Improv & Comedy

Ask For

Ask Fors are concepts, facts or things which the improv player or the moderator ascertains or receives from the audience, before beginning a game or a scene. The scene is based on these, or they will be incorporated into the scene. One can even briefly break off during a running scene and allow a (further) specification. Owing to the Ask Fors, the spectators can actively influence the events on stage without even having to enter the stage. Besides, it can be easier to improvise with the help of an Ask For than to do it without any guidelines. Finally, eliciting audience suggestions "proves" that the game really is done spontaneously.

There is a great number of ways to obtain audience suggestions. It's recommended to warm up the audience once at the start of each performance, so that the natural reluctance to shout things out to the players is broken down. At the same time, besides the physical warm-up, spontaneous calling out also is practiced with the audience (e.g. "Now, on 3, everyone say his favorite food - 1,2 3!").

Occupations, society, and circumstances

  • A relationship, see also Relationships list
  • What profession do they have, or which career would they like to follow?
  • Official title?
  • What did they want to be as a child?
  • An unpopular job?
  • An occupation that involves no/great risk of injury?
  • What are they up to tomorrow? What did they do today/yesterday?
  • An unusual or dangerous hobby? Their uncle's hobby? Someone else's hobby?
  • If they were to work in a prison, which activity would be their favorite?
  • What family traditions are there, in their families?
  • A physical activity?
  • A historical personality?
  • A (tedious) household chore?
  • How have their parents met?
  • A (legal) side job.
  • A celebrity?
  • A (possibly fictional) field for an expert?
  • A personal quirk
  • How is their/one of their rooms furnished? - a spectator demonstrates it on the stage.

Places

  • Regional attractions are asked for
  • Holiday destination
  • Where do you guarantee you would you NOT go on vacation?
  • Where many people are held (stadium,airport,market ... )

Genres/Culture

  • A certain genre, also see Genre list
  • A particular director/author (Acting in the style of Brecht, Ionesco, Fassbinder ...)
  • Can I get a title for a book, a song, a movie, a play ...?
  • favourite author? favourite book? favourite film? ...
  • What should the hero (of a comic, a movie, ...) be called?
  • Combination of two genres?
  • Writing style (prose, a lyric with many different types of poetry)
  • A character from a fairy tale?
  • A special book, a special novel, a special Film...?
  • A special magazine, a special journal?
  • A monster?
  • A music festival? (E.g. Wagner Festival, etc.) ?
  • Favorite book of the Bible?

Print / Photos

  • An article that has been chosen by a spectator out of a newspaper/magazine, or a word from an article to which a spectator "blindly" points
  • ... an entry from a dictionary?
  • ... a business from the Yellow Pages
  • ... a page from a theater/move guide, etc.?
  • Let someone from the audience see a card from Trivial Pursuit. The question that is on it is the game guideline (or Ask For)
  • It is asked if anyone has a book with them. Sentences will be used out of this book - e.g arbitrary, randomly selected or the first sentence and/or the last sentence of the book.
  • Identity card pictures as a model for the facial expression

Creative

  • A spectator is invited to draw something on a sheet of paper. The page is folded in half and the audience is asked, What do you see here?
  • Inkblots (Rorschach shapes). What do you see? (controversial as Ask For)
  • If you were an inkblot, what would you be?

Complete this ...

  • I can live without anything, but not without ...
  • On a blind date I'm most afraid that ...
  • Ask for a well known saying, for example, "The early bird gets the worm". Then replace a portion of the sentence and obtain a different word for "early bird". If the Ask For is teabag, then the sentence now says, "The teabag gets the worm". Now obtaining some different word for worm, you might have as the Ask For: "The teabag gets the little sack".

News

  • Seasonal or holiday-related questions, which can be either general or personal, e.g. "Call out an idea that goes with the merry month of May" - "What was your nicest spring feeling this May?"

Nonverbal

Objects

  • Random object provided by the audience.
  • An object intended for this performance from a member of the audience. One can also expand this by asking the audience to bring along numerous objects to the next performance, which then will be incorporated in the next show. As a rule people bring rather eccentric objects.

Body position

  • Let the spectators "block" the players, i.e. give the players any anatomically possible position of the, arm, leg and head - (well-suited for Freeze Tag).
  • One or two players move on the stage, when someone from the audience says "Stop", one or both of the players freeze in their motion. The game begins with this frozen in place posture (well-suited for Freeze Tag)


Find more in category Improv Glossary : Musician | CROW | Gossip | Kissing | Talkativeness | Gibberish | Play Bill | Cancel | Action and Reaction | Beat | Offer | Clothes | Conflict | Rhymes | Attitude | Focus | Stringency | stage hog | Break | ...

updated: 2015-05-14 by Guido Boyke

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