Improv Wiki

The Deconstruction is a long form structure developed by Del Close and The Family.



Opening scene- A long (6-8min) two person scene that is all about providing INFORMATION that will be used in the rest of the piece. This scene is all about relationship and exploring the problem that is presented (not solved) in this opening scene.

TWO (2) THEMATIC SCENES (2-3mins) each thematic scene is dedicated to exploring what the opening scene was ABOUT by taking what one of the Opening Scene's characters did and exploring their WANTS/FLAWS ( this is where you explore, what Miles Stroth describes as "What is it about that character that will ultimately lead them to live the rest of their life unhappy?") If the opening scene was about two neighbors fighting over a property line and one of them is really violent in the way they go about getting what they want, the first thematic scene should be about someone else who gets what they want thru violence (i.e. an abusive husband). The second thematic scene should explore what the other character from the opening scene did to get what they want (i.e. the abused wife)

RETURN TO THE OPENING SCENE (1 1/2-2mins) After seeing how others percieved the characters of the opening scene, the Opening scene (and the improvisers who played them) return and expand on that idea. This is the time to clarify/solidfy what the rest of the piece is ABOUT. This is where you will discover if the show is going to be about a larger THEME (i.e. Racism, Sexism, War, etc. etc.)

FIVE (5) COMMENTARY SCENES (1 1/2-2mins long) - These scenes are to COMMENT on, in Miles' words, "What was fucked up about what those two people said in the Opening Scene?" These scenes are extremely game heavy and should focus on "bits" - straight man vs. absurd man. The easiest way to go about this is what Miles calls the "doctor/priest/president" phenomenon.

If the opening scene was about a father beating his son with a bud light bottle, the Thematic scenes would have dealt with the Theme of "Abuse". The Commentary scenes should then deal with "A Father should not beat his son. Who else should not do something?" The President shouldn't declare war on a country that has no way to fight back. A Priest shouldn't molest a child. A Doctor shouldn't enjoy telling his patient he has cancer. etc. etc.

RETURN TO THE OPENING SCENE AGAIN (1 - 1 1/2 min) This is a quick return to the opening scene and the characters in it as a way to HEIGHTEN the stakes brought up by the Commentary scenes. Perhaps, now the father is forcing his son to join the Army as a way to "toughen him up". This would be a direct "pull" from the commentary scene where the President decided to invade a country that couldn't fight back, etc. etc. This scene is technically the first scene of "THE RUN".

THE RUN: This rule I had beaten into me: "In the Run, Pace is as important if not more important than content." In the Run, anything goes. If "Abuse" is the Theme, "Hitting your son is wrong" is the Comment, then "Bud Light Bottle" is a TANGENT. Tangents are any trigger words from earlier scenes that made you think of something and therefore belong in the Run. It can be story arcs from the Commentary scenes, it can be complete nonsense, it doesn't matter! As long as you consistently pick up the pace until you reach a breakneck pace it will work. Even if two players get out on stage and have nothing, someone will edit it FAST and those two can return again and look blankly at each other later in the Run and it will be funny. It will become what Miles calls "a runner". When you can't go any faster.......

OPENING SCENE RETURNS/FINAL: The Opening Scene returns to wrap up the show for about 1 1/2 - 2mins. A surefire way to get a response/ending for your piece is to go back in time. If the scene was a father beating his son with a Bud Light bottle, when the Opening Scene comes back for a final time, go back to a time when the Father and Son got along REALLY well. Perhaps they are fishing and the Father asks the Son to pass him a Bud Light from the cooler. This will register with the audience because they remember the bad shit from 25-30 mins. ago.