Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Okay, so one of my favorite actresses (who also happens to be one of my best friends) was in LA recently working with me on THE CYNICS.  We were brainstorming her character (a wise-cracking, recovering alcoholic bride-to-be) within the treatment and she reminded me about my favorite theatre game in the world.  The “YES! And…” Game. 

The improv game "Yes And" follows a vital rule of improvisational theater: Never deny your fellow actor.

So Actor 1 and Actor 2 are on stage and Actor 1 kicks off the improv with:
“I’m so glad we started this toilet paper company together.”

Actor 2 supports and adds to this idea: “Yes!  And I love that we decided to call it ‘ASSWIPES INC.’”

Actor 1: “Yes!  Everytime someone sees me in the street now when they yell, “’Hey ASSWIPE!’  I know they’re talking to me.” 

And so on. 

It keeps a scene going (Yes! And…) it keeps the energy going, (Yes! And…) it keeps the ideas flowing.  (Yes! And…) It makes me happy. 

I mean, really us writers can be so negative.  Heck us people can be so negative.  Imagine the lost potential if Actor 1 had said, “I’m so glad that we started this toilet paper company together” and Actor 2 had responded, “No we didn’t.”  Game over.

I think all writers should practice the “Yes.  And…” game, even if it’s in their own heads – especially when breaking a story.  It’s perfect for comedy because it helps you top the top. Let’s imagine… your lead character is in an interview with his zipper down (YES!  And…) He shakes his hips to emphasize that how excited he is about the job.  (Yes!  And…) His Superman underoos peek out!

I would imagine that it would work for drama or horror – There’s a killer on the loose. (Yes! And…) She’s is a little girl. (Yes!  And…) She’s a dead little zombie girl!  (Yes! And…) She likes to eat her victims!  See how fun this can be?

Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig playing the
"YES! And..." Game in A Christmas Carol
I propose that this holiday season, everyone tries to play the “Yes! And…” game at least once.  When your wife recommends that you wake up at 5 am to open toys with the kids, try shouting with glee, “Yes! And I’ll put on my Star Wars Christmas in the Stars Christmas record!”  Perhaps she’ll catch the spirit and reward your positivity and energy with her own resounding “Yes!  And I’ll spike our coffees!”

Happy Holidays from THE LAKE EFFECT family to yours.

YES!  And… See you in 2011! 

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