Improv! 

Better Living Through Improvisation

What is Improv?

Improvisational theatre (also known as improv) is a form of theatre in which the improvisational actors/ improvisers use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously. Improvisers typically use audience suggestions to guide the performance as they create dialogue, setting, and plot extemporaneously.

Improvisational theatre performances tend to be comedic, although some forms are not necessarily intended to be comedic. Many improvisational actors/ improvisers also work as scripted actors, and "improv" techniques are often taught in standard acting classes. The basic skills of listening, clarity, confidence, and performing instinctively and spontaneously are considered important skills for actors to develop. Improvisational theatre allows an interactive relationship with the audience. Improv groups frequently solicit suggestions from the audience as a source of inspiration, a way of getting the audience involved, and as a means of proving that the performance is not scripted. That charge is sometimes aimed at the masters of the art, whose performances can seem so detailed that viewers may suspect the scenes were planned.

In order for an improvised scene to be successful, the improvisers involved must work together responsively to define the parameters and action of the scene, in a process of co-creation. With each spoken word or action in the scene, an improviser makes an offer, meaning that he or she defines some element of the reality of the scene. This might include giving another character a name, identifying a relationship, location, or using mime to define the physical environment. It is the responsibility of the other improvisers to accept the offers that their fellow performers make; to not do so usually prevents the scene from developing. Some performers may deliberately block (or otherwise break out of character) for comedic effect -- this is known as gagging -- but this generally prevents the scene from advancing and is frowned upon by many improvisers. Accepting an offer is usually accompanied by adding a new offer, often building on the earlier one; this is a process improvisers refer to as "Yes, And..." and is considered the cornerstone of improvisational technique. Every new piece of information added helps the improvisers to refine their characters and progress the action of the scene. 

As with all improv offers, improvisers are encouraged to respect the validity and continuity of the imaginary environment defined by themselves and their fellow performers; this means, for example, taking care not to walk through the table or "miraculously" survive multiple bullet wounds from another improviser's gun. 

What is LARP?

A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters' actions improvisationally. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by a pre-designated location in the real world, with often minimal props and sets, while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of player actions may be mediated by game rules, or determined by consensus among players. Event arrangers called Storytellers decide the setting and rules to be used and facilitate fairness and play. 

Play may be very game-like, or may be more concerned with dramatic or artistic expression. The fictional genres used vary greatly, from realistic modern or historical settings to fantastic or futuristic eras. Production values are sometimes minimal, but can involve elaborate venues and costumes. LARPs might range in size from small private events lasting a few hours to huge public events with thousands of players lasting for days.

LARP has also been referred to as live role-playing (LRP), interactive literature, and freeform or improv role-playing. Some of these terms are still in common use, however LARP has become the most commonly accepted term.

The live action in LARP is analogous to the term live action used in film and video to differentiate works with human actors from animation. Playing a LARP is often called larping, and one who does it is often called a larper.

Naturally the point of both LARPing and Improv is to engage in a collaberative experience that is unpredictable and has the potential to be endlessly entertaining!

A Synergy of Artistic Play and Community Consciousness

Come join us for group games in a collaberative and supportive setting, as improv and role-playing was meant to be, and bring a willingness and interest in not only having fun with us by reaching in and finding interesting characters to play, but also in reaching outward into the community with us and showing your real character in the reflection of those we're able to help. 

Gaming that's good for the soul?

Acting as scary monsters then behaving as upstanding citizens willing to lend a helping hand in the community?

Yep, we do that here, and with style! We've partnered with Mad Dog Properties out of Redmond, WA so that our special events may make use of professional theatrical set pieces and props constructed and collected by the Mad Dog studios and donated by their network of partnering theatres. Theatrical vines twine over our theatre-grade roman columns if the event calls for it, and the grave of Edgar Allen Poe is adorned with black roses when the scene requires. We trade volunteer time organizing and tidying their massive prop warehouse for access to set-pieces some theatre troupes pay a lot for, and you won't find that kind of relationship in most role-playing troups.

Emerald Chronicles is a collaberative adventure, where co-created improv storytelling and fair play are highlighted in a fun and safe environment, guided by Storytellers and advocates who care and know that cooperative gaming and community building works.

Check out what we mean when we talk about building character, learn about the genres of play we offer and how to contact each genres storytellers, or check out our Message Boards.