We all have emotional reactions to things.
Certain things just make us smile, or give us chills, or make us fly off the handle. It can be something as big as who won the election, or as small as our internet connection being slow.
Unfortunately, we often leave all that behind when we walk on stage. There’s tendency for improvisers to just stand around talking. But when you feel on stage, the audience will respond emotionally, too.
Oscar Moment is a great game for reminding us that anything can provoke an emotional reaction.
To begin, two people start a scene, with or without a suggestion.
The scene proceeds normally, then the Coach/Director (or an audience member) yells “Oscar Moment!”
That’s the cue for the last person who spoke to snap into high gear and heighten, emotionally. Think Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, The Last Detail, The Shining, or, well, just about anything.
Player A: I watered the plants.
Player B: Oh right, I forgot.
Audience Member: Oscar Moment!
Player B: I’m always forgetting. Stupid, stupid, stupid! It’s like someone took a vacuum to my head while I was sleeping, and sucked my brain right out of my earhole. I’m a big, fat, fucking, forgetful loser! I’ll always be a loser!
The more banal the line that leads to the Oscar Moment, the funnier the results. Once the player has reached their emotional limit, the scene continues until the other person gets called on to emote.
You can choose which emotion you want to heighten in the moment. Mr Forgot-To-Water-The-Plants could have gotten angry, frightened, even lusty, for example.
You could also play the game à la William Shatner – however you want to interpret that.
(Thanks to storyteller Sage Tyrtle for the link.)