Last Monday's workshop at The Rag Factory was on 'Saying Yes'. By just concentrating on 'Saying Yes' all night there was loads of fun and laughs, it really is one of the core things of impro. It also had the effect that scenes tended to have more action in, as people were pitched into the unknown and allowed themselves to get into situations we'd usually defend ourselves from. I also enjoyed watching the effect it had on people saying yes to their own ideas, not just their partners, and surprising themselves with their own offers.
One of the games we used Yes Let's. As impro games go, this is a real classic. It's the sort of game you learn when you're starting out and love, and then years later forget about when you're going through trials and tribulations with a performing group, and then rediscover it and think 'oh year, that's what this stuff is all about, we should have been doing this every week'. I really want to do it loads more now, can't believe I've been neglecting it recently!
So we made a few modifications to it, but here's how it goes:
Yes Let's In a Big Group
The whole group stood in a big circle.
Anyone starts with a simple ordinary boring offer. For instance "Let's do some washing up".
The whole group shouts "YES LET'S" with a panto style arm swing.
The whole group does the offer. (It's good to get them to do this quickly without hesitation)
Someone else shouts out the next obvious offer that continues from that first one. For instance "Let's feel the bubbles on our skin."
The whole group shouts "YES LET'S again.
The group continues with people shouting out the next obvious offers and the whole group shouting YES LET'S and carrying them out.
The idea is that the group ends up telling one big story all together.
Yes Let's Notes and Modifications
Encourage the group not to hesitate, there shouldn't be a gap between shouting Yes Let's, doing the action, and shouting out next thing. It's quite a quick moving game.
The panto style impro arm swing seemed important, one of the improvisers in a King/Queen Yes Let's got this to perfection, it seems to encourage a constant uplifting positive energy.
You can also start of the Yes Let's by someone shouting out a genre, and then someone shouting out a location. For instance: "Let's be in a Chicago gangster movie. YES LET'S. Let's be on the docks. YES LET'S."
If people aren't calling anything out remind them to be obvious or to just add the smallest possible offer they can. For instance if someone mentions a car, just say what colour it is. If someone picks up a flower, say what flower it is. Adding the smallest possible as an objective can unlock frozen improvisers, and often the smallest possible offer actually turns out to be really important.
Say Yes Let's positively and enthusiastically even if you think it's going wrong, in fact especially if you think it's going wrong and especially if you don't know what's happening next. This encourages people to pitch themselves into the unknown, incorporate mistakes, and makes it very exciting.
Yes Let's in a Small Group
Same as above, but with 4 people in a group. It's a way of ensuring that the quieter people in the group and new people to the exercise are still getting lots of practice.
Yes Let's in Pairs
As above but done in pairs, one pair at a time, in front of an audience. It generated scenes where lots happened, really fun.
Yes Let's Solo
I'm only thinking of this while I'm writing this blog. Why oh why didn't I think of this in the workshop? Next time gadget, next time.
Tonight's workshop at The Rag Factory is on Platforms and Environment, next Monday is on Reincorporation.
Lots of love,
Improv workshops every Monday, Thursday and Saturday in London
Improv classes also available around the UK on Sundays