Testing an Improv Game


The game is called TXT ME*

Players share their mobile phone number with the audience who then text lines of dialogue to the actors during the improvised scene.

When I first saw this game it was on stage in front of about 100 people.**  The two actors wrote their mobile phone numbers on a white board and displayed it to the side of the stage.  The audience pulled out their cell phones and began texting at a feverish pace.  The actors carried their mobile phones and glanced down from time to time and said the lines supplied by the audience.  It was more fun than good improv.  More of a novelty than solid game.

That night I got a call at about 2am from an audience member who wanted to tell me how much they enjoyed the show.  That was a little strange.   ~Zoe Galvez

There seemed to be something there - so we started playing with it.

Here are some of the ways we are playing with the new game.  Some of them have been played and some of them are waiting for another performance opportunity.

  1. Two players write their mobile phone numbers on a white board for all the audience to see and invite them to text lines to either number.
  2. One player writes their mobile phone number on a white board.  When the game is introduced - we ask everyone to text lines to that number.
  3. When the scene is introduced one player hands out his/her mobile phone number to 3 audience members and invites them to text lines to him/her.
  4. One player's phone number is shared before the show. Everyone is invited to text ONE line to that number. The player won't look at the lines until the scene is used.

So far it still has more promise as a game than it has delivered.

Here are a few thoughts about the structure:

  • If no one is texting the actor then the actor should say nothing.
  • It takes too long for the audience to get out their cell phones, power them up and find a signal.  So maybe the lines should be assembled earlier (just like Slips Of Paper)
  • There is a Twitter viersion of this game waiting to be found. Maybe ask the audience for an emotion and do a twitter search on that word and then use the results as lines of dialogue.  [?]
  • People in your troupe may not want to give out their mobile phone numbers to audience members.

The game seems to be similar to Playbook, Slips of Paper or even Pillars where dialogue is supplied by outside sources.

Have you played this game, or one like it?

__________________ *Posted at the web site for The Playbook:  Improv Games for Performers

**Zoe Galvez and Kasey Klemm at BATS Improv