Instructions for the Object-Story game (which probably could do with a better name)
- Pick an object you have on you (anything, a pen, your driver’s licence, a piece of jewellery). Tell your partner a short true story about yourself, using the object as a symbol of the story. For example, it might be “This is the pen I used to sign the lease on my first flat [story, for a minute or so] and then the roof fell in”. Or “this is the newspaper the taxi driver was reading when . . . ” Listen to your partner’s story. Listen intently, noticing what details seem most important.
- Swap objects, thank each other, and move on to a new partner. Exchange stories and objects as before, but this time retelling your first partner’s tale as if it were your own. Talk in the first person “I, me my”, only change gender details if really necessary. Emphasis the important bits. Swap objects as before, and return to sitting as a group.
- Everyone presents the last object-story they just heard, always in the first person as if it was their own.
- Discuss what changed, what stayed the same! How did it feel to have your story fed back to you?
Wisdom from Jill Bernard of Huge Theatre (Thanks Jen for finding this) Continue reading
Registrations for this course are closed! But it, or another just as thrilling will run again soon. Check the training news on this website, or the weekly members’ newsletter (back issues here) for announcements.
The course will be led by Geoff Simmons
Dates: Mondays 29 April – 24 June (no class on 3rd of June as this is a public holiday)
Time and Place: 6.30pm Capital E
Cost: $110 WIT members, $130 non-WIT members
Narrative is open to WIT members and graduates of the Level 2 Foundation Course, however the Creative Directors or the course leader can waive this requirement (just ask). By the end of the course you will understand the elements of story in a new way, and have developed your skill in creating satisfying scenework. This course will explore both short and mid-form improv and graduates will be ready to participate in a WIT show at the end of the course.
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Peter Hassall came and trained the heck out of us, and it was a bunch of fun: the trick will be to keep practicing until it’s all there ready to use when we step on stage.
Notes on things to remember:
- This will only work playing on stage with someone else who knows the game!
- Look your partner in the eyes and signal what you’re doing
- Take a step back so your punch or slap can’t connect. Angle your body so the audience can’t tell
- Go for the overly dramatic pull-back of a John Wayne style punch, look where you’re going to hit (or rather, where you would hit, if you weren’t too far away)
- Noise can be made by either victim or attacker slapping a thigh with the away-from the audience hand. This is called the knap.
- For contact moves, never make contact using sharp pointy bits of yourself – ie no elbows or knees. For example, use the flat of your arm to fake stomach blows, the flat of the top of your foot on the inside thigh to fake a kick in the goolies.
- Play the comedy of having the “wrong reaction” to a punch – a big person punched by a little one and being knocked for six, or the opposite, a staunch non-reaction. But usually, try for the “tick” motion of the head in the logical direction that it would have been driven by a real slap or punch. Careful of your neck there.
- For hair pulling, Attacker makes a fist and places it against the Victim’s head. They do not in any way grab any hair. Victim holds the attackers fist against their head, and is the one in control of everything. The exact opposite of what the audience think they are seeing.
- Nose leading-by and ear-pulling are done the same sort of way. Noses and ears are never pulled (gently cupped instead), it is the Victim who is in control and who keeps the Attacker’s hand in contact with them
- Strangling operates on the same principal, but be careful since throats are full of soft squishy bits that are easily damaged. So: attackers hands are below the throat, actually against the solid collarbone. Victim tucks chin down so audience can’t see. Attacker is actually pulling hands away from the Victim: it is the Victim who holds the Attacker’s hands against their throat. There is muscle tension: but the exact opposite of what the audience thinks.
- Since we’ll most often be committing violence with comedy effect, make use of comedy gimmicks like having a slow motion fight sequence
- Consider getting tricky with a predictable (to your partner) sequence of moves – the ol’ one two, or stomach punch/back blow combination.
The falling over moves I’m not going to cover in detail here – they need mats and physical practice, and won’t fit so easily into our Tuesday trainings. But some key things were
- Protect your head (tucking in your head when falling backwards, turning head to side when falling forwards)
- Reduce the height you’re falling from (crouch down before falling down) and
- Spread impact rather than having concentrated on a pointy part of yourself (ie, wrists, knees, tailbone). Roll down your back falling backwards, arms out slightly. Make a 45 degree ‘triangle’ with your arms going forward.