Improv & Comedy

Countdown

Actors any number

Suggestions variable, often a location, conflict, possibly characters/quirks, or none

Premise With or without suggestions to establish the scene, the actors perform a complete scene with a beginning, middle, and end in a set amount of time, usually 3-5 minutes. The scene is then repeated identically, line for line, action for action, in decreasing time frames, often in half the time. I.e., the first performance takes 3 minutes, the next 1.5 minutes, the next 45 seconds, and finally 20 seconds or less. These times are only suggestions.

Tips This game works best with physical and slapstick humor. As the times decrease, it will be much funnier to the audience if the performers are falling over themselves to get to previously established marks rather than hearing them babble incoherent dialogue. For this game, it is often humorous (and sometimes necessary) to have a guaranteed scene ender, i.e., someone accidentally detonates a nuke and everybody dies. By the time the scene is performed in 5 seconds or 1 second, all the actors need do is scramble about the stage before throwing themselves about to simulate detonation.

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updated: 2014-01-10 by Guido Boyke

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