To hear (and read the musical notation of) the rhythm of this exercise, see here. (Hover your cursor above the the text that says "All Together" at the top of the piece to find a play button).
- Everybody in a circle.
- In unison, repeat the refrain: "Musta been a time warp, time warp, musta been a time warp time warp time warp."
- An improviser than has 4 bars to do or say whatever she pleases. This should be as free-spirited, free-associative, and free-formed as possible.
- Then repeat the refrain.
Some play this game cycling around the circle, meaning the person next to you goes after you have gone. This is an advanced structure for the game, as it allows improvisers to know when they are going to have to go, and therefore provides time to pre-plan. An advanced improviser will pass this opportunity up and follow their spontaneity, but a beginning one will not. For beginners, make this a pass the focus game. The initial improviser will point to a random person in the circle only moments before it is their turn to take the improvised section on.
Emphasize that this exercise is about reckless abandon. Challenge people to truly have no idea what they're going to say.
Developed by the Mira Costa High School team in ComedySportz Los Angeles' High School League, sometime in the 2010-2011 school year. Jordan Johnson and Duncan Gregory deserve the most credit. Both Dangerbox, an ensemble at NYU, and the Ad-Libs, an ensemble at Skidmore College, have since made great use of Time Warp.