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ReV Up Your Improv Scenes
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Time to Revisit the Theme of Revisit

~ PART 13 of the Series: ReV up Your Improv Scenes ~

Last time we ended at the moment of your scene where something is needed to help you in your hour of ultimate need. This can seem like a daunting task – but fear not…

Remember the example of Ripley and the hydraulic unloader that was set up in Act 1 of Aliens? The key to solving the overwhelming problem was in the midst of the story the whole time. Well, the same can be true for your improv scenes.

We just have to employ a little technique I call “Reverse Writing.”

In movies, the writer knows he wants to put Ripley in this giant, awesome-powered contraption, so he makes sure to seed it (set it up) way earlier in the story, so the re-incorporation or revisiting of it will garner an even greater emotional response from the audience. Certainly, Ripley could have burst through the doors in the contraption without its having been set up previously, but this is generally frowned upon in storytelling. Sometimes referred to by the Greeks as the “Deus Ex Machina,” (God from the machine, or machinery - where a God-like character comes to make everything all better, delivered to the stage on a large, mechanized contraption, usually lowered down from above), this ploy is now seen almost as cheating as it relates to the protagonist’s ability to make their way out of a jam. If the God’s come in and suddenly fix everything, we don’t get that joy that comes from the hero taking matters into his own hands and emerging victorious.

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