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‘Word Association Improvisations’ is a Five-part improvisation series that I have strung together to allow students to find freedom and excellent improvisation in performance whilst working as a team. This work builds strength in an ensemble.

Send in the Clowns!

‘Word Association Improvisations’ is a Five-part improvisation series that I have strung together to allow students to find freedom and excellent improvisation in performance whilst working as a team. This work builds strength in an ensemble.

I have repeatedly said that Commedia is very structured, The structure is very important to create a well-rehearsed improvisation.

It is recommended to do these prerequisite lessons are all within the ‘Commedia Essentials’ course.

Five steps within this course:

  • Word association part 1, a simple game to get the brain going
  • Word association part 2, a simple game to get the words connected to the movement (getting them out of their heads).
  • Word association part 3, starting to build a structure to work with.
  • Word association part 4, Last part of the warmups.
  • Word association part 5, putting all together. Adding the masks.

Download PDF workbook. Word Association Improvisations

This workshop process can be completed within an extended drama class, two hours or over two one hour sessions.

This improvisation technique can build comic Skits for groups of three or four using low-status Commedia mask characters.

Course Curriculum

Word Association Part 1 a simple game to get the brain going 00:05:00
This is a very successful workshop process to get your students, your actors, to be able to work as a team, to follow each other's lead, to take the lead, work with the audience, all within an improvisational structure. One 2 hr session or two 1 hr over two days.
Word Association Part 2 getting the words connected to movement (getting them out of their heads) 00:03:00
The objectives are, improvise freely, handle heckling and work as a team successfully. This is the method I use for actors to find improvisational techniques that Zanni must have to win their audience, so it is good to make use of it in the early stages, whilst learning about Zanni. It takes at least an hour and can be revisited later.
Word Association Part 3 starting to build a structure to work with 00:04:00
They are standing together in fours or threes looking at each other, doing movement as well as word association, spontaneous words, and spontaneous movement.
Word Association Part 4 last part of the warmups 00:08:00
I encourage the students to continue working in the same groups because they are starting to build a rapport.
Word Association Part 5 putting all together. Adding the masks 00:08:00
This is the performance of all their improvisations. Set an audience and the stage area in the drama room.

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