W.I.P.

Only No


Forward:
The number one rule of improv is "yes, and." Some people are inclined to interpret this as meaning that you should never tell your scene partner no. In truth, the problem isn't saying no to your scene partner, the problem is negating what your scene partner is trying to build. The problem stems from arguing or fighting about what the scene should be about. In fact, against popular understanding, it is possible to say "no" to your scene partner without negating what they're saying. The key to telling your scene partner no is bringing a brick which acknowledges what your scene partner said, doesn't contradict/negate it, and builds the scene up rather than tearing it down. For example, if character A says, "C'mon John! Let's go for a swim!" and character B says, "No, let's do something else." then character B would be committing clear negation. If, however, character B said "No! I can't Alex. My mother died in that pool from a shark attack. It's too soon." they would not be negating character A's choice since it is still agreeing with the reality established by character A and is bringing in new information on top of that.

About:
Based on Only Questions
The goal of this constraint game is to respond exclusively with 'no statements;' however, just like Only Questions, every person needs to make sure that they are: accepting the previously established scene moves, bringing new information, and bringing energy into the scene. If someone says something other than no, if someone doesn't bring a brick, or if the audience wills it, the audience may shout out "Die!" (or some variant) for another player to take the previous one's spot.

Goals:
A common instinct when a scene partner asks a question which forces you to do their work for them (E.g., what are we doing here?) is to respond by blocking (opposite of yes and). Therefore, the goal of this exercise is to train improvisers to be able to create no statements on the fly that do not block or deny but rather strengthen a scene. Hopefully, this will allow players who catch themselves saying no to say so in a constructive way for the scene.

Potential Problems:
I am hesitant to play this game. Although the purpose sounds promising, I fear that having players say no may have the opposite result from what I intend and result in players getting used to negating their scene partners.

Comments