Copy Line

A helpful exercise for learning about game of the scene and especially about how much potential there is in one line or offer.

Two improvisers do a scene from suggestion. They start pretty normal to the suggestion, true to life. When something pops up that strikes one of the improvisers has unusual (also referred to as the first unusual thing), either what they said or the what the other person said, they repeat that line. The two improvisers then copy and repeat that line a bunch of times, and then carry on with the scene.

The act of copying and repeating the line helps to find the meaning behind it, the feeling behind it, and also signals to each other what game of the scene they are going to play with.

You can also think of it in terms of exploring an offer “sideways” instead of yes anding past it. Yes And is great but it can sometimes be misinterpreted as being “yes and here’s something else disconnected to what you just said”. This exercise helps people to realise that yes and can be about deeply listening and exploring the potential in the other person’s offer.

This can be used as an exercise but you can also use it in normal scenes and shows, as it’s a simple way to signal to the other person what you want to explore on stage.

Playing Tips

  • When you copy and repeat a line be bold and make it obvious you are doing that.
  • Repeat the line at least 5 times.
  • If the other person doesn’t realise that you are repeating a line keep repeating it.
  • If they still don’t click the teacher should help out.

Teaching Purpose

  • Game of the scene.
  • Listening.
  • Spotting the first unusual thing.
  • Longer scenes.


We first learnt this when training with UCB, and it is also written up in the UCB book which we recommend.

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