Scene Replay

Scene Replay

Description

Players play out a scene (based on a given scenario), then replay or reinterpret the scene according to supplied suggestions of emotion or genres. Usually the first scene involves two people in the whole scene, and the rest of the cast coming in at some point saying a line or two and then leaving. The scene is then replayed, with roughly the same lines and order, but with a different genre or emotion supplied by the audience.

Example

Post Office Worker 1: So many Christmas cards this year.
Post Office Worker 2: Yep, it’s nice the way people still send things even with computers and what not.
Customer enters.
Customer: Hello please can I buy a book of first class stamps please?
Post Office Worker 1: Of course, there you go. Contactless ok?
Customer: Yes please, thank you, have a great Christmas!
Customer exits.
Post Office Worker 2: She was nice, what a lovely person.
Post Office Worker 1: Makes you glad to be alive.
Host: Freeze! We are now going to replay this normal scene but with a different genre. Please can I get a suggestion of a genre?
Audience: Wild West!
Host: Wild West Post Office take 2!
Post Office Worker 1: Hank, so many Christmas cards this year.
Post Office Worker 2: Yep, it’s nice the way people still send things even with stage coaches and smoke signals and all them other new fangled tech-no-ologies.
Customer enters through swing doors riding a horse.
Customer: Howdy partners. I’d like a shot of whisky, shoes for my horse, the head of Texas Peter and some 1st class stamps.
Post Office Worker 1: Of course, there you go. Contactless ok?
Customer: What y’all talkin about ya varmint? I’ll pay once the new rail train is in town and I’ve a robbed it, yeeee-haaaaa!!!
Customer exits on horse firing guns in the air.
Post Office Worker 2: She was nice, what a lovely person.
Post Office Worker 1: Makes you glad to be alive.

Teaching Purpose

We mostly use this game for fun. I was about to write “just” for fun but fun and playfulness are the main things we want to encourage in improv, so we’re proud that this game is for fun!

It helps character, as beginners will tend to get caught up in the genres and match strong character and emotional choices they wouldn’t usually make.

Some would say the example above encourages stereotypes too much. I personally think it’s fine to start with stereotypes as a pathway into playing on stage instead of being in fear. Playing like a kid is a great way to start in improv, and later on different ways of playing character can be introduced.

It’s also helpful for people who are new to improv as one of the first games to play on stage in front of an audience, as it has enough of a structure to distract people away from the anxiety of being on stage but not so much of  structure as to become confusing.
It also helps commitment and spontaneity, as we encourage people to jump into attempting a replay even if they aren’t sure how to do it as something always comes in the moment.

Additional Tips for Playing

  • Keep the first scene quite short and normal, almost boring, as the fun comes with replaying it in different styles.

Variations

Show Introduction

“This is a game called Scene Replay. We’re going to play a scene for you in the style of normal, but then we’re going to replay that scene in different emotions and genres to make it more fun. Please can we get a suggestion of an ordinary place of work to get us started?”

Origin

We originally learnt this from John Cremer with The Maydays ages ago and have found it’s a great game for people new to improv.

Hoopla courses we play this game in

Mostly in our level 1 course and a bit in our level 2 course and super short-form course.

Categories

This exercise is in the following categories:

Character.

Commitment and Spontaneity.

Short-form games.

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