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Jon Thrower

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Improvisation Scenarios

Foreword

This section is broken into headings that roughly correspond to they requirements for "Preparation" in the Improvisation Exercises section. The intention is that these two pages should be everything you need to run an improvisation session. Apart from actors. And an audience. And a venue.

Simple Scenarios

These are all pretty open ended with scope for developing (or not). Further development on these can be achieved by giving the actors conflicting objectives. Some of these are more suited to obviously comic games.

 

  • Visiting the Dentists
  • Boarding a bus
  • First day in a new job
  • Taking a pet to the vets
  • Buying contraceptives
  • Visiting the Doctor
  • Buying a second hand car
  • Having a photo taken
  • Choosing a gift for a partner
  • Selling your house
  • Hiring a private detective
  • Getting a quote from a builder
  • Having your hair done
  • Pushing into a queue
  • Wine tasting
  • Visiting someone in hospital
  • Firing someone
  • Job interview
  • Ordering a Wedding Cake
  • On a spying mission
  • The first men in space
  • Visiting the parents-in-law
  • Getting a signature
  • Hypochondriac at the doctors
  • Slow service in a restaurant
  • Police officer pulls someone over
  • A has just finished decorating when B comes home and doesn't like the colour
  • Two construction workers find buried treasure
  • Two army officers deciding who to send on a dangerous raid
  • Customer complaining to chef about a meal in a busy restaurant
  • Parliamentary candidate canvassing for votes
  • Two Jockeys in a stable before a race
  • Two criminals on the run
  • Stuck in a car teetering on the edge of a cliff
  • Gangster who has been shot visiting a doctor to remove the bullets
  • Helping a friend deal with amnesia
  • Breaking the news of a dead pet to a friend
  • Trapped in a lift
  • At a funeral home
  • Gym induction
  • Getting changed in a public changing room
  • 2 Doctors called to an emergency
  • On Noah's ark
  • Two people on a train with the ticket collector coming

More Ambitious Scenarios

Scenarios that are more complex, open ended and lead to longer scenes, or require more invention.

  • A thinks B is having an affair with his / her wife / husband
  • Woman is at home when husband returns home late
  • Family at a Dinner table where they each have an announcement to make
  • Teenage partner meeting girlfriends parents for the first time (extension - she is pregnant)
  • Coming out.
  • Pushing a pram in the park.
  • A discusses with B that an ex-girl / boy friend wishes to remain friends with him / her.
  • Father and Mother arguing over the suitability of a girl / boy friend with son / daughter in the room
  • First date.
  • Policeman interrogating a suspect
  • Rivals in love
  • In a 1930s speakeasy
  • Cab driver and customer
  • Deleted scenes from "Titanic" (or any other well known film)
  • Getting up in the morning

 

Scenarios with a strong physical element

These Scenarios are useful for improv games that introduce comedy through the use of physical movement (such as "Freeze", "Moving People", "Sitting, Standing, Bending", "Sound Effects" etc.)

 

  • Two cowboys rounding up the herd
  • Poachers being caught by a gamekeeper
  • An exterminator called to a restaurant
  • Mending a photocopier (extension - with an embarrassing photocopy stuck in it)
  • Intrepid archaeologist exploring a booby trapped cave
  • Giving Birth
  • Robbing a Bank
  • Painter and Model having an affair when wife walks in

Scenes from a Hat

Quick fire scenes involving one or two people, and a couple of lines at most.

 

  • Rejected Themes for a Restaurant
  • Video tapes that went straight into the bargain bucket
  • The wrong response to "I love you"
  • At night in the chicken shed
  • The wrong response to "I'm seriously ill"
  • Messages that were delivered a little late
  • The real reason nunns go to funfairs
  • Odd things to find behind the sofa
  • Acting school for amnesiacs
  • In the showers
  • Times when eeny meeny miny mo isn't the best selection method
  • Air traffic controllers with a grudge
  • When toddlers go bad
  • Things the pilot wishes he hadn't said with the intercom switched on
  • World's Worst speed dating encounter
  • World's Worst Secret Agent
  • World's Worst hairdresser
  • World's Worst person to be in the army
  • World's Worst person to be trapped in a lift with
  • World's Worst person to be caught by under the Mistletoe

Categories

  • Cars
  • Cakes
  • Brands of clothing
  • Hats
  • Fruit & Veg
  • Things you'd find in the bedroom
  • Things you'd find in the bathroom
  • Things you'd find in the kitchen
  • Song titles

Q&A subjects

Possible subjects for Q&A sessions.

  • Pies
  • Things that fall from the sky
  • Typewriters
  • Helicopters
  • Underwear
  • Roadkill
  • Fish
  • The way fluff comes off carpets
  • Foodstuffs made out of eggs

Emotions / Characteristics

  • Regret
  • Happy
  • Ecstatic
  • Depressed
  • Enthusiastic
  • Sincere
  • Suspicious
  • Paranoid
  • Drunk
  • Dismissive
  • Disgusted
  • Surprised
  • Afraid
  • Creepy
  • Sinister
  • Brave
  • Immature
  • Worried
  • Humble
  • Trusting
  • Stubborn
  • Dominating
  • Competitive
  • Critical
  • Insecure
  • Jealous
  • Calm
  • Serene
  • Shallow
  • Angry
  • Morbid
  • Disorganised
  • Generous
  • Liar

Quirks / People

  • Think they're in a martial arts film
  • In Miss World Competition
  • You used to own this house and you buried some bodies in the basement
  • You have a steel plate in your head and pick up radio
  • Secretly Blind
  • Las Vegas show MC
  • Treats some people as invisible
  • Paranoid that being followed
  • You have a split personality and disagree with everything you say.
  • Temperamental actor having to do retakes
  • A novelty singing bass fish
  • Desperate for the bathroom
  • Claustrophobic
  • You think someone is trying to poison you
  • Catty showgirl
  • Forgetful actor
  • A Prisoner "welcoming" new arrivals to the prison
  • TV Evangelist
  • Game show host
  • Bloodhound
  • Fashion Model
  • Auditioning for a part in an advert
  • Criminal on the run
  • In disguise / Don't want to be recognised

