Improv Class: The Start of the Beginning

You teach improv, right?  What is the very first exercise that you introduce to the group? Do you do something with a name exercise?    Or do you jump right into an improv activity.

Here is a name exercise that I often use.

Know Your Neighbor Ask the group to get into groups of two.  Ask them to choose which is person 'a' and which is person 'b'.  Ask person 'a' to interview person 'b', finding out their full name, their hometown and a piece of literature that was important to them when they were young.  Then ask for a volunteer among the 'a' people to tell the story of their partner....introducing them to the group with the information they learned.  Then ask that person to choose which pair will go next.  When that is done, repeat the process with person 'b' asking the same questions of person 'a'.

I like that at the end of this exercise everyone has one person that they know and with whom they have shared a story.  I also like that the person who just told the story picks who goes next.  It prevents the predictability of going around in a circle.  This models the improv concept of always being ready.

Have you used this activity?

What activity do you use to start your first class?