This week in school there was an event in the hall just before our session, which meant there was a stage in the room. Who could resist that?!
We warmed up with a group focus exercise and then worked in pairs thinking up and acting out lots of different everyday activities. This exercise developed into the Improv game, ‘Yes, And’, in which offers are made to initiate an idea for a scene. The way this works is that A mimes an activity, then B asks: what are you doing? A then names their activity. Then B accepts what they have said and offers something that fits with that activity. E.g.
A is miming fast driving.
B: What are you doing?
A: I’m driving a Formula 1 racing car.
B: Yes, and I’m going to race you in my Formula 1 car.
Accepting the reality that your partner offers is a basic requirement of improvisation – otherwise the scene can’t go anywhere. Improvisation and devising requires the ability to co-operate on the spot and not to stop the scene and offer a different activity.
From this idea, the children worked to extend their scenes into several exchanges, while they also tried to make the scenes work in a fixed space. The stage was great for highlighting this idea, and gave the perfect platform for watching everyones’ scene. All the scenes were highly enjoyable and some were hilarious. They included reeling in a huge fish, competing space ships, angry bakers and unfaithful partners!
This Session – Creating a recognisable, physical shorthand for a familiar activity, accepting offers, collaborating to create a short scene.