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!
A simple offers game that can helps prove the “there are no bad choices, just bad follow-ups” adage.
Students pair off and find a place in the room where other pairs won’t distract them.
Taking turns, one student presents the other with a mimed gift. This happens silently. The gift can be any shape, weight, or physical dimensions that the giver would like.
The receiver takes the gift and mimes exactly what it is (he or she may unwrap or accept the gift in any manner they wish). Once the gift is established, the students trade places and give and receive again.
This continues until players have had a chance to give and accept several gifts.
To make clear and specific offers; to make clear and specific followups to offers; to make offers that are physical instead of verbal.
Again, the focus is not on creativity or cleverness but rather on giving and receiving offers that are accepted and added to by fellow players.
Advanced groups can perform an entire mime devoted to a gift, one that indicates the giver and receiver’s relationship, the environment and circumstance of the giving. Gibberish can be added to help move scenes along.
Presents can also be played in a blind line, to test the offer-making skills of your students by passing the same present between students who have their backs turned until it is handed to them. Once you moved down the line, ask each student what present they thought they received vs. what the present actually was. A good lesson in offers
A nice verbal and impulse warm-up that lets students flex their rap muscles.
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).
To commit to and sell an offer; to use impulses to create rhyming verse; to support fellow players by adding to their offer.
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!).
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.
Mirroring is often one of the first exercises improvisers learn and also, unfortunately, one of the first they discard. Mirroring is a fabulous connection device to get teams members working together. As players become more advanced expand mirroring into more adventurous territory rather than abandoning it as a beginner’s game.
Partners stand facing each other . One player leads, the other mirrors (or imitates) the action simultaneously. Switch leaders upon moderator’s command without resetting physically.
To flex player’s ability to communicate through movement. To allow players to express impulses through movement.
Players who are leading should try to allow for impulses for the entire body, using levels and different speeds. Variety will allow for greater control and focus. There is no rule that states players have to be 2 feet from each other, nor is there a rule that states that the leader cannot, after a little warm-up, alternate speeds in order to create a better mental workout for their partner. Followers should always be one fraction of a step ahead in order to keep the movement simultaneous.
Follow the Follower: Players start by alternating leaders on the command of a moderator until the moderator calls out “Follow the Follower.” Each player, in fractionally anticipating the other players moves, will amplify their partners unconscious movement until the chain reaction creates fully extended movement. Mirror With Sound: Players can add sound when they feel they are ready. Sound should be as varied as the movement.
Scene 3 Ways
A great way to play with many different styles
Team plays a short neutral scene. The team replays the scene 2 more times coloured with the elements of a particular style or genre.
To improvise within many different styles. Create and practice the understanding of using an element of a style to prove a section.
Many of the scenes will end up as mimicry and parody of the style, however, this game is excellent for finding a style the team enjoys. Experiment with many different styles, so that the team gets a feel for exploring the conventions of each one. Sometimes those conventions will call for a radical departure from the original neutral scene, but attempt to retain the key structural elements - even as you play with their detail and presentation.
A great game to explore non-human habitual movement.
Improvisers ask for an animal or animals to inspire their characters. The team then plays the scene as a human with that animal’s characteristics.
To use the Animals inherent talents and well known traits to solve problems (or create them) and create the elements of scene work. It is also important to find the similarities between animal and human.
How does this animal character walk? Talk? Sit? Eat? How do they react to danger? Happiness? The more detail your animal character has, the more interesting you will be and the better you honour the suggestion. If you have a well rounded animal character, the scene will organically evolve from that character’s specific traits. If you do some animal character exploration with your group before you play the game, you’ll find more detail and more levels to play on. The animals that you get from the audience will (and should) be different but a familiarity with the exploration will help you create well-rounded characters.