2020 Improv! Guide

Introduction

Improv! is an educational program that combines Thespians from schools who have all been working on playing specific improvisation games with Thespians from other schools who have been working on playing the same games. A strong improv student will embrace the opportunity to work with new identities on familiar games as students get to work with peers they are meeting for the first time.

Each school may submit one team of five (5) students who have been working solidly on the games; teams will be scored by the Improv! Judges.

Participants must learn the three (3) games that will be adjudicated prior to arriving at Georgia Thespian Conference. School teams are expected to practice these games and learn their rules to the best of their abilities. Instructions and models for how to play these games are listed in this guide.


Scoring

Teams will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Each team’s ability to play together as a cohesive unit. Unless otherwise noted, the games in this event are to be played by all members of the team. Team participation and each individual’s ability to participate in a way that helps build something unique and as a team is essential. This most definitely includes being able to give and take focus in a way that is polite and helps to share the stage without railroading or overshadowing one another.
  • A team’s ability to follow the rules set forth by the selected games. This is especially important, as many games are known by different names, and/or played with slightly different rules. In order to maintain consistency across the board for the event, it is imperative that all teams learn to play these games by the same rules by viewing the model videos online and studying the guide.
  • Ability to play each game within the allotted time limit.
  • Playing at the top of their intelligence, i.e., no blue or shock value humor.
    Students who use inappropriate humor will be removed from the round and their team will begin the game again with a new prompt and reduced time. Students who continue to use inappropriate humor will be removed from the competition. 

Each team will receive a certain number of points from the judges for each criterion above; teams with the highest scores will move on to successive rounds of the competition.

For more details on the running of the event, see our
Improv! Competition Structure.

For more details on the scoring of the event, see our
Improv! Scoring Rubric.


Registration

Registration opens on September 29, 2019, and closes on December 6, 2019. School teams will be registered on a first come, first served basis. Because of the size of this event and the time frame in which it runs, we can only accept the first ten (10) teams from each color track. Once the slots for a track are filled, you will no longer be able to register for the event.

To register for Improv!, troupe directors need to submit the online Improv! entry form found on the Thespian Conference website and pay the $25 fee, either through online payment or by mailing an accepted form of payment. All completed forms and payments MUST then be received no later than the Super Deadline December 6, 2019.

Acceptable forms of payment include certified checks, school checks, school booster club checks, money orders, and U.S. funds (on a U.S. Bank only). Make all checks/money orders out to Georgia Thespians. Personal checks will not be accepted. A $50 returned check fee will apply. All fees are non-refundable.


Teams

Five (5) players from each school are broken up and placed on a new team consisting of five students from five different schools. At the beginning of the workshop session, each team will have 10 minutes to meet in their assigned area, warm up, and go over the three games they will be playing together.

The final list of participating Improv! teams will be published on January 4, 2020. If you need to make a change to your team list after you have submitted your entry form, you must email improv@gathespians.org with your school name and troupe number, the name of the student being replaced, and the name and grade of the student filling that spot. The last date to do this is January 11, 2020.


Game Descriptions

Teams selected to compete will need to view the video examples linked in this guide to learn the rules of the games used for the Improv! event and to practice them with their home team. The three games to be played are:

  • Scene Three Ways – teams will play an open improv scene, and then be given different genres or styles to use when they repeat the scene;
  • Family Portrait – teams will be given a description of a family, for which they will form a tableau of a family portrait and then interact with each other in character; and
  • Evil Twin – some players will tag into a scene and perform an “evil” act, which the original players must justify without dismissing.

More detailed descriptions, as well as links to video examples and tips for performance, can be found on our Description of Games.


Questions

Please check our Improv! FAQs document for common questions about the event. You can also email improv@gathespians.org if you need further assistance.