Mid Form Improv

"Mid form? Sounds awesome! And mysterious! I MUST know more!"

~You, probably

Hmm, sounds like you're looking for an origin story! Well strap in, because it's coming at you like the latest Marvel sequel (only better...depending on which one is out right now).

Mid form improv was created by Tara Wolfe in 2012. Seeking a middle ground between the games and wit of short form and the hearty, story-driven nature of long form, Tara pioneered this form during her time in Philadelphia. Her students and troupe mates have since carried the form all over the country, from Chicago to Atlanta to Denver and beyond. In 2015, she brought the form to Third Kind Improv (Hey! That's us!), the first group dedicated solely to its performance.

So then, what defines mid form? Here's the answer from Tara Wolfe:

"While practicing and performing improv, I began to wonder why there were some short form games that felt different from others, why something like World's Worst or Forward/Reverse felt so different from Onion or Narrated Story. In studying improv around the country, reading some truly great books on improv, and practicing with my own troupes, I came up with the following distinctions between the improv forms.

There are two ways to break down improv forms: structure and content. Short form is primarily driven by structure, specifically the rules of the games and the principals of comedy, such as timing, physicality, and cleverness. Long form is primarily driven by content, rich and complex relationships, characters, and conflicts that elevate the form and give it substance. While short form does have some content, seen in improv fundamentals such as naming and physical environment, it is mostly structure-based. Similarly, long form may have some structure, such as a Harold or an Armando, but it is mostly content-based.

 

Mid form, then, is an even mix of both, relying on the structure of games to drive scenes while complex content, such as characters, objectives, and relationships, flesh them out. As a result, mid form provides a special form of intricate comedy framed within improv games, and in doing so, '[an improviser's] personal freedom is released, and the total person, physically, intellectually, and intuitively, is awakened. This causes enough excitation for the student to transcend himself--he is freed to go out into the environment, to explore, adventure, and face all dangers he meets unafraid' (Spolin, 1963)."

We hope you learned something great! Now, here are photographs of some cool and important improv people.

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