Shift

Four players stand on stage, in a square with ribs of 1.5 to 2 meters. They form the metaphorical revolving door, or shifting through couples of players. First, for all combinations of two players, a suggestion is asked. This can be an object, a dilemma, a relationship, and so on. The two players in front start the game by playing out a free impro based on their suggestion.

The players in the back, or the judges, decide when it is time to ‘shift’. To shift, the back player(s) call ‘plus one’ or ‘minus one’. In one step shifts, one of the former players appears in the new scene; he keeps his pose, but has a completely new role. In this new scene, the pose and the relationship of the two players will become clear. By getting another ‘plus one’ or ‘minus one call, the game progresses. 

Usually, one round of plus one’s is done so every couple can start their story. In every new appearance of a couple, the situation progresses. A problem can occur, a habit can escalate. To add a twist to a couple’s story, repetition can be used as a gimmick by the callers in the back. Repetitively switching back to a ‘stuck’ scene can really liven it up. Sometimes only shifting to the couple – no words needed – is enough.

It is nice if eventually, all stories come together, all characters know or need one another; it is not necessary.