A story is often broken down into 5 components: Setting, Character, Plot, Conflict and Theme. In this year’s Improv Challenge the 4 Improv elements we’re given map onto these as follows:
Setting <— Location
Conflict <— Situation
Character <– Improv Game + Street Performance
Plot <— Improv Game + Imagination
Theme <— Improv Game + Imagination + Street Performance
Recall that we’ve made the following selections for this year:
Improv Games: Superheros, Game/Quiz Show, Infomercial, Newscast, Award Show, Dating Game
Street Performance: Caroling, Escape Artistry, Dance Battle, Flash Mob, Ventriloquism, Mime
Some story elements are a simple one-to-one mapping with improv elements: Setting/Location and Conflict/Situation. Others story elements map onto several improv elements. For example, the Improv Game and Street Performance determine the minimal complement of characters in a scene. Given Game Show and Mime improv elements we know we have at minimum a game show host, contestants, Vanna White prize air caressrer and at least one mime (who could also be the game show host and/or one or more contestants.
In our practices, we’ve found out that developing and superimposing a good, solid and complete narrative arc is the hardest part of telling a story via improv. I am drilling the following diagram into everyones’ retinas so that they can visualize this to help them sketch out a complete narrative in their 1 min prep time at the tournament.