Superheroes

Some superheroes for the superhero game (all listed as "man", but could equally be "woman", "boy", "girl" etc):

  • Dyslexic man
  • Shedding cat man
  • Nympho man
  • Cuddly man
  • Imminent heart attack man
  • Washing machine man
  • The yellow streak
  • Goat man
  • The partially invisible man
  • Knotted String man
  • Knitting man
  • Parrot man
  • Out of breath man
  • Post-coital man
  • Narcissistic man
  • Stark Naked man
  • OCD man
  • Amusing walk man
  • Easily distracted man
  • Handkerchief man
  • Fashion man
  • Bad language man
  • Can't stop talking man
  • Incontinence man
  • Package holiday man

For related crises see News Stories below.

Environments (Simple)

  • In a deserted cafe after closing time
  • On a train
  • In a car
  • In a plane
  • Hiding behind the sofa
  • Museum
  • Classroom
  • Casino
  • Restaurant
  • Air Traffic Control Tower
  • Subway train
  • Laundrette
  • Battleship
  • Middle of a forest
  • factory floor
  • police station
  • beach at midday
  • beach at midnight
  • cave
  • zoo
  • gymnasium
  • fishing pier
  • flooded basement
  • helicopter
  • Hospital room
  • Wax museum
  • A movie theatre during a film
  • Concert Hall during a gig
  • A hotel room
  • Swimming pool
  • Ice rink
  • Changing room
  • Front porch of a house
  • Jungle
  • Construction site

Genres / Film and Theatre Styles

  • Science Fiction
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Coming of Age
  • Disaster Movie
  • Shakespearian Comedy
  • Shakespearian Tragedy
  • Greek Tragedy
  • Horror
  • Slasher movie
  • Whodunnit
  • Thriller
  • Farce
  • CNN
  • Melodrama
  • Japanese No Theatre
  • Western
  • Travel Documentary
  • Spaghetti Western
  • James Bond
  • Silent Movie
  • Chekov
  • Batman
  • Disaster film
  • Boris Karloff
  • Horror
  • Blue Movie
  • Hard Hitting News Show
  • Agatha Christie
  • Riverdance
  • Woody Allen
  • Richard & Judy / Daytime TV
  • British War FIlm
  • Prehistoric Epic
  • Magic Show
  • Love Story
  • Australian soap
  • Star Trek
  • Costume Drama
  • Murder Mystery
  • Cookery Programme
  • Washing Powder Advert
  • CSI
  • FIlm Noir

News Stories

Some suggested news stories for the Newsflash game.

  • John Prescott (or other large politician) exploded
  • Alien invasion
  • Train robbery
  • 2nd world war bomb scare
  • Cake shortage
  • Crown Jewels mislaid
  • Sky is falling
  • Prime Minister keeps shrinking
  • Titanic sinks
  • Elvis found in chip shop
  • The first men land on the sun
  • A cow has been elected US President
  • International pocket shortage
  • President abducted by fleas
  • Big Ben gone flat
  • Bees vanish
  • England sinks
  • Rise of the Coffee Machines
  • Cake shortage
  • Pepper released over London

Lines

You can try the random sentence generator, although it can be a bit too random. Generally, sentences that make perfect sense but that are wildly out of context, or open to many interpretations work best. Also those that inject a branch into the scene can be fun.

You may be better just choosing a sentence out of a book or play at random.

Here are some suggested by audiences in the past:

  • One finds there are never enough to go around
  • Don't do that, it's upside down
  • It's gone to sleep.
  • What do you think about this?
  • Where are the ladies?
  • There's something I have to tell you.
  • Don't eat yellow snow.
  • Two returns, please.
  • Was that what I think it was?
  • Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope
  • What's that smell?
  • If I knew it would fit so well I would have tried it before
  • Could you pass the knife, please?
  • You're really ugly.
  • I put fifty pounds on it, but it came in last.
  • For God's sake don't do that again.
  • Stop fiddling with it, it'll come off.
  • I can't see!
  • Wait! What about my trust fund?
  • It's a secret.
  • Quick, let's hide in the basement.
  • We can't go on like this.
  • I love your dress. Can I try it on?
  • Leave me alone, I've got a headache.
  • If I paid you a million dollars would you sleep with me?
  • I'm practically your mother now.
  • It's stuck.
  • I can't hold it any longer.
  • Hold me.
  • I always get nervous when this happens.
  • Would you like Ice and Slice with that?
  • I have to warn you - I suffer from vertigo.
  • Mine's a large one.
  • Would you like to go upstairs?
  • It's enormous.
  • It's happening again.
  • I'm sorry, I haven't been listening to a word you've said
  • Kiss me.
  • I think it might be terminal.
  • I'm tired now.
  • Did I mention that you look great?
  • There's a draught, Grace.
  • The walls are closing in.
  • I just need to warm my fingers up.
  • I have a better idea.
  • Don't push it like that, you'll break it.
  • I was born under a wandering star.
  • Something has gone down the wrong way
  • I'll need to warm my hands first
  • I'm pregnant.

Additonally, here are some suggestions for the "two line vocab" game:

  • What do you want me to do?
  • That's not my thing
  • What's that?
  • Are you mad?
  • That's easy for you to say.
  • I don't get it.
  • That's not what I've heard.
  • You go first.
  • Pardon?
  • Can you say that again?
  • Who?
Jon Thrower © 2008
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