Objectives: Shanan Custer has spent many years in theater as both an actor, a writer, and director and spent many years with the comedy theater, Brave New Workshop. Being an improviser, a person who can perform something “on the fly” (with little to no preparation), has made Custer a better writer. It allows her to keep momentum and say “yes” to herself, as she views it as a scene with herself. “Improve is disposable” – if something doesn’t go right, it’s ok, move on, and grow from the experience. In this activity, you will create your own improve performance with a partner and work together to create your own improvised story.
Tools/Resources:MN Original video clip, pen, paper.
Watch the segment and discuss:
a. Why do you think improvisation has made Shanan Custer a better writer?
b. Why would “failing faster” be an important lesson to learn?
c. How does improve differ from other forms of theater?
Brainstorm various topics that could be a good starting point for an improvised skit with a partner
Working with a partner, compare your brainstormed topics and choose 1 – 2 to perform
a. Think of simple scenarios
b. Take turn, each partner performs or retells one to two sentences in the story/topic
c. Sample story starters…
i. “Once upon a time…”
ii. “My first day of school was crazy!”
iii. “One dark and stormy night…”
If necessary, write notes down to remember the basic idea of your story – however, do not write down specifically what each person should say or do (overarching idea, not details)