Credit: We first learned of this exercise through the Maydays.
Justification is a skill every improviser needs to have in their back pocket. Since no one person is in control of what is offered or suggested, it is important that you/your team can make every offer “make sense” in the context of a scene.
How does it work?
- Set-up two chairs
- Player A sits in the “chair of justification”
- Player B sits in the opposite chair and delivers a line
- “Welcome to Sainsbury’s.”
- Player A responds to that line
- “Why, thank you.”
- Player B then delivers a line that has absolutely nothing to do with the first line or the conversation so far
- “It’s mating season for the chimpanzee.”
- Player A then needs to somehow justify Player B’s second line within the context of the conversation so far
- “Can contraception can be found in aisle three?”
- Player B then leaves and the next player (i.e. Player C) takes a seat and the exercise is repeated
- Player A goes through all of the available players and then it is someone else’s turn to sit in the chair of justification!
Since these are only four-line scenes, you go through them pretty quickly. No need to drag them out. If you’re on the chair of justification, try and make sense of the obscure. If you are opposite the chair of justification, try and make your two lines as different as possible.