Top 3 Improv Games for Any Level - Can You Guess Which?
1) PARK BENCH
Quick Summary: Two characters sit on a park bench. One character's motivation is to get the other character off the bench without physically touching them.
Why it's great: Meet objectives, quickly! Actors can use ANY objective to get the other character off the bench. The other character has to honesty decide when they would leave the bench based on the actions of the other character. This game asks actors to be real, think on their feet, and meet their objectives.
Directions: The first player will assume a character with motivation. She will approach the park bench and sit quietly maintaining character. The next player will create a character and approach the park bench sitting beside the first character. There will be a brief interaction and the first character will find a reason to leave the park bench. This will leave the second player alone until the third player with a new character approaches. And so on and so on.
2) FREEZE FRAME
Quick Summary: Two characters must start a scene based on a physical starting position. They must build a story around this position, and jump right into a scene.
Why it's great: Scene arch + Saying "YES!"! Characters have to jump into a scene and build it together instantaneously.
- Two people start the game by standing in front of the others and acting out a scene.
- Any time during the scene, someone in the ‘audience’ can yell “freeze”! The players must stop acting and freeze in place.
- The person who yelled freeze gets to pick which of the actors is “out” based on what physical position they would like to assume.
- The scene starts right up with a new scene based on the frozen frame.
3) PARTY QUIRKS
Quick Summary: Always a favorite! Party quirks involve 3+ characters attending a party invited by a host. Each character has a particular "quirk" that the host doesn't know. Throughout the scene, the host must try to figure out what each party-goers quirk is by interacting and playing in the scene with them.
Why it's great: Character development! Actors must pick a character and stick with it throughout, this game builds towards more long-form improv and character development.
Directions: Choose an actor to be the host of the party. Send them away so they cannot hear the next step. Take suggestions from the audience/actors for quirks that the other three players can have. Quirks can be pretty much anything the audience comes up with, ranging from, "She's afraid of touching" to "He's Superman". Each player should be assigned a unique quirk.
Bring the "host" back to the room. The host begins setting up a party, and the other three players line up behind an imagined door. After 10-15 seconds of the party setup, the first guest should approach the door and make her presence known. The host should open the door to admit the guest, and then the guest enters the scene.
The guest at the party should display her quirk while acting in the party scene, although whether she is blatant or starts by doing so in a subtle manner is completely up to her. The host, meanwhile, is acting in the scene while trying to determine the quirk each player has been assigned.
Once the host has interacted with all the characters, they can now start guessing the quirk of the characters. If the host gets it wrong they must continue interacting with the actors until they are able to guess it correctly.