Long form improvisation is making up scenes as you go along. Other forms of improv rely on games that are often looking for jokes. Long form improvisation requires the performers to do it all on their own. Generally a group of improvisers will take a single suggestion for their audience and create anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes of made-up scenes.
I took part in a showcase of Longform Improvisation at The Marlborough Theatre in Brighton run by Brighton improvisers, The Maydays. We produced a 50 minute show using a number of different techniques – more below.
Long-form is a fantastic tool for increasing your listening skills because you have to be present and attentive to make it work – which requires active listening. Long-form helps you create trust in yourself and everyone around you.
I began to understand that there is some formula for giving structure to the whole thing.
I’m going to detail the structure, as I see it. I may use terms unfamiliar to you, but I plan to expand on each of these in future blog posts – so make sure you subscribe to this blog if you are interested in finding out more.
To open/launch a scene there are several tools you can use, which include:
1. Word Association
3. Rants and Raves
4. Press Conference game
1. Naming – make sure you name each other, makes the characters/scene more believable
2. Paint the scene – you can add imaginary costumes, props, scenery, environment, sounds effects, anything to help build the picture
3. Attitude – choose an attitude and stick to it – you may choose to play agreeable character versus disagreeable character – but be careful not to block your scene partner
4. Game of the scene
5. Tag outs
There are lots of ways to end a scene – known as edits.
1. Object – a player comes onto stage and takes an object from one of the characters in the current scene and turns it into something else, which in turn starts a new scene.
2. Verbal – a player comes onto stage and starts speaking to start a new scene – be clear you are not just trying to join the current scene
3. Swarm – all the offstage players go on stage with a movement and/or noise inspired by something that happens in the scene taking place – the people in the current scene join in
4. Sweep – when you feel the scene needs to end, just run across in front of them!
5.Fade in – similar to the verbal edit, when you use a fade in, you might be just miming though and quietly start speaking, gradually getting louder.