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Long Form Improv

Long Form Improv. Important Concepts/Vocab. Canadian Cross. Canadian Cross is when a player crosses the scene, without actually taking the focus in the story, as to add something to the scene. Classics are:

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Long Form Improv

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  1. Long Form Improv Important Concepts/Vocab

  2. Canadian Cross • Canadian Cross is when a player crosses the scene, without actually taking the focus in the story, as to add something to the scene. Classics are: • * for a scene on the beach, cross the scene as a shark in the water (in the background). Unless the shark becomes part of the story, it won`t be the focus. • * for a scene on a camp ground, cross the scene being chased by a swarm of mosquitoes. • If you intention is not to steal the focus, either cross from the back/side, and indicate (eye contact) to the other players that you`re just adding to the platform, not stealing focus. • This can also be used as an Edit in Long Form. Fun when done well, but use sparingly.

  3. Chivalry • Chivalry means not clinging to your own ideas, your own Status , or even your own life (as a character). Chivalry is daring to give up control. Players should allow themselves to be changed by other players. Be happy to be forced to change, and change. Obviously a good thing.

  4. Finding the Game • "The Game" is a rather vague term often used in improv, but it is rarely precisely defined, but often looked for. Here are a few more or less classic definitions. There are others (and if you have a favorite, by all means mail us!) • The game is what is interesting, unique, strange about the scene, the relationship between the characters or the universe in which scene and characters move. • The game is a pattern of interactions. • The "game of the scene" is the interplay of two characters' wants or needs. • Finding the game is establishing a pattern of interesting interactions, and heightening that. • Some will argue that the "game" is the first thing that makes a scene funny. Others will argue that the fun is a byproduct of the game, and as a byproduct, it often strikes us as funny. • Some hold that relationships between characters and "the game" are mutually exclusive. In that resepct, Finding the relationship is about doing slower more involved scene work and finding the Game is quicker and to the point. Others will hold that the 2 are the same, in the following way: one cannot have a solid game that can be repeated in any improv form or format without Relationship. At the same time one cannot make a relationship scene stick without a game to build the scene around it. • In summary, no consensus about the Game and How To Find It.

  5. Lose Your Fear • The idea is the improvisors fear the consequences of their own actions (or the actions of their characters) and as a result, freeze, or stick to safe-but-boring actions and scenes. Lose our fear, and just do something, anything, and see where it leads us while improvising.

  6. Overloading • Overloading is throwing unnecessary elements into a scene; this will usually lead to Sidetracking . Another common cause of overloading is often the introduction of a new and un-needed character, which will usually prevent whatever was going to happen from happening.

  7. Shelving • Acknowledging an offer, but not using it right away, with the intent of using it later. If later ever comes before the scene is over. • Alternatively: stacking an idea or an interesting character for use in later scenes (or even later performances).

  8. Sidetracking • Sidetracking is changing the main story line for no reason. Happens usually for one of 2 reasons: • * Overloading because of introduction of unnecessary characters/elements • * Gagging

  9. Third Idea Improv • Controversial concept by Del Close: the idea is that, when reacting to a suggestion, one might be best of using not your first idea, but the third thing that comes to mind. The first idea that came into your head would be like something you'd seen in a TV sitcom, and the second idea would be glib, clever wit. • More one that concept in Art By Committee.

  10. Tilts • Interesting twitch to advance a scene, or to cause status change. A classic tilt would be a couple at the breakfast table, where the woman announces out of the blue that she`s pregnant.

  11. Truthfulness • We play theater, and theatre is supposed to somehow touch the audience, and that`s usually done by creating recognizable situations. Audiences naturally laugh when they recognize things they do, or things they know others do. Hence keeping things truthful is pretty powerful. Absurdity is usually cheap and not very interesting (very few of us are Ionesco`s after all).

  12. Walk-Through • Entering a scene, making a strong offer that advances or Tilts the scene, and then exiting. May indeed help advancing the scene, but should be used sparingly.

  13. Edit An edit is the act of interrupting or ending a scene. In Long Form , players edit a scene to start a new scene. • Here are some edit mechanisms: • * Canadian Cross - see previous mention • * Clap-in Edit • * Cross Fade • * Lights Edit • * Revolving Door Edit • * Sweep Edit • * Tag Out • * Voice-over Edit

  14. Edits - Clap In • -A group of players stands on the back wall of the stage, or side of the stage, while a scene is playing. At an appropriate point, a player will clap their hands loudly. Then, they will begin another scene.

  15. Edits - Cross Fade • Start of a new scene while the previous scene is winding down. Both scenes run at the same for a brief time, and the transition from old to new scene is smooth.

  16. Edits - Lights Edit • A kind of Edit, where the light technician ends a scene by dimming the light. This assumes the light technician is an improv player, or at least understands when to edit a scene. See Blackout. • Depending on the theater, the light techs may, when editing one scene, indicate which other scene is to start where, by, when dimming one part of the stage, lighting another part of the stage, where the next scene will take place.

  17. Edits - Revolving Door Edit • Another way to Edit a scene: when 2 (or more) players are playing a scene, a new player may grab one of the players by the arm/elbow, and turn them 90 degrees around their vertical axis, like a revolving hotel door. At that point the other players shut up (and perhaps leave the scene) and the new player starts a new scene with the player grabbed by the arm. • This can be done multiple times, back and forth. • Example • Husband tells Wife he got a promotion. Tells her he really told the boss that he needed that or would leave. • Player Boss steps you, revolves the husband, and we see what really took place, obviously, our Husband had to grovel, beg and plead. • Once that is established, Wife revolves Husband back (she did not leave the stage as the Boss revolved the Husband), asks for more detail, and of course, for every bit of information Husband brags to Wife, Boss character revolves him back to the office and the players show the exact opposite. • To be used sparingly.

  18. Edits - Sweep Edit • Happens when someone walk over the scene as a kind of Edit , indicating that all players should leave and make way for the next scene. Often followed by a Blackout .

  19. Edits - Tag Out • Tagging Out a player is tapping a player on the shoulder, and replacing that player. The scene moves on, perhaps in a different time and location. • Can be used as a handle for a complete Long Form performance.

  20. Edits - Voice-Over Edit • This is an Edit technique: while a scene is played, another player steps forward and tells the audience what's next. This takes some training (and accepting) as the players in the scene should instantly drop whatever they were doing/saying to make room for the voice-over. • The voice-over may indicate where the next scene happens, as in "meanwhile, in the park...", or she may offer additional information about what was going on in the scene, as in "What Charles did not know, was that the necklace he had bought for his wife, had a long and horrifying history...". • Either way, once the voice-over is over, either the scene that was underway continues, or a new scene starts (or any previously interrupted scene continues). In either case the information provided by the voice-over is incorporated in the storyline. • This edit technique is similar to the Typewriter game handle.

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