The Phone Call
A student starts a particular activity (washing dishes, polishing nails, scrubbing counters, whatever). The phone rings. The conversation overlaps with the continued activity. The student must show in what ways each part influences the other.
The student is packing a suit case in the privacy of his/her room. He or she is also talking aloud about the reason for the trip. Whatever feeling the monologue generates must also be expressed in the way the clothes are handled, packed, etc.
Note: Writing can help here. Allow some time after the improv for the student to recall his or her own similar (or dissimilar) experience and to describe the elements that were useful in the presentation.
Step Five: Group Improvisation
Now the real worlds must begin to mesh with the imaginary ones. Group improvisation is a practiced dramatic art. Although an improvisation by definition, occurs only once in a particular way, timing, concentration, expression, reaction, in fact, all dramatic techniques can be improved. Group improvisations also test the strength of your “ensemble”. Students have been both participants and critics. Now they must put it all together without the structure (or the limitation) of a set script. This is a most useful technique if you have a specific cutting in mind and if you wish to set up aspects of conflict or characterization before the students get a taste of the material. Two or three sessions may be a good beginning, however, improvs should continue well into actual reading of the plays.