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!
Also, for portability, bookmark this page on your mobile device so that you can generate workshops on the go!
Trifecta is an exercise in attack and idea association that targets impulse, offers and stage pictures all at once!
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.
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.
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.
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).
Creating worlds on stage is a fundamental skill. This game encourages players to create locations non-verbally as well as strengthening team work.
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.
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.
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.
Story, Story, Die!
A game that increases narrative skill, teamwork and listening.
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.
To develop awareness and spontaneity. To tell a complete story as a team within the restrictions of the game.
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.
This game is a variation of Story Story Die in which each player is assigned a style in which to tell their story.
Three to six improvisers form a line on the stage. The MC sits downstage of them, facing the line Each improviser is assigned a style in which tell the story. The narrator/ MC designates who speaks by pointing at them. 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.
To develop awareness and spontaneity. To tell a complete story together within the rules of the game.
Concentrate on the story - listen to each other and keep it simple. If the action advances out of hand, the story will lose coherence.
A member of the audience (or one member of the team) is invited on stage to become the Word Machine. They offer random single words whenever a player taps one of their outstretched fists. The players begin a scene and tap the word machine’s hand mid-speech, the moment they need an offer. The word machine says a word and the player justifies this word in the scene.
To justify the word immediately and create a full scene.
The game is most fruitful if the word machine is used for finding the ideas to establish the elements of the Basic Scene Structure. It is especially great for creating problems and solutions. It is very important that all offers from the Word Machine are used within the scene.
Pillars Two word machines stand at either side of the stage ready to call out words.
A fun and fast scene that heightens listening.
Two or three players do a scene. At any point in the scene, the director can call, “Fast forward!” The students in the scene then “fast forward,” like an old-school VCR (bodies in fast motion, voices sped up, etc.) When the director calls “Stop!” the scene continues in the future. Scene continues, taking advantage of the fast forward whenever appropriate, and continuing the scene as though everything has been fast forwarded to a new point.
To hone listening and offers; to use physicality; to adapt in the moment.
Listening is key here, and students should be extra-aware of offers in the scenework, as once things have been “fast-forwarded” they can’t get that information back, but will be expected to incorporate it in the “future” of the scene. More advanced groups can begin to play with the idea of “pimping” here, in that they can manipulate use of the fast forward to their own aim. For example, “Grandpa, why don’t you tell that really long story about the war?” Which would probably prompt the director to yell “Fast forward!”
More advanced groups can add other “tape directions” to their scenes, such as rewind, pause, chapter skip, etc. Even things like “menu,” “record” and “special features” can be added if the group is up to it.