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What is an Armando in improv?

Have you ever heard people talk about Armando in improv, but have been too afraid to ask what on earth they're talking about? Did you wonder if it was a new member of the easylaughs cast that you didn't know about, or if people were talking about the critically acclaimed director and comedian Armando Iannucci? Well wonder no longer because we're here to set you straight on what an Armando is for once and for all.

easylaughs Graduation show for our Armando course
easylaughs Graduation show for our Armando course

An Armando is an monologue deconstruction longform improv structure in which actual stories inspire improvised scenework. That's it. The stories that are told reflect true events, feelings, and / or opinions held by the speaker, and are packed with as much detail as possible.

"I get it, and then the improvisers recreate those scenes" I hear you say. Well, what you say is wrong.

The improvisors are then challenged to expand on the minute pieces of information within these stories rather than recreating the events held within. The stories create a universe which allow other improv scenes to exist within them.

Often a special guest monologist provides the stories, although in absence of a special guest the players themselves can also tell monologues. Monologues may occur solely at the beginning of the piece, or they may punctuate the piece every few scenes. The methods of editing should be clear to all of the players involved to know when a new scene is coming.

To inspire the monologue, a suggestion can be asked from the audience. The suggestion can either be a generic improv ask-for (like a word or a phrase) or it can be a specific question for the monologist to try and answer.

easylaughs cast performing an Armando
easylaughs cast performing an Armando

That's it. That's all it is really. The stories become a glorified offer, rich in detail and possibilities. It's for this reason that some people are quoted as saying things like "Everything in improv is an Armando when you think about it".

But what about that name? Why isn't it just called Monologue Deconstruction or something similar that makes it clear to those involved? The format is named after Armando Diaz, due to the notable show The Armando Diaz Experience, Theatrical Movement and Hootenanny where this format was popularised.

Want to know more? Armando is one of the courses we run at easylaughs, with the description of all our courses listed on this page. Also, we run occasional workshops based on the format to introduce it to those who haven't experienced it before.

Want to know more? Just ask! We're happy to talk about this creative format that has so many variations and possibilities that it's no wonder that it's one of the most popular long-forms out there.


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