Funeral

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Funeral is an improv form that lies somewhere between longform and shortform. In addition to being a performance worthy, it is also used as a character exercise in workshops.

Format

The Funeral format can be played with any number of improvisers. Perhaps 8 to 10 is a good number. The structure is the following:

  • Death intro scene
  • Funeral anecdote story
  • Flashback to anecdote
  • Return to funeral service, repeat

Death intro scene

The suggestion taken for the Funeral is a peculiar way to die. With this idea to work from, the first scene performed is one of the improvisers dying this improbable death. This scene should be relatively short, as it is launching pad for the rest of the form. The scene should be wiped when someone has died using the suggestion.

Funeral service, flashbacks

We are then taken to the funeral of this dead person, and the stage picture is as follows: the improviser who died, lying center stage in his/her coffin, and the rest of the improvisers on the back line, as characters from the dead person's life. One person from the back line then comes up to a pantomimed podium, and gives the beginning of an anecdotal story that they shared with the person who has died. It shouldn't be too full of a story - think more along the lines of a premise or suggestion.


It should be kept brief because, after they have given enough to inspire something, this monologuing improviser wipes the stage and takes us to that event. There can and should be multiple characters involved in each scene. After the scene has played out, someone wipes the stage, returning us to the funeral service, where another character from the dead person's life repeats this process.

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