Games – Layers

By Randall | Games for Shows
25 Dec 2011

Played with 5-7 improvisers, typically everyone that is in the show. If playing with 6 people, for example, number off from 1 to 6. The person that is #1 will receive a suggestion and start a scene by himself or herself, with everyone else offstage. After he/she has had a little bit of time to establish the scene, the #2 person will enter the stage and establish a new scene, utilizing the physical position of the starting player. This continues, with each person entering one at a time, starting a new scene, and justifying the physical positions of everyone when they enter. Once the sixth person has come in, they must find a reason to leave the scene, which then reverts to the scene created when the #5 person entered. The improvisers then continue “peeling off” the layers, going through the scenes in reverse order, until the original person is left alone on stage once again. The physical positions should be re-justified as scenes are peeling off as well.

Setup notes:

With setting up Layers for the audience, sometimes less is more. Just try to be clear that the scene changes with each person that enters/leaves.

Tips for success:

Be very true to the physical positions whenever transitioning between scenes. This is really the heart of the game, and requires focus on everyone’s part. The positions can make for interesting offers, especially when “peeling back” the scenes, and provide inspiration for the development of the scene. And the audience really gets a kick out of it too.

When entering a scene, be loud and be obvious. The person entering the scene can provide the initial offer to direct the scene. As the scenes get larger, there will be too many people to all be talking at the same time. You can support the scene in the background by agreeing physically to the action of the scene.

When peeling back through the scenes, it can be difficult to remember what the new scene is. The person who originally entered and created the scene should re-establish the scene when it is revisited, but everyone else should be ready to help them out.

Making strong character choices when entering scenes can help the audience both recognize that a new scene is being created when advancing the layers, and that scenes are being revisited when the layers are regressing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>