Advanced Improvisation: The Game of the Scene (DRA4380.01)

Shawtane Bowen

Advanced Improvisation is an in-depth study of improvised comedy scene work. The central theme of this course is finding and playing “Game.” In order to find a Game in a long form improvised scene, you typically need to be able to answer three questions:

  1. What is the situation?
  2. What is the first unusual thing?
  3. If this is true, then what else is true.

We’ll be building upon the basics learned in Theater Games and Improvisation (keeping things simple, listening, reacting, agreement, accepting offers, commitment, playing at the top of your intelligence, being specific) to help us find Game in both ‘premise-based’ and ‘organic’ scenes.

This course emphasizes character development through exercises and scene work, while introducing advanced improv theory and technique. You will be encouraged to make strong emotional and character choices. This course is fully in-person and has THREE class shows.


Learning Outcomes:
•Understanding, finding and playing the "Game of the Scene"
•Explain the concept of identifying the first unusual thing in a scene
•Explain how to use, “If this unusual thing is true, then what else is true?” to heighten and explore the scene’s Game
•Explain how to answer “Why?” in order to justify or explore the Game of the scene
•Explain the distinction between “straight man / crazy man” scenes and “peas in a pod” scenes
•Emphasize acting in scenes: being affected, commitment, and playing at the top of your intelligence
•Using support to play Game in scenes


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Theater Games and Improvisation or equivalent improv experience. Permission of instructor upon receipt of a brief, 2 min. Video Statement of Interest [via YouTube link]. Video Statement of Interest: What is your interest in comedy/improv and what do you hope to gain by taking this course? Who's your favorite comedian and why? What would your first executive action be if you were President of Bennington College? Hilarious answers only, please. Send these BRIEF YouTube videos to me at: shawtanebowen@bennington.edu by Nov. 18th at 5 p.m. Late submissions will not be accepted!
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: Fully In-Person , All courses , Drama
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