If first-time players are present, trainers will usually explain the Improv-basics at the beginning of the session. Don’t hesitate to address them if anything is unclear!
Here, we give you a presentation of the importants points you need to know to play Improv together!
Accept ideas and express yourself!
Improv theater doesn’t have many rules. Nevertheless, there are two important principles, especially at the beginning.
Firstly, it is important that you accept all the ideas that your fellow players come up with. If your playing partner starts the scene with the words: „Hey Carlos, you’ve set up a nice café here! Do you think I can start here as a waiter?“, then the following things are established in the scene: Your name is Carlos, you’ve set up your own café, you’re either in the café or standing in front of it and the two of you already know each other. In addition, it is often enriching for the scene not to block the desire to work as a waiter in the café, for example (e.g. saying „No, we already have a waiter“), because in most cases this considerably stops the flow of the scene. So don’t insist on your ideas, but get involved with your fellow players and adapt to the situation!
There is also another important rule for the start: never show your back to the audience! The audience (in our case: the other participants) want to be able to understand you, they want to see how you react emotionally, what you do and how you interact with other players. If you happen to forget this rule, someone from the audience is likely to point it out to you with a knock. Knocking represents our signal for „We can only see your butt right now!“.
Emotionally or physically uncomfortable situations
We all play Improv to have fun. In doing so, we should always show consideration to the other players.
Nevertheless, it can happen during a situation that a fellow player unintentionally puts you in an emotionally or physically unpleasant situation. Especially in confrontational scenes, it is very difficult to correctly interpret such situations from the outside and distinguish them from the acting. It is therefore particularly important to take your own feelings seriously and to clearly signal to the other person when their actions are not okay with you. This is by no means considered as “blocking an idea (as opposed to accept ideas)”; on the contrary, it is absolutely necessary in order to not block yourself: No one should be forced to play scenes that they don’t want to play! For the same reason, it is absolutely not objectionable to request new suggestions/inspirations (“Vorgabe” in German, “Ask For” in English) for personal reasons (example: a loved one has recently died and the inspiration „funeral“ is requested). Of course, this also applies to the audience. Should it not be possible to resolve a distressing situation from within the scene, do not be hesitant to step out of character and interrupt the scene. This can be done, for example, by saying a clear „no“ or directly addressing the other player(s). It is essential that we all feel comfortable on stage. The procedures described offer a means of control. However, should you ever find yourself in a distressing situation, please feel welcome to contact one of us trainers at any time during or after training.