player will correspond to you an un-newsworthy item in the genre of their chosen radio channel.
Scene Without _______ - Possibilities are limitless. Scene is played, for reality, as if the world were without ____ (eg: words, emotions, contractions, gravity, a word, the letter "h", love, parents, food, etc.)
A. Team creates a scene around one sentence taken from the audience or picked out of a hat. Scene usually ends with this sentence. B. Each team member gets a sentence that he must use during the scene.
Should Have Said - Anytime during this scene the players can be interrupted by a bell. When the bell rings, the last line said must be replaced with a new one.
Sit, Stand, Lean - The audience provides a standard set of three variables or a situation that that the team of 3 must use. On stage are positioned two stools. Using those stools, the team must create a scene based on the variables in which one member of the team is sitting, one is standing, and one is leaning at all times. In other words, when somebody moves, everyone else has to compensate. (A LOT of fun!)
Slide Show – One player is giving a lecture (professor, travelogue, etc.) The other players play all of the slides used as visual aids for the presentation.
Slow Motion Commentary - Two improvisers perform an everyday activity, in slo-mo, as if part of an Olympic style competition. Two other improvisers provide color commentary.
Sounds - A scene built around a collection of sound effects that can change from moment to moment.
Space Jump - One player begins a scene. Second player freezes it and starts a 2nd scene. Third player freezes it and starts a 3rd scene. Fourth player freezes it and starts a fourth scene, then once the scene is established, finds a reason to leave. The players then revert to the 3rd scene. The 3rd player finds a reason to leave and they revert to the 2nd scene, and so on until the first player is left to complete the original scene. New body positions are justified. Can have as many players as desired.
Split Environments - Two players are in the same scene, but each player believes that she is a different environment.
Stage Directions - In this scene each player will be supplying the other players actions in the form of stage directions. Each time a player supplies a line the other player in the scene will supply that player's action in the form of a stage direction. The usual form goes like this. Player one says, "hello there Jill." Player two immediately follows with, "she said running her fingers through her hair." Player one then runs her fingers through her hair in response to the stage direction. Stage directions are usually given by players offstage, who may or may not be able to see the players on-stage.
Statues - Two actors are molded by the audience. A scene begins in which they justify their positions.
(variation 1) - Two players must end their scene in the positions they were molded to by the audience.
(variation 2) - they must begin and end their scene in the positions.
Status Cards - Each improviser onstage draws a card from a deck of playing cards without looking at it. They then place the card on their foreheads and play a scene. All the improvisers treat each other with the status they see on the improviser’s forehead with aces being high. If it is a two is on someone’s head, they are treated with low status; a queen receives very high status treatment, etc.
Styles - Opera, Ballet, Shakespeare, Radio Play, Horror film, Western, Soap Opera, etc. Or a combination (Ballet Western). Members start a scene normally and adjust it's style when the referee calls it out.
Superheroes - The audience decides on a "crisis" that the players must avert through their scene as well as what the first player is a superhero of (SpandexMan, Bicycle Repair Man, etc.). One by one the other players arrive on the scene to aid in solving the "crisis." As they do, the first player assigns them their superpowers. (ie - Thank you for joining us, Thumb Sucking Man)
Superhero Eulogy - We are all saddened by the recent demise of our local superhero. Some of her friends are gathered here today to pay their last respects. Several players get up and tell what they know about the deceased superhero. There is a common pattern of someone knowing her before she developed her powers, a family member, her arch villain, and eventually her demise.
Tag Team - Two players must remain onstage. If one wishes to switch with a person offstage, he must tag that person before they can switch places. The tagging process must be constant throughout the scene.
Temperamental Director – The “actors” perform a scene. The “director” doesn’t like it. The “director” will stop the scene and change the style/genre of the film. The “actors” must them perform the same scene in the new style.
Town Meeting – One player is the mayor of a town. The others are important officials. A topic is taken from the audience and a “Town Meeting” on that subject is held. They field questions and comments from fellow improvisers and audience members playing the population of the town.
Two Heads - two pairs of players each act as a single person. Each member of the pair may speak only one word at a time, but the pair must speak in sentences.
Typewriter Scene - One player acts as the typist/narrator. The others act out the story he is writing.
Verse - a scene that rhymes.
Video Tape Machine/Remote Control - An imaginary movie title is given and the action begins. At the discretion of an improviser or MC, "Fast Forward", "Rewind", "Slow Motion" are called out. The actors react accordingly.
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