Improvisational Acting/Rules/Music

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The Main Rules[edit]

If you're just learning Improv, This below are some rules copied from 'the main rules of improvisation in theater', take a look and realize, this works for the creation of improvised music too. just rhetorically speaking. here are the main rules that you should be concerned about.


Yes, and...[edit]

Often considered the main rule of Improv, all it says is that you are not allowed to accuse anything that anybody else said is false. Instead, add on to it.. For example, here is an example of a scene where "Yes, and..." is not used:

SUGGESTION: tournament

1: Alright, are you ready to tee off? 2: What are you talking about? We're not on a golf course, we're at a basketball court! The scene is instantly killed, because there's nowhere for player 1 to go with the scene. Here's an example of "Yes, and..." used correctly:

1: Alright, are you ready to tee off? 2: Yeah, but I'm pretty nervous. It's the last hole, and I'm ahead by 2 strokes. Player 2 has now added on to the scene, and developed a problem and a place for the scene to go.


Don't Try To Be Funny[edit]

Very important, especially for beginning improvisers. Don't try to be funny. Humor will come naturally out of the scene without any effort. Just try to act out the scene, and the game or elements will add humor. For example, which of these is funnier:

SUGGESTION: cheerleader and car

1: Aw man, my car ran out of gas, and I'm all out of money. 2: I'll give you a dollar if you make me laugh. 1: Poop. Both players 1 and 2 tried to be "funny", and ended up making a stupid scene. Instead, look at the following scene, where people just act the scene out naturally.

1: Aw man, my car ran out of gas, and I'm all out of money. I guess I'll have to dance for money at this bar. 2: What are you doing? 1: Alright? Ready? Okay! {does cheerleading routine} 2: What is going on? 1: Alright! Anybody? Tips? Anybody? The scene is funny because it's a situation that we don't normally see, and not because everybody was trying to be funny.


Playing Off Lines[edit]

Don't go into a scene with a set agenda. Instead, listen to what other people say, and base your next line off of that. Here's an example where people have gone into the scene with set agendas:

SUGGESTION: spies

1: Alright, the Queen's given us her directions. Let's go. 2: Let's go get the diamond! 1: Uh oh, we need to go through a pit of snakes! It is almost like two scenes are going on at the same time, with neither person listening to each other. Here's an example of "Playing Off Lines" used correctly:

1: Alright, the Queen's given us her directions. Let's go. 2: I just need to know why the Queen needs this diamond. 1: I don't think that it's important, it's just that she wants to mount it on her ring. Now that the two actors are listening to each other, the scene takes shape, and humor.