Character Circle

By | April 21, 2019




Please organize a circle


This exercise helps players develop characters and relationships.
Characters and relationships are the cornerstone of all improv scenes. Characters and relationships are part of Ties in the narrative tool STEP.

The first player will turn to the next player in the circle and strike a physical pose and make a sound based on that character. Typically, the player will avoid saying legible words. They may sigh, or cough or mumble something. The first player is creating an instantaneous character using the holy trinity of the character (Move, Sound, Want). The second player responds with a character in kind and simply states their relationship. For example, the first player may gently paw her face and meow. The next player may hunch their shoulders and growl “didn’t I just let you in 10 minutes ago?” Under normal circumstances the players could launch into a scene from just this interaction.  However, this is an exercise and the goal is to practise snap characters and snap relationships.

The leader should watch for players creating a relationship through conflict. It is more common to have interactions that are positive or neutral.  Create a realistic relationship and build the comedy by accident. This does not mean players should never create a relationship through conflict.  Another consideration is the nature of the characters that are created. For more experienced players the leader can coach them to have complementary characters. For example, radically different characters are funny out of the gate. Challenge players to create characters that work in the relationship. Another short cut to the funny is endowing a conflicting relationship to character presentation. For example, endowing an obvious child like character as a murderous dictator is funny. Save the funny for performances and use the exercise to work on real characters and relationships.


  • Conflicting character and relationships.


  • Suddenly let the players continue with a two person scene.


  • Information appreciated.