Two parallel lines of improvisers facing each other, so everyone is in a pair. Start at one end. Each pair has to improvise a three line scene where the characters know each other and like each other and nothing bad is happening to either of them. If the first pair achieve that you move on to the next pair, and the next. The idea is to work your way along the whole line and back again.
If any scene is overly negative, has pointless blocks or conflicts then it bounces back to the first pair again and the game starts from scratch. The teacher should stay positive and playful when calling this, so that it is clearly a big game.
It can sometimes take 30 minutes or more to achieve this game!
Conflict isn’t banned from improv, it’s just good to be able to delay it so we care about the characters more at the start of a story. These sort of exercises also prevent conflict being the default situation for improvisers, who may sometimes seek it to unconsciously be less vulnerable on stage. It’s less vulnerable to be angry and aggressive on stage than it is to be in love.
- Defaulting to scenes where the characters know each other and like each other.
- Delaying or avoiding conflict. Often improvisers when nervous put in conflict as they think it’s story, it isn’t. This game helps them refocus from the stress of “be funny” and instead focus that energy into “listen, agree, collaborate, build.”
- Building up a good team spirit, the room will gradually change from competitive to collaborative through playing this game.
It helps competitive people to channel their energy into helpful places on stage.
1st Pair: Happy Birthday Marjorie!
1st Pair: Thank you Roger! And happy birthday to you too!
1st Pair: It’s great being twins!
2nd Pair: Melissa I love you so much, will you marry me?
2nd Pair: Charles, of course! I love you so much!
2nd Pair: Hurrah! This calls for champagne! Let’s get married tomorrow.
3rd Pair: Oi give me your wallet.
3rd Pair: I haven’t got a wallet, and that’s not a knife.
Teacher: Yeahhh! Back to the start!
We think it was invented in Hoopla in this form, modified from 3 line scenes which are widely played everywhere.