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One sentence at a time

2 mins
improv-game scenework improv-game
Baptiste Coulange
Socially acceptable maths and improv nerd
Table of Contents

Two players do a scene. They must say one sentence at a time: Player A starts with a sentence, Player B answer with another sentence, and so on.

A good setup to do a scene where we concentrate on the listening between players.

  • Group size : 2+
  • Time : 30 minutes


The two players are doing a normal scene. Each player must say one sentence only and then listen to the answer by the other player.


This setup helps to analyze what is happening and how each player listens to each other. By saying one sentence at a time, you can discuss if each sentence is connected to the previous one and not blocking.

Keith Johnstone in Impro for Storytellers presents a series of way players are killing stories. This exercise is perfect to notice them and discuss with the group. Here are some of these blocking methods :

  • Blocking: a direct negation to the offer
  • Wimping: Accepting the ideas but don’t add anything on them
  • Canceling: dismantling what has been established
  • Gossiping: Avoiding interaction by discussing something that happens outside of the scene, arguing on a price, etc.
  • Agreed activities: Doing exactly what the other player asks you to do, killing all interaction that can exist between players.
  • Sidetracking: Adding elements to avoid the actual story
  • Being original
  • Looping
  • Gagging
  • Lowering the stakes


Giving presents
3 mins
improv-game exercise improv-game spontaneity

Player A offers an imaginary present to player B. Player B defines what is the gift and show his happiness on what he has just been offered! The pair continues the same action back and forth.

This game is straightforward and perfect to show how hard it can be to define what should be the most natural thing: a present we would like.

Mind meld
1 min
improv-game warmup improv-game

In a group, a first player says 1 when he thinks of a word. Then when a second player thinks he knows the word of the first player, he says 2. Finally, together they say 1,2,3 and their world. If they have the same word, it’s a Mind Meld!

An excellent warmup to put a group in the same energy.

No / Yes but / Yes / Yes and
2 mins
improv-game exercise improv-game spontaneity

By pairs. Player A tells a story to player B. Player B can only answer No. Then player B can only respond Yes, But…, then Yes and finally Yes, and.

A good exercise to feel how we are affected by others’ reaction to our ideas.

Zip, Zap, Zop
2 mins
improv-game warmup improv-game

In a circle, participants pass a Zip! noise to each other. One player can decide to say Zap! to change the direction of the sound or to say Zop! to skip the next player.

This game is perfect to make every member of the group present.

Training: Why don't I have more ideas?
9 mins
Improvisation improvisation training

In front of this computer since hours, I’m looking for how to start this article. How the find the idea that will make it meaningful. I turn the music on and the distraction off and begin to look around me to think “outside the box”. Two hours ago I planned to write this article about the first improvisation training I did with my team. I’ve decided to train us on behavior and creativity topics. This training is about what I’m struggling with right now :

How can I have more ideas?

5 great books about creativity
5 mins
books books creativity improvisation mathematics
Here are five great books about creativity. These are very good books where you can experience different aspect of creativity: How it became a culture in a creative company like Pixar (Creativity Inc), how one person can fight to maintain it in a huge industry (Orbiting the Giant Hairball), the importance of mistakes in the creative process (The Art of Making Mistakes), how an author can make crazy idea with everyday things (H2G2) and finally in the best example of Art&Science I know, magic (Magical Mathematics).