Please form a line shoulder to shoulder with two player quickly milling about and yelling banana.
This is an extreme listening exercise. The two players run around yelling “banana banana” as fast as they can. It is rumoured that this effort may help clear the mind and prevent players from “planning ahead.” When the leader calls stop the two players are expected to speak and the same time. They literally talk over each other. While talking over is a habit to be avoided in improv comedy it is encouraged in this exercise. The two players will simultaneously yell out nouns at each other.
It is very challenging to hear what the other player has said. The players should go with what they think they heard best. For example, one player may say “chicken stew” while the other player simultaneously said “dog pocket.” The two players will then combine the two offers into a sentence. At this point the players do not over talk each other. The first player may create a sentence like “My dog hides chicken stew in her pocket.” As soon as possible the second player could say “My chick pocket is full of dog stew.” Yuck. Those to player go to the back of their lines and the next two players repeat the process.
The leader has 3 options after the sentences were called out. The two players can return to running around saying “banana banana.” The two player could be asked to start a scene based on one of the sentences. Or the leader could replace the players with new banana people.
Banana Banana helps with the improv goals of listening and commitment. The leader should encourage good pacing with this exercise. It is better to be wrong and determined than pausing and trying to be funny. Take the risk. Listen hard and let the funny happen by accident.
- Have the players do sentences instead of nouns.
- Have the players yell something long like “philharmonic” instead of “banana.”
- Double Opening – Banana Banana without the yelling and running.