Players perform a scene based on an audience suggestion. At any point during the scene, the Host may blow a whistle and call for a “New Choice,” at which point the previous line of dialogue and/or action is replaced with a new line of dialogue and/or action.
The Host may call for as many or as few new choices as he or she chooses.
Make bold, radical choices. There is a tendency in this game to fall into the Rule of Threes. Fight it. For example...
“I'm walking my dog.” “New choice!” “I'm walking my cat.” “New choice!” “I'm walking my elephant.” “New choice!” “This is a stick-up. Give me all your money!”
“I'm walking my dog.” “New choice!” “This is a stick-up. Give me all your money!” “New choice!” “I hate to be the one to tell you – you're just not cut out to be an astronaut, Daniel.”
In the bad example, a dull, predictable pattern is established. The same “choice” is repeated three times, with only one word changing, and only after this is a genuine alternative offered. Aim to be more like the good example, avoiding patterns and predictability. Take the scene in a new direction. Make NEW choices.
Host: A character's entrance is a great opportunity to call for a new choice. It challenges players to be someone they didn't expect to be.
Host: Beware of the Rule of Threes, as well. Fight all habits and patterns. Once a player thinks they know your style, it's time to reverse their expectations. Very often a player will offer some line that he or she is sure you'll want replaced with a new choice, then wait for the blow of your whistle. Reverse expectations by not calling for a new choice, forcing that player to continue with the first line given. Likewise, many players will automatically expect their first “New Choice” to be rejected, offering some throwaway choice as their first option, and saving their “good” line for the second or third choice. If the player is playing you, reverse expectations.
Many new players find this game daunting and nerve-wracking. Don't go easy on them. Yes, this game is supremely challenging. It puts huge pressure on players, and forces creativity, speed, and confidence. In short, it is improv. Force players to overcome this game, and they'll be ready for anything.
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by Maitti Showhopper