Workshop Generator

Use this page as a quick and dirty workshop creator. Every time you reload this page, you’ll get:

  • 2 random Warm-ups
  • 2 random Exercises
  • 2 random Practice Games

This should give you a template for a fun workshop of 45 minutes to an hour.  This randomly generated template is a fun way to try out games and exercises you might not be used to.  This is, of course, no substitute for a well designed workshop put together to address the specific needs of your team, however this randomized template may open you up to skills or ideas you might not often address!

HAVE FUN!

Also, for portability, bookmark this page on your mobile device so that you can generate workshops on the go!

Warm Ups

Environments

Creating worlds on stage is a fundamental skill. This game encourages players to create locations non-verbally as well as strengthening team work.

Rules:

The warm up leader calls out an environment, then loudly counts down from 10. Without discussion or planning the players create and explore the environment using the full space. Players may be objects or people.

Objectives:

To physically explore an improvised environment and all it’s possibilities. To force the improvisors to be present in the space, and work together without discussion to create full functioning environments.

Comments:

Don’t discuss it – do it! Explore all the aspects of the environment. If the environment is a movie theatre, there’s the possibility of popcorn, people to sell the popcorn, moviegoers, screen, seats, any of the myriad objects and persons that make up a movie theatre experience. Watch each other, try to create balanced stage pictures. If you see everyone else trying to be the screen, sit down and watch the movie.

Old School

A nice verbal and impulse warm-up that lets students flex their rap muscles.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle, and begin by letting out a Beastie Boys-style intro (students might need to listen to a few BB songs to get the hang of the rhythm): “Ba da da da da da da da da da! Ba da da da da da da da da da!”

A player initiates with a verse, for example, “Woke up in the morning and I went to school,” (All: “Ba da da da da da da da da da!”)

The player to his/her left then rhymes a new verse: “But first I took a dive in my swimming pool.” (All: “Ba da da da da da da da da da!”)

Play continues around the circle, with players rhyming to the first verse.

If a player slips up, then the intro happens again, and the offending player starts a new rhyme.

Play continues until you win a Grammy (or as long as you want).

Objectives:

To commit to and sell an offer; to use impulses to create rhyming verse; to support fellow players by adding to their offer.

Comments:

Half the fun of Beastie Boys is performing your verse with the same boastful, rap-tastic presentation typical of a rap battle. Students should be urged to give 110% energy to this game, because they can sell a bad rhyme with a good presentation (a useful skill on stage!).

Exercises

Story, Story, Die!

A game that increases narrative skill, teamwork and listening.

Rules:

Three to six improvisers form a line on the stage. The narrator/MC sits downstage of them, facing the line. The MC randomly points to players in the line. The player who is pointed at speaks. When the finger moves, the speaking improviser stops (mid-syllable if necessary) and the next improviser picks up EXACTLY where the previous one left off. If a player stutters, repeats a word or says something totally incongruous, the audience shouts “DIE!” The improviser “dies” and a new story begins. The game ends when only one person remains.

Objectives:

To develop awareness and spontaneity. To tell a complete story as a team within the restrictions of the game.

Comments:

Die with good grace: the audience takes their cue for reaction from the improviser. Keep it fun. Concentrate on the story – listen to each other and keep it simple. If the action advances out of hand, the story will lose coherence.

Machines

A simple exercise in group awareness and physical responsiveness.

Rules:

One player enters and begins a repetitive sound and action. Once that is established, a second improviser comes up and takes a position relative to the first, beginning a different repetitive sound and action. Each improvisor enters and becomes part of the machine. After the machine is established, performers may freeze and identify the machine (i.e. “Oh, it’s a top spinner and tabbouleh mixer.”)

Objectives:

To increase group awareness. To practice making, incorporating and justifying physical offers.

Comments:

When in doubt, keep it simple.

Practice Games

Backwards Scene

Rules:

The team creates an entire story/scene in reverse, starting with the conclusion of the story and improvising their way to the beginning.

Objectives:

The team must know the “Basic Scene Structure” so well they can forward the action in reverse (I guess that would be “reverse” the action). Resolution, raising the stakes, problem, characters, environment. Example: “I’m leaving – goodbye forever” “What will you do now?” “I can’t take this anymore!” “Nothing’s ever good enough, is it.” “God, how I hate carrots!” “Here’s your dinner, hon.” “Isn’t dinner ready yet? I’m diabetic.” “Welcome home dear, have a seat. I’ll just be a minute.”

Comments:

You don’t have to speak backwards – just unfold the story in reverse order. Take your time: this game is liable to disintegrate entirely if it’s rushed.

Animal Allegory

An interesting approach to character and narration (answer an origin question, self directed narration).

Rules:

Two students are onstage. Each is given the suggestion of a different animal to play. Additionally, the suggestion of an “origin question” is given (Why is the sky blue? Where do babies come from? Why is there a moon?) Students play a scene in which they are the animal (the animals are friends; this is a non-food chain world). They seek to explain the origin question through their character using self-directed narration (i.e.: The student playing the badger would say, “Badger sits on a rock, sunning himself. He turns to his friend alligator and says, ‘Alligator, I do enjoy the sun, but sometimes I wish I could have a break from it.’”) Through the actions and narration of the animal characters, the origin question is answered.

Objectives:

To incorporate and forward suggestions; to explore characters and narration; to listen, heighten and expand; to justify choices within a specific outcome; to multitask within scenework.

Comments:

Students should view the scene as an opportunity to play the character of the animal while also telling a story through it. As this is an origin story, it’s likely that the tone of the scene will either be Biblical or graphic novel-ish in nature. Those are both fine, as long as the student plays them to the hilt. Students might need an example of an origin story to get them going. Essentially, this game is about multitasking character, targeted narrative and the five elements in one go. A good way to expand minds.

Adaptations:

Genres can be put on this exercise as well, so that we might see something like a giraffe and a hare telling the film noir story of the birth of the sun. Stacking elements on one another and seeing how many balls students can keep in the air is the fun of this game. But it’s only fun as long as some creativity can still be found in the world created by all the suggestions.