GET OUT! Leaving the room for the same reason

Published by ShawnKinley on

Exit sign


Improvisers SHOULD be great team performers. They SHOULD be connected and aware.  They SHOULD BE… BUT…. Improvisers can be notoriously disconnected and self focused. 

This Keith Johnstone exercise is useful in getting groups to act with focussed unity. 

It develops a connection that comes from physical awareness and emotional response rather than the intellect.   



BENEFITS: Group connection, Awareness, Commitment,

# PEOPLE: Groups – 5 or more

GOAL: As the title says… Everyone has to leave the room for the SAME reason (it’s not as easy as it sounds). Can they do it without creating any extra offers besides what is already in front of them?


  1. Invite 5 – 10 people to participate
  2. Ask them to leave the room for the same reason
  3. At first, don’t give any extra instructions. Just tell them to do it.
  4. ROUND TWO – If anyone takes charge or leads others off or blatantly controls the group, ask the group if they can try again but without the audience seeing that anyone controlled the others
  5. ROUND THREE – Try again but react to the existing physical and audible offers. Do what other’s are already doing. Get the group to act together on the first thing they see and make it bigger until a reason to leave is obvious.

EXAMPLE: 7 people come up.  They all notice that Alicia glanced down to  look to her feet. (she wasn’t consciously doing this to manipulate the others). The performers all look down at their feet. They look up occasionally to check in with each other. To the audience, they look like uncomfortably shy people. They amplify the movements and the audible breath that someone made until they all back out the door from social discomfort. 

This one was successful. No one appeared to lead. Everyone committed to  the first offer that was seen and the movement and sounds were naturally amplified until the reason to leave just “felt right” for all of them.

TEACHING TIPS:  “Leaving the Room for the Same Reason” can be as difficult to teach as it is to do effectively. There’s a great danger of stealing the process and telling the participants what it “SHOULD” look like or how it “SHOULD” work.

  • Most improvisers want to work from the head first. They want to understand all the rules and “GET IT RIGHT” and perform. This exercise works best with improvisers who worry less about  what they should be doing and more about what their partner IS doing and how to support it. (Improvisation). Move them in that direction.
  • At first, allow them to do the exercise ANY WAY they want. Be an observant facilitator and note when offers are ignored. Ask the other students if they saw missed offers and then mention what you saw.
  • Be aware of people unwilling to give up their own ideas for the group’s ideas. (Everyone is stretching their arms but one person refuses to do it)
  • Watch ideas are dropped for no reason.  Encourage performers to allow ideas to evolve but not to be killed arbitrarily.
  • Encourage the group to amplify the movement or naturally add or enhance existing emotional sound to the action (emotional sounds can help people bypass intellectual interference)
  • If the exercise is done enough, beneficial supportive behaviour becomes second nature for most people. Do the exercise a lot.
  • Check in with people who are watching. It’s good for the performers to see themselves through the audience’s eyes. If the entire audience said they saw Jacob controlling the group, Jacob can’t deny that MAYBE he’s controlling when he thinks he isn’t.


  • Try using a 60 second time limit (it can encourage groups who have become too passive)


  • Be honest. If it appears that someone is leading, you aren’t likely to achieve the impact the exercise offers. Rotate different groups through the exercise so that participants can sit on the outside and watch the impact of groups honestly giving into each other’s offers.


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