Trifecta

Trifecta is an exercise in attack and idea association that targets impulse, offers and stage pictures all at once!

Rules:

Students create a backline.

With or without a suggestion, a student will step forward and physically create something, announcing what they are. For example, a student might step forward and make fists at their sides, announcing, “I am a fire hydrant.”

A second student then adds to that picture by creating a complimentary idea to the first offer. There should be no hesitation. For example, “I am a dog.” The student might sidle up to the “hydrant” and lift their leg.

A third student then offers a complimentary idea to those two, such as, “I am a hot summer’s day.”

After the third idea has been created, the first student (in this case, the hydrant) will choose one of the other two ideas to take off stage. For example, “I’ll take the dog.” The hydrant and the dog leave the stage.

A new set of ideas begins with the remaining student reiterating what they are, as in, “I am a hot summer’s day.” A new set of two ideas grows from there, related to hot summer’s day but unrelated to hydrant or dog.

The game continues from there, with the first (i.e.: the remaining) student in each trifecta choosing one of the other two and taking them away.

Objectives:

To make offers or add to offers using impulses and not ideas of what is “funny” or “clever.” To create compelling and theatrical stage pictures from nothing.

Comments:

Trifecta works best by moving quickly and with a great deal of attack/salesmanship/performative energy. Students should present their ideas as though to an audience, and as though it were the best idea ever. The pace should be swift and hard-hitting, like a batting cage of ideas, but with a mind to creating great stage pictures, too.

Adaptations:

A more advanced version (which is more an exercise than a warm-up) is to aim for “scene starts” in your trifecta, that is, to create characters, in a space, with a problem or event. For example, if “I am hydrant,” (place) then the next person would be “two new firemen, on their first call,” (characters), and the third would be “a wild, out of control fire.” Basically, if you can see a good scene emerging from it, it’s a great trifecta. The hydrant would still choose someone to take away, and the challenge becomes to find a reason for that element to be in a different scene start. For example, if the “wild, out of control fire” is left, then someone might add, “A totally rockin’ nighttime beach party” (place) and “a couple of surfers,” (people).