This is named after the first suggestion that got used in this exercise and is used in the example below.
The point of this exercise is to encourage people to play obvious to the audience suggestion and get on stage without over thinking things. This can give a quick Who What Where without having to over think things. For instance if the audience say “hospital” the actors can become a doctor, consultant and patient in an operating theatre, and then find out what happens later in the scenes instead of planning the scene before they start.
In the exercise a host stands centre stage and takes a suggestion from the audience for a location or similar. Two actors enter and start the scene straight away with the most obvious Who What Where to the suggestion, and ideally they get on stage before the host has even left.
Across all improv forms we wouldn’t always start scenes like this, but it is very helpful for short-form and it is also very helpful at removing hesitancy when nervous and jumping into the unknown.
In improv speed doesn’t come from trying to be fast, it actually comes from committing to the obvious. Starting the scene straightaway from the suggestion also gives a dynamic energy that is perfect for short-form.
You don’t need much of an idea to get on stage! The rest of the ideas in the scene come from listening, reacting and yes anding in the moment.
[Host stood centre stage]
[Two improvisers stood off stage]
Host (to audience): Please can I have a location for a scene?
[Improvisers immediately enter stage, one starts dealing cards and the other sits back drinking a whisky and smoking a cigar]
Croupier: Hey there Texas Sam, the cards sure are smiling for you tonight.
Texas Sam: That’s right kid, tonight is my lucky night. I knew it the second I woke up, I could smell it in the air.
Constantly encourage them to immediately start with the most obvious thing that comes to them from the suggestion. Obvious obvious obvious stupidly obvious.
This exercise was invented at Hoopla after watching Edgar Fernando (one of Hoopla’s co-founders) in a show starting scenes super quick with no idea what was going to happen past the first line – and we mean that as a massive compliment!