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

Environments

Creating worlds on stage is a fundamental skill. This game encourages players to create locations non-verbally as well as strengthening team work.

Rules:

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.

Objectives:

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.

Comments:

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.

Rapid Fire Freeze

This is a variation on a classic performance game…

Rules:

Two players begin a scene. Once the scene is minimally established, an off-stage player yells “freeze”. The on-stage improvisors freeze in their last physical position. The off stage player enters, taps one character out, takes their exact physical position and then justifies it while establishing a new scene. Once this new scene is established, the process repeats itself.

Objectives:

To practice establishing scenes through exploration of environments or activities, and to practice justifying physical positions on the stage.

Comments:

Don’t wait for a great idea, call freeze as soon as the new scene has been established.

Adaptations:

Blind Freeze: Two players on stage, the rest in a line against the back wall. The first improvisor in line turns their back on the stage, and when it sounds as though the scene has been established they yell “freeze.” They then go in and take the position of one of the players, seeing it for the first time, and initiate a new scene.

Exercises

Stakes Circle

An exercise focusing on stakes as a part of the Five Element basic scene structure.

Rules:

The players stand in a circle, the first player gives a location, “A computer lab.” The next player gives a brief description of two characters in the location, “A hotshot student hacker and an unprepared substitute teacher.” The next player gives a problem or conflict, “The student keeps interrupting the teacher to correct him.”

Then, all of the players in the circle give compounding stakes, try to keep going until the group runs out of steam, “The teacher is under review and needs the students to perform well,” “The student is trying to impress a girl in class to get a date to the Spring Fling,” “The school will scrap the computer science program if the class doesn’t work out,” “Google is recruiting for lavish internships and is auditing the class,” etc. Once the stakes have been fully explored, one final student can offer a solution, “The teacher convinces the student that they should work together to make each other look good.”

Objectives:

To explore many different types of stakes: positive, negative, personal, antagonist, narrative and global.

Comments:

Make sure students are making a single problem and expanding on why it is important to be resolved. Encourage them to explore positive stakes as well as negative; what good things will happen if they succeed as well as what bad things will happen if they fail?

 

Transformation Game

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.

Rules:

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.

Objectives:

To teach group communication skills through movement.

Comments:

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

Practice Games

More Specific

A game to practice making specific offers.

Rules:

Get a few players up to perform a scene. At any point during the scene, the audience or director can yell out, “More specific!” and the last offer that was made must be redone in a more specific way. “More specific” can be called out multiple times until the players are specific enough. For example: “It’s over there.” -> “It’s on the counter.” -> “The watch is on the marble counter.” -> “The Rolex is on the brand new marble counter.”

Objectives:

To show how being specific can open up new possibilities in a scene, reveal character and make scenes more interesting.

Comments:

More specific doesn’t always mean more elaborate. Make sure the players are getting specific about the offer that was just made rather than adding in outside details. Try calling out more specific on physical offers as well.

 

New Choice

A game that works on making offers without hesitation.

Rules:

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.

Objectives:

To get students out of their heads and in the moment of creating offers without thinking too much.

Comments:

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.