Backwards Scene

By | August 2, 2010


Rewind Scene. Reverse Reverse.


This story will be told backwards. Starting with the ending and ending with the beginning. This is a very hard scene to do.


This is an open scene done backwards. This means that the first thing the audience will see is the last moment of the scene, and the last thing they see is the beginning of the scene. Performers do not talk backwards in a Backwards scene. Just the narrative is backwards. There are few tricks to help make this work.

Consider running your narrative tool in reverse. Learn Improv uses the narrative tool STEPS. In the case of the Backwards Scene we will use SPETS. The first element of the scene will be the Sorting of the story or resolution. The next element would be what Propelled the story or raised the stakes. Only at this point would the performers reveal the Exploration. Next the performers would set out their Ties (characters and relationship). The scene would end with the creation of a Setting.

Clearly a deep understanding of narrative is essential for a Backwards Scene to be able to work. When it does everyone will be amazed.

Another tip is to employ a reversed version of the exercise So I’ll. Under normal circumstances a performer uses So I’ll to determine what to do next. For example, What you are doing is laying on the floor. So I’ll help you up. In a Backwards scene a performer can use So I’ll to determine what they just did. For example, What you are doing is laying on the floor, So I would’ve tripped you.

Again a deep understanding of listening and making small expanding offers is essential for a Backwards Scene to work. When it does even ghosts will be amazed.

  • Never use future tense. That has happened already.
  • Reverse your narrative tool of choice
  • Ask yourself what happened before now.


  • Have the host come out and get an ask for that could have set up the backwards scene (pretty esoteric).


  • None