Life & Times

This is a fantastic show game that is a crossover between short-form and long-form, and is a great exercise for introducing people to longer scenes, spotting patterns and playing with characters and relationships.

One player is on stage the whole time. The audience give them a character name. The rest of the cast then play a sequence of scenes with them showing different parts of their life. You can go forwards or backwards in time, it doesn’t have to be sequential. It tends to be two person scenes, always with the central character in each scene.

For instance we may first see what they were like at school, then what they were like on their wedding day, then what they were like at work, then what they were like as a baby. As it goes on the supporting characters can come back and moments revisited.

The cast explore characters, relationships and patterns that pop up as we explore the whole life of the character.

Edits can be done either by the teacher saying “next scene” or this game can use tag edits. In fact progressing from one to the other is a great way to introduce tag edits. A tag edit is when someone taps someone on the shoulder to replace their character (not play the same character) and start a whole new scene.

Top Tips

  • Try to spot patterns and character traits in the central character and play with them and escalate them.
  • Listen to all the scenes so you can reincorporate things and make connections.
  • Make it clear who you are when joining the scene, to help the central improviser.

Teaching Purpose

  • Relationships.
  • Characters.
  • Longer scenes.
  • Spotting patterns.
  • Escalating emotions, relationships and character traits.
  • Reincorporation.

Origin

We first learnt this from Katy Schutte at The Maydays.

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