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Conflict and Plan Less, Listen More

Lesson 5 - Conflict and Plan Less, Listen More

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of conflict and listening in improvisation by performing a Scene From a Hat with a partner


Essential Questions

  • Why is conflict necessary in theatre?
  • How do we create conflict?
  • Why is it important to plan less, listen more in improvisation?
  • How can we listen and respond effectively as actors?



  • In this activity, one person starts a story with a simple sentence. The next person needs to continue the story starting with “Fortunately.” The next person continues by starting their sentence with “Unfortunately.” This continues for a few rounds.
    • Side-coaching: How can we add conflict? Are you practicing yes, and?


  • How were we building conflict?
  • Did we practice ‘yes, and’?
  • How could we have been more successful?

Lesson pt. 1


  • Why is conflict important to theatre?
    • Makes stories engaging
  • How do you create conflict?
    • There is a problem and you need to solve it
    • Objectives and OBSTACLES

Activity pt. 2

Conflict Game pg. 232

  • Full group. Played like Where game. Two players go on stage. They agree upon a conflict that can allow for many others to take part. Other members of workshop decide Who and enter scene to take sides.
  • Before the conflict begins, show us the Where and Who.
  • Play this a few times, ask these questions after each round
    • Was the conflict clear?
    • How did you add conflict?
    • How can we improve for the next round?

Discussion (Review from Online Class)

  • What does it mean to Plan Less and Listen More?
  • Why does this make for better Improv?
  • Why is ‘Yes and’ so important?
  • How can we practice yes and?

We need to improve our ability to listen and respond.


Story Building Rhyme (Like fortunately, unfortunately) pg. 166-167

  • Each player gives one line. All lines must rhyme with the line before. We are telling a story in couplets (Every other line is a new rhyme). Don’t think about it too much!
  • Discussion
    • How well did we listen?
    • Did we plan less and listen more?

Adding color

  • 2 players. Partner A tells a short story. B repeats the story and adds color to better describe the story. Model the activity first, then break up into partnerships.
  • “I walked down the street and saw an accident between a car and a truck in front of the school.” “I was walking down the grey street and saw an accident between a green car and a brown truck in front of the red brick school”
    • Side-coaching: See the color as you hear the story. Talk directly to each other.
  • Discussion
    • What went well?
    • What was challenging?
    • Why is it important to listen?

Yes, and

  • Similar to Fortunately/Unfortunately, actors take turns telling a story and starting each sentence with ‘yes, and.’ Model this first with a partner, then have the class break up into partnerships.
  • Discussion
    • What went well? What was challenging?
    • How can we become better at saying ‘yes, and’?


Before this lesson, prepare strips of paper with circumstances written out detailing what kind of circumstance it is describing. For example “SETTING: a grocery store” “EVENT: parents are coming home early and you are throwing a party” “RELATIONSHIP: parent/child - strained”

  • Divide the students into partnerships and pass out slips randomly. 
  • Give students a minute to determine how they are going to start the scene and create conflict. The goal of this activity is to be clear in your performance so the rest of the class can guess what the circumstances are. 
  • Determine the order the groups are performing. Allow the group to perform for 30 seconds and then invite the other students to guess the circumstances. 
  • Grade the students using the Rubric below


  • Were the circumstances clear?
  • What were the circumstances?
  • Did you see the actors saying ‘yes, and’ to each other?
  • Did they add conflict to the scene?