Erica Marx Ithaca Improv

New Choice

by for . Last edit was 13 days ago
any any

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.

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Additional info

Goal

let go of your own thoughts and story lines

develop flexibility, spontaneity, risk-taking

openness to new outcomes, co-creation

Attachments

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Materials

    Instructions

    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.

    Notes

    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...

    Bad 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!”

    Good Example:

    “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.

    Debrief

    • What did it feel like to keep getting interrupted by the "ding"?

    • What was your reaction when you had to "give up" your first offer? How did that change if you got "dinged" on your second and third offers as well? 

    • What did you observe in your partner when they got "dinged?" 

    • How was it easy/hard to come up with new choices?

    Suggestions

    This exercise can be challenging for some. If participants get stuck, side-coach with "New emotion!" or "New gesture!" or "New topic!" or offer another adjustment (verbal or physical) you would like participants to explore. 

    Variation
    Play in Circle: The group may also stand in a circle and play New Choice together. For example, everyone is told, "Greet your mom." When you say, "New choice!" everyone greets again in a different 

    Background

    https://improwiki.com/en/wiki/improv/new_choice

    Also called Quick Change on the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Ding Game (FoHs and O' Hara 2016). or Bing

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