Another way improvisation is used is to create ideas for use in sketch shows such as "Smack the pony"
Improvisation is basically drama with out a script which allows freedom for the actor. It usually involves the actors acting out of a scene with out any preplanning so the ideas are fresh and unique.
There are a few basic rules in improvisation, the first and perhaps the most important is NO BLOCKING. Blocking is when another actor rejects an idea that is presented to them eg:
Actor 1: *points* look at that UFO
Actor 2: Don't be stupid there is nothing there.
Automatically the idea is blocked. The actor should of gone along with idea even if it wasn't what he wanted to happen. You shouldn't plan how you want the improvisation to go - just go with the flow!
The second rule is DO NOT THINK. If you go into an improvisation and you've already decided the story and how you want it to go it will not work. You need to compromise and go with other peoples ideas. Just open your mouth and see what comes out!
The best improvisations are not planned!
The third rule is DO NOT MAKE JOKES. In an improvisation things the audience will find funny will come up naturally and if you're performing infront of an audience and you make a joke, you will definately kill the mood.
Noone wants to be on stage in complete silence with only the sound of the wind and tumbleweed rolling past and purposely trying to be funny will definately achieve this!
The fourth rule depends on the audience but improvisations are best when you do not have to censor yourself. This includes being able to swear and make references to sex, drugs and alcohol etc. This obviously can not be the case if there are young children in the audience.
When doing an improvisation you need to establish the 5 W's:
Why and When can often be missed out.
These can be decided before the improv has started or once you are in the improv if you are more experienced. If you are performing infront of an audience they can be asked to decide them.
One last thing to remember in improvisation is to try and avoid arguements or talking non-stop. Silence can be amazing in an improv!
Remember use your imagination and have fun!