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

Corridors

A great, low-pressure exercise for commitment-phobes.

Rules:

Students form a backline.

The director gives the players a theme, like Christmas or Recreation.

The director asks half of the group to step forward.

Simultaneously, the players perform an action and a line of dialogue that corresponds with the given theme.

The first group steps back and the remaining players step forward and do the same thing until the director believes the theme has been exhausted, at which point he or she gives them something new to explore.

Objectives:

To commit to the moment; to respond to offers quickly and on impulse.

Comments:

As this is a simultaneous exercise, the director can be looking for commitment and attack rather than listening for content. It frees the performer up to simply respond without fear of Big Brother listening in. Best when handled as a drill and performed at a very fast pace.

Adaptations:

Advanced groups can perform this activity in three stages: first, a mimed action; second, an action and related statement; and third, an unrelated action and statement (the second two can be reversed).

Rather than always having the same groups come out at the same time, individuals can also choose their time to go out. It’s good to set a base number of performers who must be out at one time (i.e.: more than half). This may mean performers go out more frequently, not just every second time. It keeps them on their toes.

Old School

A nice verbal and impulse warm-up that lets students flex their rap muscles.

Rules:

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).

Objectives:

To commit to and sell an offer; to use impulses to create rhyming verse; to support fellow players by adding to their offer.

Comments:

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!).

Exercises

Family Portraits

Characters are created in more ways than just what we say. This exercise proves that.

Rules:

Students make a backline. Director gets a suggestion related to genre (40s gangsters, sci-fi shipmates) or to character trait (the secret family, the silly family). While the director counts down from 10 slowly, the students arrange themselves in a “family portrait” related to the suggestion. Students should look at each other and make a strong character choice within that world, freezing in a tableau at the end After the countdown, we freeze the portrait and the director states what he/she thinks the characters all are. Students then un-freeze and explain who their character actually was.

Objectives:

To create believable characters; to commit; to accept and forward offers; group mind; to make non-verbal, emotional/physical offers.

Comments:

The emphasis should be on finding unique, believable characters within the suggestion, and contrasting or complimenting the characters being created by the other students. This should lead to discoveries within character/genre worlds beyond stereotypes. For example, the mobster family probably has a bunch of tough guys in it, but maybe they have a sweet little mother, too? Or perhaps a skinny, mathematician brother who’s not in the business? By using powers of observation instead of just speaking character choice, students can find new ways of approaching character.

Adaptations:

Can also be a school picture, work portrait, etc.

Crisis Situation

A great exercise in spontaneity and impulse.

Rules:

Students form a backline. Two players come on stage and approach each other with a crisis, and an object unrelated to the crisis. After each has presented his or her crisis and object, the other solves his/her partner’s crisis with his/her own object. Replies must be instantaneous. For example: Player A: I failed the big test and I just have this bouncy ball. Player B: I crashed my car and I’m stuck with this teddy bear. Player A: Here’s my bouncy ball, you can use it to distract someone so you can steal their car. Player B: Here’s my teddy bear, he’ll console you while you study for the makeup exam.

Objectives:

To connect with impulse and spontaneity; to accept and forward offers; to justify offers.

Comments:

Students should not be afraid of coming up with silly responses, as long as the offer is accepted and justified.

Practice Games

Audience Character

Rules:

Get photo ID cards or business cards from the audience as well as a suggestion of a location or activity. Designated players mold/match their faces to the photos. They also use the name from the ID as well. The scene is created by showing the characters within the suggestions from the audience.

Objectives:

To create full characterizations from audience suggestions, and build a scene based on their lives.

Comments:

This game thrives on discovery. The more the players explore the character they’ve unleashed the more the scene will benefit. Beware: many people don’t like to get their picture taken at the DMV so you may end up with fairly negative characters. Don’t let the character’s negativity give you the impulse to block or cancel offers. Remember to forward the action. Create fully rounded characters from the ID/business card and also from your impression of the person who donates it. Mocking them will draw an easy laugh from the audience, but it disrespects both that audience member and his/her suggestion (of themselves). Once again, a with a well-rounded character the story will evolve simply and organically from their traits, mannerisms and ideosynchrasies. You don’t have to recreate the person who makes the suggestion in exacting detail: but they are the jumping off point for YOUR character, which you will created in detail.

Rollercoaster

Rules:

Players begin a scene on a suggestion from the audience. A moderator the calls out different Styles or Emotions. When a new Style or Emotion is called out the players must continue the same scene justifying the new element.

Objectives:

To justify the transitions while creating a scene.

Comments:

Try and keep the continuity of the scene steady and with purpose or this will become a listing game of the players knowledge of the different styles. When the style changes the characters will be altered slightly as well, do not allow this alteration to change who the characters