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!
Word Ball is the first step in adding language into impulse work by way of free association. Similar in structure to Zoom, this game asks players to vocalize their first impulse without hesitation.
Students get in to circles of 5-10 standing facing the center. One player starts by saying a word to another player within the circle. The player that receives the word will immediately call out their first impulse without hesitation to another player. Continue the circuit.
To connect players to their impulses and to free players from the perceived necessity to be creative.
So much focus is made on the end result in improvisation, achieving the fantastic scene, that we forget that the process by which we free original thoughts begins by freeing all thoughts. Spontaneity does not equal originality, and free association games allow players to be spontaneous without trying to be original.
Word Ball 2: A player receiving the energy from across the circle must pass the energy to either the player on their left or right, and that player may then send the energy across the circle.
Maverick Word Ball: Players roam/run about the room passing words at random. Word Ball Story Players tell a story one word at a time using the Word Ball passing technique.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Emotional TransferA great game to encourage players to alter their emotional states.
Rules:Two improvisers start a scene with opposite emotions, and over the course of the scene they switch.
Objectives:To introduce the value of emotional transfer into scene work.. To heighten awareness.
Comments:Don’t jump right into the transfer - establish the opposite organic transfer WITHIN the reality of the scene.
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.)
Scene with Character Triggers
Applying basic character work to scenes.
Two or three students are onstage. Each student in the scene will be given a word. Students will use that word to inspire a character; students are given a moment to repeat the word and to find the physical/vocal elements of that character. Students are then given a general scene suggestion and perform a scene as those characters.
To focus on character as the starting point for a scene; to justify character choices within a world; to support your fellow player; to embrace and heighten the unexpected offers that feed scenes.
These scenes are a balancing act, between over accepting the offers of a particular character in a (perhaps unconventional or unexpected) location/situation and creating good scene work on top of all of that. Students should discover their ability to use suggestions in ways they perhaps never thought possible or never thought would work. Embracing this ability is a great step for an improviser to take.
These characters can also be “interviewed” before the scene begins to help students focus in on who these people are before they are thrust into a scene.
Sit, Stand, Kneel, Lie
Four players begin a scene. One player must always be sitting, one standing, one lying down, and one kneeling. When a player changes position the player whose position they’ve adopted must justify their movement into a new position. No two players are allowed to be in the same position at once.
To improvise and justify within the rules of the game while creating a scene.
A great game for reminding players of the use of levels and to be observant of their team mates movement.