Last week I headed south to Melbourne to join in on the joy, goodness and learning that was AIN Downunder 2012 - Thriving in Uncertainty. Before dinner on the first night, we were treated to four performances. One of these was from Impro Melbourne who invited visiting actors (Glenn Hall from Just Improvise, Nick Byrne from Impro ACT, Jill Bernard and Andrew McMasters) to join them in the game How About This?
Taking turns to come up with an idea to play with, someone asks “How about this ……………”. If nobody jumps in to play, the proponent of the idea jumps up and is cheered and clapped as they leave the stage. If someone does choose to play, everyone works with that person to make it happen.
Wouldn’t it be great if every time you presented an idea that didn’t fly, you received a positive response for putting it out there? And isn’t it also a good thing when people grab your idea with open arms and run with it as a team?
In a conversation during a breakout workshop the next day, Jason Geary shared why he likes this game so much. As improv actors, they are trained to be able to respond to anything that’s thrown at them (or offered) from an audience or a fellow actor. They often have no choice.
Jason explained that the play that emerges from How About This?, where actors can choose to accept (or not) what’s on offer, creates a different energy because one idea lights a spark in someone. Using this game as a platform, we were treated to a great expo of improv from a very talented group of people many of whom had never worked together before. Yes. The spark’s the thing.