This mind-blowing exercise I learnt from Patti Stiles at last years NZ Improv Festival.
Again I think this ties in well with the other exercises I’ve been talking about, but I might not play them in this sequence, I might do this one, then the others, then this one again to see if it helps.
Here’s how it works;
Everyone in pairs, find yourselves a space in the room. Person A is going to play the role of the worst improviser imaginable. Person B is going to play the role of the best improviser imaginable. A, try and make the scene fail. B, try and make the scene succeed. Go!
After a few minutes I’ll swap them over without discussion.
Then we talk about successful strategies for both roles. Then we try it again, encouraging each side to try different approaches, and pointing out that if they can succeed when someone is actively working against them then improv will be easy for the rest of their lives.
It’s impossible to describe all the possible ways this game can go, but I assure you, the first time you see the good improviser flip things on the bad improviser so that it looks like they’re both working together (and making them both look brilliant) you’ll be hooked.
It’s a great proof of the fact that No one can block you but yourself (As Jeff Wirth said in this wonderful but long lost article), and that if you treat your partner like a genius and a poet then they will become one.