Occasionally, Goats, my musical improv team at the Magnet Theatre, does regular improv rehearsals rather than musical because of cost combined with a need to rehearse. This week we had Morgan Phillips. My memory of Morgan was in Made Up Musical, one of the first veteran musical improv shows at the Magnet. I specifically remember Morgan doing so little with such efficiency. He didn't talk much but what he did say was amazing. Last week, Morgan introduced Goats to the concept of making the Location a Character. "Playing the Location"
Now, this may seem heady, but for some reason after a couple of reps, even the ADD weirdos on my team ended up doing some very interesting scenework.
One person will initiate a scene in a specific location. Let's say, stocking an aisle of a grocery store. So, the person may start doing physical activity and then talking about something else. "Ugh, I really hate Mondays."
Morgan would give us the exercise of, "The second person, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION WHAT THE PERSON SAID OR IS DOING, notices something weird about the location."
"When did we get so much oatmeal?"
"I know, yoga pants Monday is so degrading."
"I'm not hugging you, you hug for an uncomfortably long amount of time."
Admittedly, just writing these things TOOK FOREVER. But, if you look at just that response, it takes into consideration either what is happening with the location, what used to happen in a location, and to some extent it's weirdness.
You could easily find a game. The chorus could be the return to, "I really hate mondays." there could be a tangent of small talk, then "I hate Mondays" then either a reference to oatmeal types, explanation of yoga pants monday's absurdity, or an attempt at hugging.
If we want to go barebones with it, look at what the person is looking at. Some people have a tendency to look out and make a grand statement. "The pathogen is spreading", you might say something like, "We need to clean this fish tank."or "When did we get such a big monitor?" "Hey, you're burning the eggs!".
Now, Goats had to do this for quite a while to get it settled in and even now, I have trouble using it. However, there is something to it. When you go into a scene, (probably 2nd person), notice something weird about the scene and use the foundation of what was said.
You may surprise yourself.
Thanks Morgan. Check him out on Harold night at UCB!!