New Choice

New Choice / Change

Description

2 improvisers up on stage. Whenever the director/host shouts “New Choice” (or “Change”) they have to change the last thing they said and then go along with that change in the scene. There may be multiple new choices in a row.

Example

Derek: Hello I’ve come to clean your windows.

Bartholomew: Thank you, do come in, there is a tap at the back.

Host: NEW CHOICE!

Bartholomew: There is a skunk at the back.

Derek: A skunk? Listen mate I clean windows I didn’t come here to scrub a skunk.

Host: NEW CHOICE!

Derek: A skunk, lovely! I will use it to scrub the windows. I always wanted to hold a skunk.

Host: NEW CHOICE!

Derek: I am a skunk.

Bartholomew:Whaaaattt?

Derek: I’m a skunk. I just hide in this window cleaner costume in order to exist in the world, but behold my true form!

Teaching Purpose

  • Spontaneity. Helping people say the first thing that comes to them and surprising themselves.
  • Justifying and incorporating mistakes and adapting to change in the scene.
  • It can also be used as a teaching tool for unblocking actors, as you can shout New Choice when there is a block and keep going until there is a strong yes and.

Additional Tips for Playing

  • Start the scene pretty normal, as the game will make it weird all by itself.
  • Try to establish relationship, location and activity in the first couple of lines so you have something to play with.
  • Try to speak in bold statements instead of being vague, so there is something fun to new choice.
  • Say the first thing that comes to you even if it seems wrong, you can justify it afterwards.
  • Have fun!

Variations

  • You can also shout “New Action” in addition to “New Choice” so the actors have to change physical offers too.
  • Some of the audience members can be given hooters to honk to make the actors change (also known as Honkasaurus Rex).
  • Sometimes it is played where the actors on stage so “New Choice” to each other.
  • As the game goes on more actors can come in as walk ons and the frequency of New Choices increases to give the game a crescendo of an ending.

Show Introduction

“This is called New Choice. Two actors are going to attempt to improvise a scene but whenever I say New Choice they have to change what they last said. All we need to get started is an occupation to inspire the first scene.”

Origin

We aren’t sure as this is one of the most widely played games on the improv scene. It might be from Keith Johnstone as in his book Impro he references asking actors to change the last line they said to unblock them and help them accept the action, so it may have originated from that exercise and then morphed into a show game.

Categories

This exercise is in the following categories:

Spontaneity

Commitment

Justifying and incorporating mistakes.

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