The Harold is a Longform developed by Del Close. The original form is described in "Truth in comedy" by Del Close and Charna Halpern. Based on this archetype, the Harold consists of the following phases:
- 1.) A secular term or a one word suggestion is taken from the audience.
- 2.) An association round of the whole group, verbally and non-verbally starting with a word from the audience.
- 3.) Three very different, non-contiguous Scenes are played, which have to do with at least one of the associations mentioned in 2.) above.
- 4.) Now the group game follows. Anything is possible here. Structure games (short forms), monologues, singing, exercises etc... Topics are addressed, which did not appear in the three stories of 3.) but have to do with 2.) or with the initial word from the audience.
- 5.) Continuation and deepening of the three stories from 3.). There can suddenly be connections between the stories or leg influences. It doesn't have to happen, but it can.
- 6.) 2nd group Game. Same as in 4.), but the previous stories from 3.)/4.)/5.) can and may influence the new one.
- 7. End of the 3 Stories from 3.)/5.). If it goes well, the three stories now join/overlap/complement each other thematically and/or in the characters.
- 8. Common End, which connects the stories. All games and forms of play are allowed.
The Harold is played by many improvised theater groups around the world and various variations have developed. The Harold is one of the first longforms in improvisation theatre history.
Tips and Hints
There do not necessarily have to be three games at a time, but four or five are also possible. If a story no longer exists, it does not have to be continued in 7.). Especially with a Harold you don't have to stick slavishly to the or a scheme!