What the- What are they doing?

If you are new to the improv world you may find yourself at different shows thinking, “What are they doing? This is completely different than the last show I caught.”

There are many different distinctions in improv. The most basic of the genres breaks down into two camps; Short form, also referred to as games and Long form.

Short form improv is the type of improv through which many people are first introduced to the improv world. Many people are familiar with short form through “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, originally a British show, imported to the US starring Drew Carey, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, and Wayne Brady. In brief, short form improv are scenes usually from 2-4 mins in length, predicated on established parameters in which the improvisers in the scene derive the comedy from honoring the established rules for the scene.

An example; A scene will have two players on a first date but the players must start their first line with the next letter of the alphabet.
Player 1- Allie, I’m really glad you finally agreed to go out with me.
Player 2- Because I thought it might be the only way to get you to stop asking.
Player 1- Can it be true? You know me so well already!

One way of looking at short form is they are short scenes which contain a gimmick or a game, hence “games improv”.

Long form improv is longer in length usually 20 mins- hour and the scene’s source of comedy are based on character and story development. The audience may see a previously introduced character return to different scenario. In this way, long form appears to most as a simmer which then builds to rolling boil vs short forms quicker punches.

Related posts:

  1. Which is the best improv theatre to take classes?
This entry was posted in Improv L.A. and tagged , by seanmichaelboozer.

About seanmichaelboozer

an Michael is a SAG actor/director/writer/ who studied Theatre at NAU and teaches at the SAG Conservatory. Sean Michael has performed improv and sketch for over 15 years the last ten right here in Los Angeles on the stages of ACME, The Groundlings, Second City, Bang, Westside Eclectic, IOWEST and Upright Citizen’s Brigade. SM has also performed at National Improv Festivals with Nation of Improv and can currently be seen at The Second City Friday Nights in his long form improv show The Greene Boozer Elixir . Sean Michael believes that improv is an essential skill in today’s commercial actor and uses improv techniques at all of his commerical auditions.

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