Hi James, what are your favourite improv exercises?
As a pre-show warm up is ‘Three Line Scenes’ where you hammer home the names / descriptions of who you are, where you are and what you’re doing there. This is good practice for when you’re inside the show when adrenaline often means these vital bits of information are missed. The audience and other players need to know names and relationships or else you can end up with chaotic stories and confused audiences.
In rehearsal I love the group exercise of talking about an imagined holiday you shared together (as yourselves). I feel this gets people working on details, and the intricacies of relationships without too much pressure but also builds a sense of camaraderie within the cast.
In classes I like to do exercises that generate lots of content with little thinking time like 8 things, genre cauldron and what’s in the box. I also like doing Dullprov, super simple scenes like flatmates talking about their favourite Netlix shows or greengrocers talking about the weights of veg, this helps flex the all important “being obvious” muscle that Keith Johnstone champions. The audience often want us to make the most obvious choices to avoid us breaking their suspension of disbelief / jumping the shark.