Who do you tag out?” I’ve asked improvisers.

Keep the Crazy,” some reply. Have more fun with a fun character. It’s a fine thought.

Change the catalyst,” I say. The audience loves watching improvisers affected by imagined reality. When we heighten the reality we force the affected character into a heightened reaction. So when choosing who to heighten I think tagging out the catalyst is our best default.

But sometimes you change the Catalyst and keep the Crazy.

That’s what happened here:

The scene comes out of a 201: Characters & Relationships showcase. (Patterns & Games is 301 at The Coalition theater so they’re not focused on Help Desk mechanics – not that one always has to be.)

Fantasy quests had become a theme of the showcase show so the choices of Reluctant Hero and Gollum-style Crazy come from that. I love the choice though to juxtapose that world with the 9 to 5 grind. It’s a fun heightening of the imagines reality by lowering the stakes.

I also love the commitment to keeping the Gollum-style Crazy as is despite sense. Note the laugh that comes when the audience realizes the character is staying the same. The resultant interaction is fun to play and to watch.

So. When choosing who to heighten with a tag-out, prioritize changing the Catalyst over keeping the Crazy. BUT remember that no one has to play the Straight Man; we can all play big, fun, “crazy” characters.

Performers are Meagan Dalton, Jacob Todd, and Barbara Pigg



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