The improvisers attempt to play the most melodramatic scene possible based on a suggestion of the smallest most insignificant event from the audience.
Melodrama is a style of theatre with heightened emotions with overly stylized stock characters, grand stage gestures, poetic language, and sentimental plots.
Suggestion: Receiving a letter in the post.
Actor 1 (hand on head): What’s that I hear, falling onto yonder door mate like a heavy leaf wet with rain from a dying tree?
Actor 2 (dragging themselves along floor to the doormat): It….is…..a……letter. FROM WHOM? FROM WHOM? Who would write at such a time as this?
Actor 1 (wailing): At such a time as this! Do they not know that we are dying!
Actor 2 (trembing as they open): It is from Virgin Broadband!
Actor 1: Virgin Broadband! I would rather tear out my own eyes than read their poisoned words!
There’s a weird thing in improv where if you try too hard to make the scene funny it often isn’t, but if you try to make it serious it often becomes funny accidentally. This games helps this. It’s especially helpful for players who are making gags (jokes at the expense of the scene) as it helps them connect on a different level.
It also helps give people permission to enter bigger emotions and characters.
“We are going to play a game called Melodrama. Two actors are going to make a scene as melodramatic as possible. All we need as a suggestion is a small insignificant event that isn’t usually melodramatic.”
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