improv vs writing

Thousands of people (maybe even more) have fought on both sides of this war. There are no winners and no real victim. You see, writing is improv.

There is a show that runs weekly in Toronto called Ghost Jail that does an improv/writing form. They are quite cool.

I first ran into this type of format through Becky Johnson while we were doing some improv in Toronto years back. She then did a version in Winnipeg while she was doing the Fringe with Kevy G. We then produced our own version at the Winnipeg Improv Festival in 2005 and in 2008.

The way it generally works (with variations of course) is the audience gives a suggestion. A couple of improvisers are sitting with pens and paper. The rest of the improvisers on stage start improvising scenes. Whenever an improviser has finished a bit of writing they take the stage and read their piece. The "writer" then joins the acting cast and one of the "actors" becomes a "writer". The written piece then inspires some more scenes. And so on and so on and so on...

Here is one of the improvised writing pieces that was produced:

(stethoscope was the suggestion)


losing hope
using soap
smoking dope
at the end of our rope

it's frayed at the end
around the bend
around the corner
over the rainbow
under the table
over the counter
over the shoulder
under my skin

take a sample

put it on a slide ... microscope

reach for the stars ... telescope

from under the sea ... periscope

to the beating of my heart ... stethoscope