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!
Knight, Mount, Cavalier
Knight, Mount, Cavalier is all about physicalization and support. Make sure your students have stretched!
Students get into pairs of Player A and Player B.
The Director will call out one of three physical poses, either Knight, Mount or Cavalier, which are as follows:
Knight: Player A gets down on one knee. Player B puts one foot on Player A’s knee and one hand in the air, is if brandishing a sword high.
Mount: Player B gets on all fours as a horse would; Player A mounts Player B like a rider.
Cavalier: Player A extends his/her arms; Player B jumps into Player A’s arms like a damsel (or dude-damsel) in distress.
Students must hold and support each pose until the Director calls a new one.
To physically attack an offer or impulse (but not your scene partner), to share space and focus, and to find the joy in physical scenework.
Safety is important here; so pairing students evenly according to height/weight isn’t a bad idea. Speed and accuracy are key, as well!
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.
5 Element Game
The Five Element game trains and creates natural impulses for story telling.
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.
To create the instinct to tell stories within the Basic Scene Structure by focusing solely on advancing between elements.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Transformation Game (See Movement Exercises.)
Object is chosen from a member of the audience. Scene is played using that object. It may or may not be used as what it really is (eg: credit card may be used as a pocket TV...).
To improvise and justify a complete scene within the rules of the game. This game focuses on the teams abillity to create a story about the object.
Let the object tell the story in one way or another. If the story isn’t about the object, the object should be a main character, or the solution of the problem, or the ultimate goal, or Big Brother, or...
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.