In the last session for Improv 101 our instructor introduced us to Guessing Games.

These are so much fun to play, and there are some many things happening at the same time.

Typical guessing games: - Interrogation - Press conference - Party Guests from Who’s Line is it Anyway?

The rules of improv, I guess (see what I did there?)

  • Yes and - establish the reality
  • Make your partner look good - I’m starting to understand the depth of this. It’s helping keep the scene alive, and giving your partner something to play off of.

Matt, my partner in my first go at the Interrogation guessing game gave me “Your mom was worried sick, she chewed off all her fingernails” line. I was playing the mom, and he the dad, and we were interrogating our son (Kyle, another student) who had stayed out too late.

That was a great way to make my character look good. A common, or at least understood thing that people under stress do. Plus it has a visual component so was a great cue for me.

I was able to use that and find the game within the game (basically repeating something for affect, usually 3 times). That game in a game is all next level stuff that I’m just starting to grok.

But that’s the point of guessing games. Yes, and establishes the reality, maintain it. Do this by identifying who you and your partners are. Make your partner look good gives them raw material to craft in the performance, and feed back into the relationship.

Managing the keeping the scene alive, character relationships strong, helping your partner guess the right things (again everyone wants him/her to win the game), trying to find the game within the game for the lols. All this is a lot to manage, live, in the moment. It was amazing to perform like this, and I think I’m starting to really understand the acting bits of long form improv.

Shortform is so fast, furious and funny. Long form is that, and storytelling. To me, at least at this point of my education.