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

Turning Circle

Group mind is a physical as well as a mental concept. The high energy of CIG events demands that groups be in tune with one another mentally and physically. Turning Circle is one way of approaching this idea.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle. On cue, they begin running (slowly!) in a clockwise direction, paying attention to one another and setting a reasonable pace.

At any point, any student may shout, “Go!” at which point the entire circle changes running direction. The goal is to not smash or bump into any other player.

Continue, with each successive “Go!” changing the circle’s direction.

Objectives:

To get physically warmed up; to get in tune with our fellow players physically and to find group mind; to work together to make the whole circle sustainable and keep it moving forward fluidly.

Comments:

This warm up is a nice metaphor for teamwork and group mind. Students should pride themselves on creating a flawless circle with no weak spots, but they should also fail joyfully and support players who trip up by helping them get back into the rhythm of the run.

Adaptations:

After running, it’s sometimes nice to see if you can pull of a Circle Sit, with all circle members sitting on the lap of the person behind them simultaneously.

Advanced groups can attempt different shapes, other than circles.

Goalie aka Firing Line

A word association and disassociation game that puts individual players in the hot seat.

Rules:

Students make a back line, with one student (the “Goalie”) standing facing them.

One by one, students “shoot” words and/or phrases at the Goalie. It’s the Goalie’s job to then fire a word back at the shooter that is associated with the first word.

Students continue to shoot words/phrases in rapid-fire succession at the Goalie, attempting to trip him/her up (to “score”). The challenge for the Goalie is to only associate with the word just shot at him or her, and not with an earlier word.

If the Goalie appears to have associated with an earlier word, or if he or she hesitates or stumbles, then the other players can shout, “Goal!!” Another student then becomes the Goalie.

Continue to play until five goals are scored.

Objectives:

To free the mind from notions of being clever or witty; to encourage a direct response to impulse; to put a player in the hot-seat to train his her performative impulses; to challenge and support fellow players.

Comments:

Goalie is most fun when the Goalie is a team player—prepared, performative, positive and open to offers. This is why the game is sometimes used as “punishment” for players who have been habitually blocking, negative or resistant in rehearsal; it can serve as a wake-up call for the player in question and as a tension releaser for the group.

Adaptations:

The whole game can be reversed in two ways: one, by challenging the Goalie to disassociate from all words; and two, by having one student toss words to the whole lineup of players. The game then becomes a “Red Rover” situation, where the lone player tries to trip up the line, at which point the at-fault player joins him or her on the other side. The game ends when the originally lone player has every other player on his or her side.

Exercises

5 Element Game

The Five Element game trains and creates natural impulses for story telling.

Rules:

The players get in groups of 3. Two players create a one minute scene while the third player calls out the elements of the Basic Scene Structure as they are created. One player starts by exploring the physical environment of an activity. The observer calls out “Setting.” The second player enters as a complimentary character, thus creating a relationship. Once this relationship is created the watching player calls out “Characters.” The scene partners then find a problem or obstacle to overcome. They raise the stakes, motivating a solution. Finally, the players find a solution (preferably one that arises from the environment or the characters.) At each step the watching player calls out what element of the Basic Scene Structure is created.

Objectives:

To create the instinct to tell stories within the Basic Scene Structure by focusing solely on advancing between elements.

Comments:

Because of the one minute time limit, this exercise often results more in the narration of action rather than true physicalization. Although this is normally a bad thing, the value lies in the ability to reduce the amount of gags and gossip encountered in the creation of the scene. Raising the Stakes is normally the first element to be forgotten in the heat of the moment. It is therefore one of the elements you must be the most stringent about. You should also be looking for an organic solution. An organic solution comes from within the world of the scene; Deus Ex Machina is the improvisor’s easy way out.

Adaptations:

Five Element Freeze: The Five Element game done with freeze called at the end of every scene and a new player taking a position of one of the frozen players. The player then justifys the position into a new environment/activity.

Gibberish 5 Elements: The Five Element game done while only speaking gibberish.

Silent 5 Element: The Five Element game done in silence (no sound effects.)

Object Transformation

Rules:

Players form a circle facing the center. One player begins by creating and manipulating an imaginary object (without the use of sound.) The player next to them takes the object and begins to use it in the same way. The player then slowly transforms the movement until a new object being manipulated in a similar yet different way is created. The next player in the circle takes the object and the game continues until the circle is complete.

Objectives:

For players to become aware of movement and their own physical space. This, in turn, prepares players to be conscious of their activities within scene work. This exercise can also be use as a Justification exercise.

Comments:

Players should make sure to connect the original objects movement as closely as they can. This game can also be played as a partner exercise.

Adaptations:

Transformation Game (See Movement Exercises.)

Practice Games

Word at a Time: The Practice Game

Rules:

Two players tell a story alternating players on each word. The players act out all action within the scene while it happens. The tell the story in a first person perspective .

Objectives:

To create group mind through cooperational storytelling.

Comments:

A lot of the time this game is derailed because of offers from space, ideas that are not organically found within the story. It is important to stop stories that are not working or cannot be understood and start afresh. It is through the process of stopping scenes that you will produce an intrest in allowing the story to write itself rather than trying to force it to be written.

Adaptations:

1,2,3, Word at a time: First cycle of players says one word at a time. The second cycle of players says two words at a time, the third cycle says three words, the fourth cycle says 2 words, and the fifth cycle says one word until the story ends (perhaps even on the last player.)

Expand and Advance

A game emphasizing the importance of expanding as well as advancing.

Rules:

Get two or three players up to do a scene. At certain points in the scene, the director will call out “Expand” or “Advance”. When “Expand” is called out, the players have to expand on the details of the action or idea that they are currently exploring. With dialogue and action, they can reveal details about the current beat. They can explore how they are affected by what is happening, reveal stakes, be descriptive of the environment, anything that enriches the current moment and does not forward the narrative.

When “Advance” is called, the players can then move to the next unit of action in the scene. They can allow changes to happen that force the characters to move on from what they have been exploring and take action.

Objectives:

This games gives players a sense of how much to expand on beats before moving the story forward. They will experience the balance between the two important and connected concepts of expanding and advancing.

Comments:

As the director, you can try to call out expand and advance when you think it is appropriate, or you can try experimenting and challenging the players to expand on moments they would normally gloss over. Just remind the students that the game is an exercise and in practice, they should find the moments to expand and advance organically.

Adaptations:

You can also try this game as a monologue exercise.