One volunteer on stage with the others forming an audience.
The audience contribution is the seed of randomness. The audience contribution is what connects the players to the audience in a way that no other art form does. In short getting an offer from the audience is the basis of improvisation.
The volunteer player will practise getting suggestions from the audience (other players). The player can practise getting a few offers in a row. The audience is tasked with giving simple offers. The players rotate through testing their hand at getting offers. The goal of this exercise is very practical. Learning how to get offers from the audience with grace and respect.
The leader should encourage the player to make simple “ask fors.”
There is a list of crazy ask fors that can confuse the audience here.
- What would you like to see a scene about?
- What is a relationship between two people?
- What is a typical occupation?
- What is a non-geographical location?
- What am I holding in my hand?
Getting an offer from the audience is that simple. The player immediately accepts the first heard offer. The player thanks the audience member. The player repeats back the offer to her players and initiates a scene. This cycle is repeated until another player is selected to practise getting ask fors.
The leader can add complications by endowing the audience with characteristics that players may encounter in real life. The audience could become shy, not giving up offers easily. The audience could become boisterous, all yelling at the same time. The audience could become crude yelling obscene offers.
Handling complicated offers from the audience is an art form that involves both practise and chops (experience). Stick handling an offer from the audience is fraught with challenges. The player must remain respectful and not subject the players to a compromising offer.
Don’t alienate your audience. An audience member may be taking a huge personal risk calling out an ask for. Immediately use the offer you hear best. Don’t pause and appear to search through the offers. Don’t snark or dismiss offers as mundane or boring. Like any offer from a fellow player the audience offer needs to be listened to, accepted and committed to.
Handling repeat offers. These must be handled by the player. If an offer has been done before thank the audience and say we just did a scene about that. Make it appear that the repeat offer is the players problem and do not embarrass the audience.
Handling inappropriate offers. Some historic ones are: gynecologist, proctologist, pedophile, my dick, your dick, a big dick, used condom, Auschwitz etc. The best way to handle a this kind of offer is to ask a question about it. For example, “what is a pet name for a big dick?” then do a scene about “fluffy.”
Short vs Long Form
Short form enjoys a transience with an offer knowing that another scene will be on the way shortly. In long form the players and audience will benefit from broad ask fors. Consider asking for thematic offers like: justice, love, honesty etc.
- Included above.