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As improvisers, we put a lot of emphasis on words, and pressure on ourselves to “think of something funny to say.”

But think of all the amazing silent or almost-silent scenes you’ve watched. Tone of voice and body language say so much. As Del said, “No scene is ever about the words being spoken.” That’s one of the reasons I love this exercise.

To begin, two players sit or stand while two more stand on either side of them.

The Coach/Director takes a suggestion to start the scene: an object, news item, or geographic location, for instance. The first player speaks a line of gibberish, then his “translator” turns to the audience and explains what was said. The second player then speaks some gibberish, followed by her sidekick’s translation. For example:

Suggestion: Berlin

Player 1: Havortska dishnek plakken stap?

Translator 1: Hey Peter, have you seen my new boat?

Player 2: Skannik! Plerripps vooker shnaben.

Translator 2: Of course! The wall is down.

And so forth.

Gibberish “conversations” are entertaining because the players are often as surprised as the audience.

For a master class in gibberish, check out Second City’s “Twin Baby Boys Having A Conversation About Politics” video.

Chaqi da berrnizahn!

Photo © Kevin Thom

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  1. Enjoy The Silence: Improvising Without Dialogue (Part One) | People and Chairs

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