To overview # Improv Games

Pan Right - Pan Left

Pan Right / Pan Left Players: 4 – 8 (Can be played with any number of players, but should be played with two evenly sized teams in shows) Type: Scene Rules: In pairs, players perform a variety of scenes. The Host switches back and forth between these individual scenes by telling players to “Pan Right” or “Pan Left.” Steps:

All players stand in the middle of the stage, in an outward-facing circle. In other words, their backs face the middle of the circle. Player order should alternate by team: Black Team, White Team, Black Team, White Team, etc. around the circle.

The two players closest to the audience will be the first pair. They look straight forward to face the audience.

The Host requests a suggestion for this pair's scene.

The pair is given their suggestion and all players are told to “Pan Right.” This means each player moves one position to the right in the circle. The pair facing the audience should now consist of one member of the previous pair, and one new member.

The Host gets a different suggestion for this pair's scene. The circle again pans right.

Repeat until each pair has a suggestion of its own.

After panning back to the starting pair, review all the suggestions: The host asks the players to state their suggestion, then pan right, until each suggestion has been reviewed.

The game begins. The first pair performs a scene based on its suggestion. At some point during this scene, the Host blows a whistle and shouts “Pan Right!”

The circle pans right and the next pair immediately begins a separate scene based on its suggestion.

Continue like this until a scene by each pair has been seen.

Eventually the circle will return to the first pair. When we return to a pair, that pair continues the same scene it was performing before. The scene, however, does not resume from precisely the point where it left off. Instead, it resumes as if time has passed while we panned around the circle.

Once we've panned all the way around the circle to the right – and been introduced to each scene – the Host may choose to pan either left or right between each pair.

Continue for about five minutes.


Think of this game like changing channels with a knob on an old TV. You can only go one channel to the left or right with each turn. If you turn away from a show on one channel, then come back to it later, it will not resume exactly where you left it, because time has passed while you were away. Each channel will be showing something different, but if you leave a channel and come back, the same show will still be playing. Time should pass between the time you pan away from one scene and pan back again to it later. The amount of time that passes does not need to be real time. A minute could pass, a year could pass, a generation could pass, and the setting could change. Do whatever best suits the scene. Just make sure it is still the same scene. Don't cheat – it can be tempting to plan and coordinate with your scene partners while you're at the back of the circle. Don't. This is improv. Make it up on the spot. Because there will be only two people in each scene, and because each segment of each scene lasts only a few seconds, this is a great scene game for beginners. This game also forces each player to rapidly switch between two entirely different scenes, forcing players to play two entirely different characters which can be seen in sharp contrast. Players: Listen carefully for the word “Right” or “Left.” A circle that doesn't know which direction it's turning is sloppy and distracting. The number of players will equal the number of different scenes: 4 players = 4 scenes. There will be many short scenes in this game. Inevitably, a number of different kinds of scenes will arise in this game. In fact, there are certain kinds of scenes which will be found in this game that you may not find in other game. Have fun with the things that make this game unique.

  • avatar improwiki
last update: 2015-05-20
by Guido Boyke

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