The 30 minute Solo (and two person) improv warm up

If you want to improve at improvisation, it really helps to practice. But if you are all by yourself, what can you do? Well quite a lot as it turns out.

Below is my daily routine that I try to do first thing in the morning. It also works very well with a partner. Enjoy it, go slowly at it, accept that for you to eventually be at the level that you want to be at, you have to start somewhere, and the more you enjoy riding the train, the less you will worry about the destination, and the faster you will arrive because you are spending so much time riding the train, all because you wanted to.

This can take between half an hour and an hour. If you cannot spare that much time, start with 5 minutes and build on the exercises as you progress. And have fun!

Creativity (5 minutes):

* Eyes side to side for 30 seconds to boost creativity (the colour blue helps too apparently)

Using a metronome to give you a beat, naming on the beat.

* 1 minute walking round a room, pointing at objects and naming them
* 1 minute walking round a room, pointing at objects and naming the last object
* 1 minute walking round a room, pointing at objects, calling it anything that it is not
* 1 minute infinity box

Location (8 minutes):

* 1 minute walking round a room, pointing at an area and stating a location (“see” it if possible)
* Describe a location, quickly and in as great detail as possible
* Have a list of locations, pick one at random and name 5 objects in that location
* Now mime those 5 objects as accurately as possible (hint: make your fingers as stiff as the object that you are miming, will make more realistic)
* Have a list of locations, pick one at random and try to show the location purely through spacework / mime

Spacework (5 minutes):

* Choose an object (make it different each day) and mime it carefully. Feel its weight, its firmness, how hot or cold it is. Manipulate it, play with it, carefully and slowly mime it, create it and make it real. Then do it faster. Over time, you will build up an array of objects that you make solid through mime.

Emotion (5 minutes):

* Do emotional scales. Make the emotions specific. Practice at the limits and sliding up and down. Always finish on Joy or Love.

Character (7 minutes):

I will add my Character exercises here soon, in the meantime, look up my Rachael Mason and Rebecca Sohn notes.

* Spend a couple of minutes doing multiple initiations – initiate a scene, then another, then another. Try to be as different as possible in each. Concentrate on using different parts of the stage, different emotions, different characters, different pace (if you have a means of giving yourself a randomly timed “change” notification, use that)

Being affected (5 minutes):

* Have copied the script from a play or film and muddled up the lines. Then, using the lines, react to them emotionally. What do they mean to you?
Hint: You care for this person. Who is this person to you? Where are you? Why is it so brilliant that they have just told you this?
Respond to each line as if it were a line in a play (which it is!) – each line is important.
(a place to find scripts for free: http://www.simplyscripts.com/plays.html )

Bringing it all together (5-30 minutes):

* Do solo twoprov three line scenes (giving the where, the what, the who and with a specific emotion)
* Do solo twoprov, really listening to yourself and making every line count for it’s deeper meaning (i.e. don’t talk about the thing, talk about what the deeper meaning is, let it affect you)
* Do solo twoprov nose to nose with yourself in the mirror (hint: make sure to look yourself in the eyes)
* Do solo improv for a specific length of time. If it is helpful, video yourself to give yourself an audience. Make sure to complete the time you set yourself!

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One thought on “The 30 minute Solo (and two person) improv warm up”

  1. This is fantastic. Improvisers are so often discouraged from solo practice but I feel like working on the fundamentals of being affected and doing object and space work can get lost in group practice where the focus is scene technique.

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