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!
December 10, 2009
A physical warm-up that also works on group mind.
Students arrange themselves in a “flying V” with one person at the front of the stage and the others staggered behind them, like a flock of birds.
Player at the front begins leading a dance (either to a stereo or to music that they hum or sing themselves).
The other players follow the leader, duplicating their movements as closely as possible.
After 15-20 seconds (or when the song changes, if you’ve got a stereo and a “DJ”), a new leader moves into the front until each player has had a chance to try leading.
To attack and commit to the moment; to be aware of leadership and to take initiative; to let go of habitual physicality and be aware of physical offers; to share the stage.
Flock dance is about finding a balance between leaders and followers, so in as much as followers should be aware of the leader, so should the leader be aware of his/her followers and ensure that they are supported.
Safety is also a concern, as the flock will be watching the head bird.
Also, this is a silly physical warm-up. Stress the silliness and the commitment required to make it work.
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!
December 11, 2009
The Transformation Game was the birthplace of the game we now know as Freeze. Unfortunately what is missing from Freeze is the Transformation Game’s amazing morphic energy based in physical communication and focus. The game is rooted in the transformation of the Who and the Where. The Transformation Game is also a great teamwork exercise in movement and listening.
A group of players (3-8) start on stage performing a group activity based on a suggestion. Within the first scene a player will find a connection within their movement (or the groups movement) that will allow them to transform the scene into a new scene. The players will then continually transform the Who and Where until they arrive at a predetermined (by suggestion) final activity.
To teach group communication skills through movement.
Players should make sure to connect the original movement as closely as they can. This can also be played as a partner exercise.
The next step in status work—observation and changing of habitual status.
Students create a backline. Have each improviser enter the playing area with an obvious status choice. Once you feel they have clearly established status, ask the next improviser to take a turn. Have each student try high and low status at least once.
To use simple physical changes to indicate status; to establish strong status at the beginning of scenes.
Director should push students to play a status they are uncomfortable with or use the least. More advanced students can try playing a low status character who behaves in a high status way and vice versa, to show the subtleties of status and how it can manifest in scenes.
October 31, 2014
A game that works on making offers without hesitation.
Get a few players up to perform a scene. At any point during the scene, the audience or director can yell out, “New choice!” and the last offer that was made, whether verbal or physical, must be remade in a different way. It can be a slight variation on the original offer, or a completely different offer. “New choice” can be yelled out as many times as necessary until the audience or director are satisfied.
To get students out of their heads and in the moment of creating offers without thinking too much.
The players have to remember that even if the audience is calling, “New choice,” they are still in control of the scene and should make choices that will result in a successful scene, using the basic scene structure.
If players get into a run of remaking an offer with only a slight variation, “I’m going to get some juice out of the fridge,” “I’m going to get a pop out of the fridge,” “I’m going to get some milk out of the fridge,” etc, coach them into trying something totally different, “I’m not thirsty.” This will often result in a big laugh and a lot of fun.
You can also get specific with which offer should be redone, “New entrance!” “New emotion!” “New dance!” etc.
October 21, 2014
A game that helps students incorporate stakes into their scenes.
Before the game, write or have the students write down many lines of dialogue that introduce stakes on slips of paper. These lines will often revolve around consequences. Some examples, “If we don’t eat soon I’m going to get hangry, and you won’t like me when I’m hangry!” “This is my last chance to win the lottery, once and for all!”
Once you have enough lines of dialogue, scatter them around the stage. Have some students begin a scene, after they have established a platform, have them choose slips at random and speak them as dialogue, justifying and incorporating the stakes into the scene.
To get students in the habit of stating their stakes clearly, and to make to stake important to the characters.
Remind students that while this game can be a lot of fun and great for exploring stakes, it is important in your scene work to keep stakes organic to the platform. In practice, your stakes should come from motivations that make sense to the characters and setting you’ve established.